Not sure about that. There are several barely navigatable spots before you get to Yale where an artillery battery located on the cliffs overlooking the river might wreck havoc with any steamer pushing it's way through. Fort Langley I assume the Brits can hold until Lord's Elgin's forces arrive. But Yale and even Hope might be captured by the Americans.
This is true, but how is artillery going to get there?
This link is pretty good about the whatcom trail, and it doesn't look like it was actually finished, or easily traversable by anything not on foot. And when steamships came in it was apparently sidelined.
I like the below bit. I have hiked in this coast, and it can be as ugly as hell.
The general verdict was this was one of the worst trails in the world (Bellingham Bay Mail, April 24, 1880, p 3
No idea what the snowfall in 1859 was, but the height of the the lowest pass on the trail was apparently 4533 ft, and the summit of Mt Baker is nearby at 4300 ft. And annual snowfall there is apparently 647" inches. Or 50 odd ft. Apparently the world record snowfall of anywhere, ever happened there in 96. 95 ft. I remember that winter. It was ugly.
Man....Spolier- if this war does get kicked off expect a post titled "Wendigo".
Depends on what is traversing it. A man with snowshoes or skiis can get thru all year barring storms. On the other hand Mudslides and rockslides close major highways in July and August all the time here.Question is- when does WINTER, in the sense of blocked mountain passes, unnavigatable terrain, etc start?
The mount baker ski resort site is pretty good as a gauge i think. The ski area seems around the same height as the passes.
Their stats for the last 10 years show snow starts in late Oct/November and they are open til end of April.
So probably closed to traffic in November?
Also, I've been reading up on the respective force dispositions and I've come to the conclusion that the Situation for the Brits is somewhat less positive than I thought.
While they have a whopping 2,000 regulars based on Vancouver, only 450 of them are Marines, army engineers and other land troops. The rest are Sailors who cannot be dragooned into long term land campaigns without degrading ship performance too badly- and they aren't prepared for such combat and won't be that good at it anyways (better than Millitia, but not that much).
Baynes OTL started recieving reinforcements after August when the Second Opium war ended- but TTL the SOW drags on well into December so he's on his ownsome until Feburary. The Yanks by Contrast have had two extra months to raise militia in California and Oregon. That's also enough time to stockpile supplies., shift some regulars from further East, by portage through Mexico or Panama and then ship up the coast.
Also, there is quite a lot that can be done in San Juan over the two months of the blockade to make taking the Island a longer and more expensive (though still ineveitable) proposition than I would have thought- particularly since Picket's ground troops face an equal number of land reguilars (though naval bombardment will even this out somewhat).
Bottom line is that The Americans can place a larger ground force on the Washington BC border than Douglas, even reinforced by All of Baynes Marines and 500 of his sailors (or whoever remain avaliable once San Juan is captured) . Their Regular core will be somewhat larger than that of the Brits (Around 1500 men) but will be better trained for land warfare and the yankee millitia auxilaries will substantialy outnumber British millitia (say 3000 to 1000. Though supplying that many men might be a problem)- especialy if the miners in BC join in the fun. If, for whatever reason, "woman killer" storms BC BEFORE, Baynes has a chance to finish up San Juan then they might just be able to beseige Fort Langely before Baynes is free. Taking it is unlikely though.
In Short, they might make some impressive gains in BC, while suffering a bad defeat in San Juan before the British expedionary force in China (15,000 Regulars!!!) makes it across the Pacfic to Vancouver. At that point the Yanks are in big trouble.
P.S. Regarding speculations on AACW and northern secession- not releasing any more spoilers
Probably accurate on numbers although i am not sure why the RN would need to take San Juan until reinforcements show up. Land batteries in wood fortifications are not going to be much of an obstacle to the heavier and more numerous guns mounted on Baynes's squadron. Baynes's seems pretty on the ball. Wipe out the guns and then let the garrison starve seems plausible to me. Shell them periodically to keep them honest and land raiding parties to wipe out the US stores depots in Puget sound. With control of the sea the Brits can put their 1000 men anywhere they want, and the Americans have to defend everything.
And in spring accept the surrender of everyone who is starving once Elgin arrives. And then on to San Francisco and Astoria. Play to Strengths.