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Ascent of Goode Mountain on 2009-07-28

Climber: Charlie Winger

Others in Party:Randy Murphy

Dan Stright

Dan Blake
Date:Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Goode Mountain
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:9200 ft / 2804 m

Ascent Trip Report

Introduction:

MOST TR'S REFER TO SHUTTLE TRANSPORTATION DISTANCES PRIOR TO THE OCTOBER 2003 1,000 YEAR FLOOD WHEN STEHEKIN RECEIVED 2 FEET OF SNOW AND 17 INCHES OF RAIN IN 24 HOURS! THIS EVENT DESTROYED A PORTION OF STEHEKIN ROAD BETWEEN THE OLD WAGON TRAIL AND BRIDGE CREEK. THE SHUTTLE BUS NO LONGER GOES TO THE PARK CREEK TRAILHEAD, IT NOW TERMINATES AT HIGH BRIDGE. THIS CHANGE ADDS ABOUT 8 MILES AND 1,200 FEET FOR THE APPROACH TO TRIP REPORT HIKING DISTANCES POSTED PRIOR TO 2003.

Our group of four climbers, Dan Blake, Randy Murphy, Dan Stright and Charlie Winger, decided to attempt Goode Mountain via the SW Couloir. We took the Lady Express Ferry from Fields Point Landing.

DIRECTIONS TO FIELDS POINT LANDING FROM WENATCHEE, WA:

Take US 97A through Enitat, WA to the signed intersection with WA 971 (Navarre Coulee Road). Turn left and drive until you reach the intersection with South Lakeshore Road. Turn left and drive approximately 8 miles to Fields Point Landing. All of these turns are well signed for Fields Point Landing.

Fields Point Landing is one of the main stops for the Lady of the Lake Ferry and has a paved parking area. We paid $30 for seven days parking as we had planned to climb Bonanza Peak after Goode. The parking concession opens at 9:00 AM in the area between the parking area and the boat dock. It's best to purchase just a few days parking as you can pay for any remaining days you need when your return. They will put a payment envelope on your windshield after your initial paid days have expired. They do not give refunds for unused days.

Sunday, July 26:

We departed our motel in Wenatchee, WA at 7:30 AM for the one-hour drive to Fields Point Landing. We were instructed to arrive at the dock area by 8:50 AM for a 9:20 AM departure.

We decided to take the Lady Express instead of the Lady of the Lake II as the Express arrives at Stehekin at 11:00 AM whereas the Lady of the Lake II arrives at 12:30 PM. The 11:00 AM arrival will allow you to catch the 11:15 AM National Park Shuttle ($5 cash fare each way). As of 2009 the Lady Express fare was $59 for a round trip ticket, Lady of the Lake II was $39 for a round trip ticket. Taking the Express allows you to catch either the Lady Express (departs Stehekin at 12:00 PM, arrives Fields Point Landing 1:45 PM) or the Lady of the Lake II (departs Stehekin at 2:00 PM, arrives Fields Point Landing 4:45 PM) upon your return. It's probably wise to purchase tickets the day before you plan to start your trip as boats can fill to capacity during peak tourist season.

We were told by the Ferry company that we were not to have anything on the outside of our packs including all sharp objects, axes, stakes, etc. These items were to be placed in a separate duffel bag. We were also informed that any flamable fuel canisters, etc. must be packaged separate from everything else so they could be stored under lock and key. No one asked
about the fuel coming or going so there's obviously a communications problem there.

The Ferry arrived on time at Stehekin and Charlie sprinted up to the Golden West Visitor Center to obtain the required backcountry permit. This is the point at which our itinerary became problematical. The campsite we wanted, either 2 mile camp or 5 mile camp on Park Creek were both full, as was Bridge Creek and Park Creek campsites. We had to settle for Flat Creek campsite which is located 0.3 mile beyond Park Creek campsite/trail junction. We think Park Creek campsite would have been the best place to spend the first night, it doesn't make much sense to go farther.

Randy, Dan Stright and Dan Blake remained with the packs and unloaded equipment from the duffel bags. We had taken ice axe and crampons but did not need them as there was very little snow which could be avoided or easily ascended with trekking poles. The guys talked the shuttle driver into waiting a few extra minutes for us to complete our NPS transactions which included taking our remaining gear/duffel bags up to the Visitor Center for storage.

The shuttle departed only sightly behind schedule and made its first stop, the somewhat famous Stehekin Bakery (featured in the July 2007 issue of Sunset Magazine). Bring along some cash and load up on some great pasteries, pizza and sandwiches. Believe me, you'll be thinking of this place all the way up to the summit and back! The shuttle deposited us at the end of the line, High Bridge, around 12:15 PM.

We crossed the bridge and hiked up Stehekin Road for 3 miles where we arrived at the junction with the Old Wagon Trail. High Bridge and Tumwater campsites are located shortly after crossing High Bridge.

It's a two mile hike on the Old Wagon Trail to the junction with Stehekin Road. About half-way to Stehekin Road we encountered a split in the trail, the left fork went to Shady Cove and the right fork was the PCT. We took the right fork but both trails are equal in length and end up at Bridge Creek, which is a good campsite. On our return, Randy scared up a bear about 10 feet off the trail in the middle of this section. Do not attempt to continue on Stehekin Road past the Old Wagon Trail, it doesn't go, trust me, we tried it!

2.5 miles of additional hiking brought us to the junction with the Park Creek trail. We hiked an additional 10 minutes on Stehekin Road to the junction with the Flat Creek trail where our campsite was located.

The Flat Creek campsite worked out okay as we were tired after hauling the packs in the heat the nearly 8 miles from High Bridge. We arrived in camp around 5:00 PM and got set up just before it started raining. When it quit raining the flies and mosquitoes returned with a vengence. Flat Creek as well as all the other sites we passed were equipped with bear proof boxes.

Monday, July 27:

Today looked to be rain free as we prepared to move our camp up to one of the backcountry sites near the start of the climb.
Our itinerary called for us to return to Flat Creek on Tuesday, July 28th after reaching the summit of Goode. We decided to stash our return food in the bear box rather than carry it up and down the mountain. We each took one extra day of food in case we had a delay in attempting the summit.

We departed Flat Creek campsite around 9:00 AM and hiked back to the Park Creek junction at 2,300 feet. Park Creek climbs steadily uphill until you reach the 4,000 foot elevation, crossing Park Creek on a large log at 2 mile campsite. The trail levels out at 4,000 feet passing several smaller streams and finally arrives at a significant avalanche chute. The avalanche chute is a
very wide gully composed of light colored rocks with a braided stream, it is located just below Goode's summit. (~UTM WGS84 652848mE, 369833mN). Be sure to obtain water at or before this crossing as water will not be available until you reach your camp location. We continued past the avalanche chute for approximately 300 yards while searching for the elusive "large rock" with a carin mentioned in other writeups. In fact, the large rock is located approximately 10 yards uphill from the trail and did not have a carin. We built a carin near the trail and one on top of the rock itself for better visibility.

Writeups mention a "faint trail" and believe me you'll probably "faint" before you get through the downed timber and bushwhack your way to arrive at the trail on the ridge at ~4,500 feet. Resist going too far to your left as you attempt to find the "trail", staying closer toward the avalanche chute. The trail does exist and becomes more apparent as you slog you way up to the ridge. We found two sets of pink surveyor tape where climbers had attempted to mark the trail, you'll earn your elevation if you follow these. Once on the ridge proper the route finding becomes easier until you reach the point where you need to leave the ridge and head uphill. We ascended a short area of deadfall and then came out in a wide meadow which we followed up to near the area where we made our camp at 6,560 feet (~UTM WGS84 653392mE, 5371390mN). We located a water source from a couple of streams uphill and east about 20 minutes from our camp, toward a significant waterfall.

We arrived at our campsite around mid-afternoon amid blistering heat and swarms of biting black flies and mosquitoes. Seattle recorded a record 103F temperature. Life in the tent was like living in a sauna and life outside the tent was a living hell due to the bugs. I'm not sure we were tough enough to have endured a bivy (which would be miserable in the rain).

The distance from the Park Creek trail to our campsite was approximately one mile and gained 2,560 feet, guaranteed to make you sweat in the mid-day heat. We did not see any possibility for camping near the climbers trail at 4,000 feet.

Tuesday, July 28:

We awoke at 5:00 AM to a cloudless sky and warm temperatures. We were on the way up to the SW colouir by 6:00 AM.
We traversed up and over to the area where we acquired water the previous day and located a rock buttress prior to the water source mentioned earlier. An easy scramble led us to an open bowl where we spotted a line of carins leading up to the snow/scree slope mentioned in many writeups.

We easily ascended the snow/scree to arrive at the base of the SW colouir by 8:00 AM. We cached our unused ice axes and crampons at this point as they would not be needed.

We ascended easy scree/talus to the base of the black dike basaltic stair steps on the left. Here, the scrambling became easy 3rd class as we followed the dark colored steps. Approximately 200 feet up the steps we made the decision to continue following the dark colored rock instead of heading off to the right as described in most writeups. We believe that the original Goode ascent route followed the black rock. So, its up we went ascending into a narrowing chimney where the climbing became more difficult with plenty of loose rock. This would not be a safe route to take if another party was above you or during a rainstorm or with a group larger than four climbers. Two climbers is probably the safest for this route.

We passed two sets of slings for rappel/belay anchors attached to pitons before arriving at the end of the steps, several hundred feet up the chimney. All of the sling material showed damage due to rockfall. If considering this route you should plan on bringing along several pieces of sling material that can be cut to 3 foot lenghts.

The end of the chimney presents the climber with an awkward exit via some mid-fifth class rock moves. We brought along a selection of small stoppers and a 0.75, #1, and #2 sized Camalot. Once out of the chimney there is one more short technical section which also took a #1/#2 cam. Both of these sections together came to about 50-75 feet of climbing and led up to the notch on the ridge. Once at the notch we turned left and climbed another 25 feet to a belay/rappel anchor. You are approximately 300 feet of 4th class scrambling from the summit and directly above the NE Buttress of Goode.

We arrived on the summit at 11:00 AM, five hours after leaving camp. We did not find a register. There are a couple of bivy spots on top and absolutely outstanding views of the surrounding peaks, including Glacier Peak which we had ascended a few days prior.

We spent 30 minutes enjoying the views and taking photos after which we scrambled back to the upper rappel anchor. We had a single 70m, 8.1mm rope which we knotted the ends and threw back down the chimney, bypassing the upper fifth class moves.
The rappel took us back to the second anchor in the chimney.
Pulling the rope was dangerous due to all the loose rock and the lack of any safe place to stand. You're assured of bringing down rockfall so don't look up! A double rope rappel here might have allowed us to be in a safer place for pulling the rope but it could be difficult to pull. Also, there would have been more opportunities for the rope to dislodge loose rocks.

We successfully retrieved our rope and rappelled down to the next set of anchors. This rappel reached a safer area where down climbing without a rope was a relatively safe option. A couple of us went over to what appeared to be the first anchor on the alternate route to set up another rappel (downclimbing was faster but would have been a little dangerous for the entire group due to loose rock). This rappel anchor had a significant number of slings and one piece of purple 11mm perlon slung around a very large boulder. The downclimb after this third rappel was quite reasonable.

We hiked back to where we had left our ice axes and crampons and then descended the route back to the bottom of the rock buttress near the stream. We took time to fill all of our water containers (we brought along two of the 96 oz collapsible Nalgene containers) before heading back to camp. We arrived back at the camp at 2:30 PM.

Due to the time of day and distance required to return to our Flat Creek camp we decided to take the remaining portion of the day to rest up and then hike all the way back to the High Bridge camp tomorrow. The heat and voracious blood sucking biting flies, mosquitoes and other flying creatures made us wonder if it would have been better to slog back down the trail after all. In retrospect, we made a sensible decision as the trip down turned out to be strenuous.

Wednesday, July 29:

We departed camp at 7:30 AM and made a slow start down the meadow portion of the descent due to questionable footing.
Once back on the climber's trail things went easier. We followed the climber's trail out to the point where it heads toward the avalanche chute and then descends back toward the Park Creek trail. And yes, there is a trail out there. We could see why it is difficult to find on your ascent due to being overgrown.

We hiked back down the Park Creek trail to its junction with Stehekin Road. We stopped off at our Flat Creek camp to retrieve the food we had left there on our way up to the peak. We retraced our steps back to Bridge Creek camp where we rested for a short period before going through the Old Wagon Trail section which we knew would be a hot slog.

We arrived at our camp at High Bridge around 2:30 PM. We did the usual camp set up, ate and then retired to the tents as it appeared that it might rain. And rain it did. We had thunder and lightning and rain and more rain. We estimate it rained around 3 inches! We had thoughts of being caught up on the peak or doing a bivy. Better to be lucky than good.

Descending the 4,500 feet in 7 hours back to the High Bridge camp required more energy that I would have thought. Glad we didn't try to hike all the way from the boat dock up to our high camp in a single push!

Thursday, July 30:

We awoke to threatening skies but no rain, until we decided to eat, then it rained again. There was a PCT shelter at our campsite so we took advantage of that to eat and drag our wet tents over for a hurried packing. We got everthing together and hiked the short distance over to the High Bridge shuttle stop for the 9:00 AM shuttle back to the boat dock.

But wait! YES, the shuttle does stop at the bakery on the trip back to the boat dock. Hmmm! We also made a stop at the beautiful 300 foot Rainbow Falls (it does freeze up once every five years or so, think ice climbing), and at their old school house which was also worth inspecting.

The shuttle driver told us that the NPS is working with Congress to do a land swap which would allow them to reroute the washed out portion of Stehekin Road so the bus could again drive to the end of the road.

We arrived back at the boat dock around 9:45 AM with plenty of time to catch the Lady Express ferry at Noon. I also caught a great basket of Sweet Potato fries at the restaurant. We had decided to forgo an attempt on Bonanza Peak due to the bug situation. Why make yourself more crazy than we already were?

Arrived back at Fields Point Landing at 1:45 PM after an intermediate stop at Holden. Off to Wenatchee where we entombed ourselves at the Best Western Chieftain Motel (the best breakfasts I've ever had at a motel). After those ever so welcome showers we went to the Applewood Grill for a great dinner.
A special thanks to my Sherpa's Randy Murphy, Dan Stright and Dan Blake for carrying that rope and climbing rack all the way up to our high camp.

Trip photos can be found here:

http://photobucket.com/wings_goode?albumview=slideshow















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Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:11100 ft / 3382 m
    Extra Gain:2000 ft / 609 m
    Distance:28 mi / 45.1 km
    Route:SW Couloir
    Trailhead:High Bridge  2100 ft / 640 m
    Grade/Class:II+, 3rd, 4th, 5.6 r
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:4 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:3 Days 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:7 Hours 



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