Goode Mountain - 9200' - NE Buttress Class 5.2
Storm King - 8520' - SE face - Class 3
To continue my annual North Cascades trip, I met back up with Etai (since we hadn't had enough from our Pickets Traverse) and this time Josh joined us for a 3 day trip to tackle the NE buttress of Goode and Storm King. I had literally just returned to Renton after driving my car back from Alaska, and picked Josh up on our way through. Etai met us in Renton and late in the evening on the 22nd we drove to Chelan and found a place to crash a few minutes out of town.
The next morning we got to Chelan and stopped for a quick breakfast before buying our tickets for the Lady of the Lake ferry. With our bikes, it ended up costing nearly $90 per person! At 8:30am the boat was moving and we arrived in Stehekin 2.5 hours later. The ride was fairly enjoyable but also a nice way to get a little extra sleep before a long approach. I fueled up with a little more ice cream and we piled into the shuttle bus to High Bridge with our bikes. We only got a one way ride as we planned o ride our bikes the whole way down when we returned.
Upon arriving at the High Bridge camp, the bus stopped and we started biking up the old road. The first mile and a half was up a fairly steep grade but having my light road bike made the pedaling easier. Etai and Josh had much heavier mountain bikes so the struggle to bike up was greater for them (although I would sometimes wish I had some kind of suspension). 30 minutes of biking passed and we didn't see the big washout I had always heard of. When we saw a sign pointing towards the PCT, and an impassible-washout marker, I realized that the PCT had been re-routed here and we would have to walk our bikes across this mile long section of trail that bypassed the washout. We ere able to ride small sections in this area but the trail ascended a steep 300 feet or so that I was certainly not able to ride on a road bike. Once we crested and the trail bean descending back down, we rode more than we walked and for myself, it was a delicate balance between avoiding the larger rocks so I didn't flip over the handlebars. My ass also wasn't too happy either lol.
We reached the old road again and it was one more mile to the Bridge Creek Trailhead, which we reached quickly and locked the bikes to a tree nearby. It was as we were taking a rest I noticed a large black bear a few hundred feet away. He didn't seem to mind us at all. Just after 2pm we started hiking up the Bridge Creek Trail, then turned up onto the North Fork trail to finish the approach to the north side of Goode.
As we hiked up the north fork trail it was very evident that someone recently cleared out a 6 foot swath of brush to open up the trail significantly. However the last half mile or so they skipped (or ran out of time) which meant slower going until we located the correct spot to cross the creek, marked by a nice cairn. We waded across and found the so called "secret passage" through the lower brush which allowed us to ascend open talus all the way to the first waterfall and avoid the alders entirely! This was awesome since I had read reports of horrible bushwhacking just after crossing the stream.
We then scrambled up the slabs to the right of the waterfall and followed a decently beaten path through two short bushy sections. Once we emerged it was another 600 feet or so to the 5,500 foot bivy site right at the base of the cliffs just below the remaining glacier. We reached this awesome camp spot 30 minutes before sunset and there was just enough room to pitch my tent, while Josh slept under the stars in the smaller platform. Sunset over Mount Logan and Black Peak was a real treat and I probably took 50 pictures trying to get the perfect one while trying to eat dinner at the same time. By dark we were sleeping with a 6am alarm set.
Just as the sun rose we sprang up and I woofed down 3 oatmeal packets. It didn't take long for us to start scrambling up the rocky slabs and reach the foot of the glacier. Utilizing a route topo from one of Stephs trip reports, I found the best way up the glacier which involved gaining the snow just to the right of the steep ice cliff and weaving left, then back right to pass around the large crevasses. It took bout 2 hours to reach he far right edge of the glacier from our camp and by 9am we were crossing the moat. This involved a delicate walk on large ice boulders that had fallen from the glacier and made a narrow bridge to the rock. With only microspikes on, we all carefully crossed one at a time utilizing our ice axes as support. When we all were safely on the rock, we put the rope away and began scrambling up a rightward traversing ledge, then a 50 foot low 5th class section to gain the NE buttress proper. We ended up soloing the entire route and reached the summit of Goode in 3 hours from when we crossed the moat, which included several large breaks to eat and enjoy the views! For the crux, which came about two-thirds the way up, I put my rock shoes on so i could continue soloing, otherwise I was comfortable climbing most of the route in my tennis shoes. Very solid and enjoyable rock. Just below the summit we passed by the bivy site that has been used by other parties in the past. Once on top, the views were astounding and the summit camp was probably one of the best spots to camp I have ever seen. Too bad it was only 1pm so we planned to continue on to Storm King the same day.
Once we had our fill of views and summit snacks (I had a dozen cookies or so!), we rappelled three times down the NE side (what we just climbed) and reached the ledge that leads to the Black Tooth Notch. We traversed this easy but exposed ledge to the notch and made two more rappels at which point the SW couloir gully opened up and we could scramble down the remainder of the way to the open basin at 7,600 feet. Here we crossed an easy snowfield providing quicker passage, and found some running water to fill our bottles (we were thirsty, as we didn't carry much up the route). We started making a mostly level traverse to the northwest crossing a small basin and found an excellent camp spot on the small NE/SW trending rib just south of Storm King, complete with flat grass, water, and incredible views at 7,500 feet! So we dropped the packs here and started the short 1000 foot ascent to Storm King. Most of the route up to the right-most notch was on crappy scree and talus, but once we crossed over to the north side there was a fun ledge traverse, followed by some 4th class scrambling up the north side of the highest tower to the summit. By far the best part of this peak is the view you get of Mount Goode.
By around 6pm we started heading down and reached camp an hour later. Descending that talus wasn't fun so I took a route to skiers left onto some more solid rock and slabs. Again, we ate dinner to a beautiful sunset over Buckner, and the entire Glacier Peak Wilderness area. The last rays of light hitting Mount Goode directly above us was a real treat to witness!
For the third day, Josh and I decided to bail on all the ideas we had for trying to squeeze in either Buckner or Logan and simply make a very fast descent back to Stehekin and try to catch the fast boat for its noon departure back to Chelan. Our return tickets were for Friday but we were ready to head out so we woke up at 5:30 and began descending at 5:50. It was a long 3,500 foot descent to the Park Creek Trail, over mostly talus until we reached the burnt forest around 5,700 feet. From this point it was a very dusty, ash filled descent down the steep climbers trail. We then proceeded to walk fast/run the 4 miles down the Park Creek trail, then walk an additional 1.5 miles east on the old road back to the Bridge Creek trailhead where our bikes were stashed. We reached the bikes at 9:35 and began the long 15.5 mile bike ride to Stehekin After passing through the short trail section, the riding was very fast especially for me on my road bike. I reached the bakery (1.6 miles from Stehekin) at 11:20, and realized I had plenty of time to stop in for some ice cream, cookies, and soda.
Soon thereafter, Josh and Etai joined in on the snacking and by 11:45 we reached the ferry dock and they allowed us to ride a day early! After some more food (yogurt and milk...I think I'm addicted to dairy lol) we loaded on the boat and slept most of the ride back to Chelan. As we went south the temperate rapidly increased and I woke up to a very hot boat. It was a relief to get off, at which point we drove to the nearest park and went for a swim in the lake (best. thing. ever.)
After that I had a "4 pound burrito" in Chelan and woofed it down...and still drove home back to Renton hungry! I will say, it's nice being really tall and really active I can eat all the food I want!
All in all a very successful trip, and we can say we did Goode and Storm King in 2 days "boat-to-boat"