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[TR] Goode slam via Silent Lakes Jul 25-30 - 7/25/2013


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Trip: Goode slam via Silent Lakes Jul 25-30 -


Date: 7/25/2013


Trip Report:


Doug Wash, Scott Kindred and I took 6 days in late July to do a one-way traverse of some spectacular country in the North Cascades National Park, climbing Logan, Goode, and Storm King. Though much of the route is off trail we found the travel to be generally pleasant, and thought that the seldom-visited Silent Lakes were well worth a few extra hours of travel for the peaceful basin, scenic ridges, and the sheer glory of dropping into Fisher Pass.


Day 1: Scott’s incredible wife Doreen made a day trip out of it and followed us to Cascade Pass for a car drop, then dropped us at the Easy Pass Trailhead. Thanks Doreen! From there we hiked up over Easy Pass and descended to Fisher Creek. At the NPS sign post near the valley bottom there is an old trail to the left heading up the valley. This trail stays on the north side of the creek through timber until entering the wide open valley. Easy travel. Ascend talus to the top of a small waterfall, turn SW at 6200’ up a snow-filled gulley to the spectacular Silent Lakes basin at 7000’. 5 hrs from the trailhead.


Fisher Creek Headwaters



Silent Lakes & Black Peak



Day 2: We headed SW from Silent Lakes across pleasant heather and talus between 6700-7000’. From here you have two choices: cross the pass on the SW rib of Arriva, or traverse around point 7945. We followed the route across the col on the SW rib of Arriva. In retrospect, it appears that the traverse around Point 7945 could be a better option, as we had to do 45 minutes of loose and somewhat dangerous 4th class down climbing in a rotten gully on the descent west from this col. We stayed right (out of the gulley) until forced across it by cliffs. Shortly we were having lunch in a peaceful basin at 6000’ SW of the gulley.


Route from Silent Lakes 



Basin at 6000’



From Fisher Pass ascend a thin rock gulley and slopes to a basin W of point 6890, then traverse the large basin E of Logan to Douglas Glacier camp (at a col separating North Fork Bridge Creek from Douglas Glacier), crossing a 3rd-4th class rock rib at ‘7000.


Fisher Pass Route



Approaching Douglas Glacier camp




There was a trickle of water at camp and enough for Scott to take a bath 5 min downhill to the south. 9 hrs from Silent Lakes. We spent the evening marveling at the gaping crevasses on the Douglas glacier and the enormous, clean NE Buttress of Goode. The buttress looks absolutely incredible from this camp.

Logan Camp



Day 3: The Douglas Glacier has some huge, gaping crevasses, but was easily navigated. Climb to the col between the Banded and Douglas Glaciers. Turn left on steep snow on north side of the ridge and climb maybe 200–300 vertical feet until you’re able to gain rock on east ridge of Logan at a prominent col. Follow this winding rocky ridge (class 3–4) to the summit. 4 hrs RT from camp.


Boston Basin from Logan Summit



Back at camp, we then set off for the mystical Magic Staircase (described in an excellent and recent Goode trip also report on cascadesclimbers) and were not disappointed. This rocky but solid class 3–4 gully allows a schwack–free descent into head of North Fork Bridge Creek. The traverse SE to the staircase was longer than expected, but the staircase is very much a secret passage, which for us ended in a dramatic tunnel exit. Stellar.


Magic Staircase



For us the schwack down to the NF Bridge Creek trail was pretty crappy, but we found the trail in a meadow at 4100’. We crossed Bridge creek at 3400’ (knee deep, easy) and ascended a prominent scree gully to the big, left-most flowing watercourse at the head of the scree slope. Ascend 4th and low 5th class slabs on the right side of the watercourse, then up through talus/slabs/heather to bivies at either 5150 (on a knob below the hanging glacier) or 5400 feet. There is a thin trail which we tried to follow, but we got off and ended up in slide alder, so it would be a good idea to be more careful with route finding than we were. Because we intended to access the NE Buttress from the west instead of the normal route on the east side we bivied at 5150’. 6 hrs from Logan camp.


Glacier and Goode



Day 4: From our bivy on Logan it looked like there was an easy access to the buttress from the west as suggested in Steph’s trip report from the year before. From our bivy at 5150’ we crossed a scree basin then heather slopes to the next drainage to the west, which is bordered to the west by a treed ridge. We ascended to this treed ridge, where we got on the snow at 5800’. There is a fantastic bivy site here with several top notch spots. It didn’t look it had been visited in quite a while. It also appeared that one could cross the North Fork Bridge Creek at around 3600 ft. and schwack up the treed ridge fairly easily to these sites. Once on snow the travel was very easy with no major crevasse issues – easily managed in approach shoes with an aluminum ax and crampons. We got on dry rock on the NE Buttress at 6400’ about 2 hrs from our camp.


Traverse to drainage and onto rib in upper left 



Approaching NE Buttress from the west



The first pitch leading up to NE Buttress proper was easy low fifth class. Once on the Buttress, we contoured briefly onto the east side to avoid a steep step. We traversed right to get back on Buttress once past this step (low to mid fifth class). From here the lower half of the route was an endless, meditative 3rd-4th class scramble with some loose rock. We stayed generally on the ridge or just left of it. It was a matter of looking for the easiest way, not looking for a way that would go. There are plenty of horns to sling and chalk stones to girth hitch.

Scott on the buttress



Me about 2/3 of the way up



To descend we did three 30m rappels trending skiers right, ending above a horn with many slings on it which is visible from the route on the way up. From there you are level with and maybe 50m west of black tooth notch. To get to the notch we down-climbed about 12 feet (4th, solid but scary) then traverse east to the notch (cairns). There is a hand line off the horn to assist in the downclimb. From the notch we downclimbed 20m to slings then did two 30m rappels straight down. We found a black dike of solid rock to skiers right to be the least sketchy of the downclimbing options after the rappels. Exit left when the gully cliffs out towards the bottom.


Descending from Goode



There is a great bivy on a bench SW at 7200’ with enough water for Scott to take a bath. Some evening clouds and distant thunder moved in and created a spectacular sunset light show for us. We learned later that there had been powerful thunderstorms in the area. Yikes! Having come up and down Goode and found a wonderful bivy spot this was a very satisfying day for each of us. 12 hrs.


Ptarmigan Traverse & Glacier Peak



Day 5: It’s an easy traverse near 7600’ to a broad basin south of Storm King. There are several notches, one of which has a spire (looks like a gunsight) in it. You want the notch to the east of that notch. Pass to the north side of the peak, traverse a ledge then scree to the west until you hit a prominent ridge with a steep snowfield on the other side (about 200 feet). This ridge leads to the summit, trending somewhat to the left. The rock wasn’t that bad and the scramble was kind of fun. 3rd, some reasonably solid 4th. 2 or 3 hrs to summit. We descended the climbing route.

Once back in the broad basin south of Storm King, we descended to 5800’, then schwacked to the Goode climbers trail, which is on the west bank of the next drainage to the east of the one we came down off Storm King.


Goode from Storm King (snow patches still present)



The talus and the schwack on the way to the Goode climbers trail took a long time and was no fun. In retrospect we thought it would be better to leave gear at camp, which was on the Goode climbers trail, and return there. We took the Park Creek Trail to the Stehekin road and spent the night at Cottonwood camp on the river, where Scott took a bath. 12 hrs from Goode Camp #2.


Day 6 was a pleasant, light-pack stroll up to Cascade Pass and down to the car. One of the most relaxing things about taking an extra day or two to do this traverse was that we could leave and return to Seattle at a reasonable hour. One could end this trip by crossing into Horseshoe Basin (either from Booker/Buckner col via Park Creek Pass, or from the trail into Horseshoe Basin off of Cascade Pass Trail) and climbing some of the peaks there, but after Goode we were all more than content to leave those peaks for another trip. Thanks to the car shuttle on the way in we were back in Seattle before dark. This was a truely inspiring trip for each of us, and certainly for myself these are peaks I'd been thinking about for years.


Gear Notes:

-Our rack for Goode was a set of nuts, 4 cams, and a bunch of slings. There is tons of stuff to sling and girth hitch on the route. We took 4 tiblocs for slimulclimbing and they were sweet.

- 2 x30m 8mm ropes.

- five10 approach shoes with aluminum crampons. Sweet setup. I had the lowtops, Doug had the hightops, and I was envious of the ankle coverage in talus.

-Bugs at night in several of the camp made some kind bugproof bivy a necessity.

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