Golden Slam in Golden Hour / 黃金時刻上黃金滿貫

I met two new friends through last weekend’s trip. Then this week, the yellow pup and I went climbing the Golden Slam by Rainy Pass.

Golden Slam on exit
Golden Slam on exit

See more trip photos here.

Golden Slam = Tower Mountain + Golden Horn
黃金滿貫
= 塔山+黃金角

Golden Slam at a Glance

Access: PCT Northbound at Rainy Pass
Round Trip: TBD

Elevation Range: 4880′-8444′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

This trip offered the most relaxing approach to a campsite this year. We were able to make use of the excellent PCT as well. Also, Snowy Lakes between the two peaks have since become one of my favorite camp spots.

We spent all except the last half mile on the trail. On the way to Cutthroat Pass, I talked to a group of PCT workers. Meanwhile, they tried fighting off the swarms of mosquitoes. I chatted with them briefly, and then we continued.

PCT workers
PCT workers

See more trip photos here.

Cutthroat Pass

Once at the pass, the impact of the recent wildfires was evident. But the visibility to the neighboring valleys was weak. So we couldn’t see much past them either.

Groups of trail runners also made great use of the excellent weather. So they ran their way up to the pass from Cutthroat Lake. I have no idea that this was a hotbed for trail running.

PCT workers
PCT workers

See more trip photos here.

Around the Trail Bend

The “wow” moment came when PCT took a turn due northwest. Just around the bend, the colossal figure of Tower Mountain came in view suddenly. Then it took me a moment to understand that I saw.

But I first mistook Tower Mountain for Golden Horn because the dense smoke had covered up Golden Horn entirely. Later, we passed a few hikers before leaving PCT. Then we took the trail by a small cairn and went north.

The "wow" moment
The “wow” moment

See more trip photos here.

Tower Mountain of Golden Slam

Soon, we reached the lower Snowy Lake. Then right away, I heard noises from the upper lake. So I knew to find a camp spot by the bottom pool. Our campsite was also closer to Tower Mountain.

After setting up the tent and ate a snack, we then set off to Tower Mountain. The coolest part of the climb was my second cave discovery this season. It was just before we entered the west gully. My first find was on Bonanza Peak.

Tower Mountain from camp
Tower Mountain from camp

See more trip photos here.

Tower Mountain Summit

We walked passed the cave and then went into the rockfall-prone gully. But I was glad that nothing came down as we continued through the standard route. Soon, we made it up to the top. Then we took an hour to enjoy the scenery.

The mountain certainly lived up to its name with the seven-foot summit cairn. The first ascent party had built it back in 1913. By now, the smoke had cleared up considerably. So Golden Horn was visible on the other end of the ridge.

Summit dogs on Tower Mountain
Summit dogs on Tower Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Golden Horn of Golden Slam

There was still enough daylight until sunset. So the pup and I made a quick stop back at camp. Then we made our way up to Golden Horn. The route was also visible and nearly brush free. So it made up for the extra time we spent in the sketchy scree gully.

We reached the base of the summit tower an hour before sunset. Then the pup stayed put on the platform. Meanwhile, I climbed up to the top with a low 4th class move. I also brought my rope to rappel off the summit later.

Rock piles
Rock piles

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Golden Horn Summit

At twenty feet below was a tired pup. But right now, the dog only cared about in a nap. The beautiful golden hour colors begged me to stay and savor the last light. But coming off the top safely before dark was more critical.

Soon, we made it back down to camp before darkness fell. It seemed like most campers had gone to bed if not already asleep.

Good night
Good night

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Outro

The next morning, we awoke to a clear sky with a tint of haze. Then I chatted with four campers from Whidbey Island. The group had planned to climb Golden Horn. Then they decided to enjoy the scenery instead. Meanwhile, the pup enjoyed his time in the water.

On the way out, we met our first two llamas near Cutthroat Pass. Later, we passed the same group of workers as we hiked down.

Till next time
Till next time

See more trip photos here.

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