Goode Mountain Southwest Couloir / 古德山西南山溝

It was only a year ago when I came into the area with friends. At the time, the plan was to go up both Goode Mountain and Storm King. But the weather ended up not working in our favor. So I was only able to go up the latter.

Kodak moment on Goode Mountain
Kodak moment on Goode Mountain

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Goode Mountain (Mount Goode) at a Glance

Access: Bridge Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3800′-9200′
Gear: helmet, rope, crampons, ice ax
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

Logistics Overview

September 26-29, 2019

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

Day 1 – Saturday, September 26
Approach to Goode Glacier
Night 1 – Goode Glacier Camp

Day 2 – Sunday, September 27
Goode Glacier westbound traverse
Night 2 – West Tower west shoulder @ 8280′

Day 3 – Monday, September 28
Southwest Couloir
Night 3 – Goode Mountain summit

Day 4 – Tuesday, September 29
Exit


Day 1

Approach to Goode Glacier

Overview > Day 1 Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

See more trip photos here.

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Southbound

Due to the damage from Goode Fire, North Cascades National Park officials had closed off access to Park Creek Trail. All season I had been waiting to check the mountain off my list. So instead, I went in from the north via Bridge Creek Trailhead.

By going this way, I was able to make use of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). While hiking along the trail, I had the opportunity to chat with thru-hikers. Their journeys continued to inspire me. Since I was walking downhill, this part went by in a breeze.

North Fork Bridge Creek to Goode Glacier Camp

It was a near bluebird day. So the views in the Bridge Creek Valley went for miles. I got to the North Fork Bridge Creek Trail junction in the late morning. Then I rested a bit before continuing. But just as I entered the North Fork Bridge Creek Valley, the weather took a drastic turn. And soon, clouds had overtaken Goode Mountain.

It took some careful route finding. But eventually, I made it up below the Goode Glacier. Right before dark, I found a decent campsite below the glacier. Soon, I turned in after a long day. At night, I occasionally awoke to the rumbling from above me. The moon was out tonight.

Day 2

Goode Glacier westbound traverse

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

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A Change in Plans

The next morning, the rumble continued. So I let go of the idea of climbing the northeast buttress. Then I started scouting out routes by traveling to the west end of the glacier. I stopped short of the buttress extending down from the west tower. Climbing along the east of the buttress, I later went into a broad and steep gully. Then from there, I was able to go above the cliffs.

Just below 8000′, a notch on the buttress forced me to downclimb a bit. Then from there, I moved onto a tiny, benign glacier. Since it’s late in the season, the edge had receded significantly. And as a result, only one snow bridge remained. But it barely reached the bottom of the headwall.

A Night on the Ledge

After a few attempts, I finally got myself onto the rocks. From there, I started the painfully slow and physically taxing 300′ climb. Closer up, the headwall looked just as steep. So I tested out every single hold as I inched upward. Half of the rocks I grabbed onto had poor quality. It was intense. But eventually, I made it up to the ridge at 8280′.

I spent my second night on a narrow ledge below north of the ridge. The south wind gusts consistently awoke me at night. I got off the platform a few times and wedged myself in between rocks. So I could get out the wind. The moon was out again tonight. And so were the stars.

Day 3

Southwest Couloir

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

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Goode Mountain West Tower

Day three turned out to be another gorgeous day. Shortly after breakfast, I started working my way up the ridge. But little did I know, I was below the top of the west tower. Somehow I kept thinking that it was the real summit. So after a couple of hours of sketchy climbing, I made it to the top. But then I realized I was wrong.

My jaw dropped when I looked up and saw a tall, dark structure before me. It turned out to be Goode Mountain’s real high point. It was towering on the other side of the deep notch separating the two summits. I couldn’t believe I had wasted my time to get up here. So I quickly did two rappels plus some downclimbing in scree to get off the top.

En Route to the Southwest Couloir

Soon, I was descending into the steep gully between the two summits. In it was a massive amount of loose rocks plus rockfalls. I was now to the west of the southwest ridge. In other words, I still had a long way to go. After two more hours, I finally made it to the flat area on the south side of the mountain. It was our last year’s campsite. Then I rested a bit before going up to the southwest couloir.

I vividly remembered traversing the moraine up to the couloir entrance. Back then, it had just snowed the night before we arrived. So everywhere in the gully had a thin layer of snow and ice. Because of poor weather conditions and wet rocks, we turned around at the bottom.

The North Face

The dark rocks on the left side of the gully had better quality. So I stayed on that side and carefully climbed up. Then at the top of the couloir, I slowly moved across a narrow ledge below cliffs. Soon, I followed a gravel path up and around to the north side of Goode Mountain. From there, I finally saw the impressive northeast buttress. At the bottom were the interweaving fissures scattered across the top of Goode Glacier.

The summit was only within reach. But the recent temperature drop had turned rain into pockets of thin ice. As a result, I had to avoid stepping on all of the solid granite steps. So the steep scramble took much longer. Otherwise, these are usually the best quality rocks to climb.

Goode Mountain Summit Joy

Finally, I got up to the summit just shy of sunset. The moon was rising from behind the Gardner Mountains. I haven’t had time to eat since this morning. So I desperately needed to cook food and drink lots of water. On top of that, I was ready to go to sleep at any moment. My first time circumnavigating a big mountain was exhausting.

But the upside? I spent my third and final night on the highest point in the North Cascades National Park. It was another clear night with the moon and the stars high above. But it was incredibly windy.

Day 4

Exit

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

See more trip photos here.

Final Day on Goode Mountain

The last morning on this mountain was also glorious. But it was a tad warm for late September. And the wind gusts continued. I would very much like to spend more time here before leaving. But I needed to allow myself ample time for the long trek back to Highway 20.

Once again, I used the rope to rappel off the north side. The north face looked a lot steeper from the summit. Fortunately, by the time I started moving, the sun had melted off the ice from the day before. So the descent back down to the gravel ledge went by very quickly.

The Low-Key Exit

The hike out on the PCT ended up taking longer. Even after a night of rest, I could use more sleep. And I also wasn’t moving fast going uphill. But somebody, anyone, please drag me up the hill!

Before long, the nightfall came. And the moon was out once again. I took several power naps along the trail as the evening deepened. Not sure where I got the energy to keep hiking through the night. But eventually, I made it back to the Bridge Creek Trailhead at the crack of dawn.

A windy night on Goode Mountain
A windy night on Goode Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Overview > Day 1 > Day 2 > Day 3 > Day 4

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