Goode Mountain Southwest Couloir / 古德山西南山溝

Kodak moment on Goode Mountain
Kodak moment on Goode Mountain

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The Lowdown on Goode Mountain (aka Mount Goode)

Access: Bridge Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 3800′-9200′
Gear: helmet, rope, crampons
GPS Track: available

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 Approach

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 I approached from the north via Bridge Creek Trailhead.

By going this way, I got to enjoy the excellent Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) en route to the mountain. Hiking along the trail, I got the chance to chat with several thru-hikers. Their journey continued to inspire me. Since I was heading downhill, this was the easiest part of the approach.

North Fork Bridge Creek to Goode Glacier Camp

It was a near bluebird day, and views down Bridge Creek Valley went for miles. I got to the North Fork Bridge Creek Trail junction in the late morning and took a break before continuing. But just as I entered the North Fork Bridge Creek Valley, the weather took a drastic turn. Goode Mountain soon went out of view in clouds.

It took some route finding, but eventually, I made it near the Goode Glacier. Just before dark, I found a great campsite below the edge of the glacier. I turned in early after a long day and I occasionally awoke to the glacier’s rumbling. The moon was out at night.

Day 2

Goode Glacier westbound traverse

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

A Change of Plan

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Next morning the rumble continued, and so I scratched the idea of climbing the northeast buttress. Then I started scouting out routes by heading toward 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 got into a broad and steep gully. I finally was able to attain the buttress at 7800′.

Just before reaching 8000′, a notch on the buttress forced me to downclimb a bit. From there I got onto a small, benign glacier. Since it’s late in the season, the edge of the glacier had receded significantly. As a result, the only snow bridge just barely reached the bottom of the headwall.

A Night on the 8280′ Ledge

After a few cautious attempts, I was finally able to get on rocks. From there I started the slow and physically taxing 300′ climb to the ridge at 8280′. The headwall turned out to be just as steep as it looked from farther away. Climbing on rocks with poor quality was nerve-racking.

I spent my second night on a narrow ledge below north of the ridge. The south wind gusts consistently awoke me during the night. I came off the platform a few times and wedged myself in between rocks to dodge the wind. The moon was out again, and so were the stars.

Day 3

Southwest Couloir

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

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Approach to the Southwest Couloir

Day three turned out to be another gorgeous day. After breakfast, I started climbing up the west ridge. I had aimed for the top of Goode Mountain west tower thinking that it was the true summit. After a couple of hours of sketchy climbing and I finally made it to the top.

My jaw dropped when I looked up and saw Goode Mountain’s real high point. It was towering above on the other side of the deep notch separating the two summits. It took two rappels and some downclimbing in scree to get to the south side of the tower.

Then I descended southward into the steep gully with a massive amount of loose rocks and some rockfalls. I was now west of the mountain’s southwest ridge. In other words, still, a ways to go. Eventually, I got to the 7600′ flat area on the south side after two long hours. Then I took a breather before heading to the southwest couloir.

Onto the North Face

My partners and I were here a year ago. And I vividly remembered climbing through moraine up to the couloir entrance. Due to poor weather conditions and wet rocks, we turned around above the opening. I stayed left in the gully on the darker, more solid rocks.

At the top of the couloir was a narrow ledge below the cliffs. The loose rock-covered path then guided me to the north side of Goode Mountain. From there I finally got to see the impressive northeast buttress and the broken Goode Glacier at the bottom.

Although I wasn’t far from the top, the steep scramble on the north side took longer than anticipated. The recent temperature drop had turned light precipitation into pockets of thin ice throughout. As a result, I avoided all of the granite stones with good steps. Otherwise, the rocks would be a climber’s dream on a good day.

Summit Joy

Eventually, I got up to the summit shy of sunset, just as the moon was rising from behind Gardner Mountains. Hungry and exhausted, I was ready to lie down at any moment. My first time circumnavigating a big mountain like this one and it was exhausting. But the upside? I got to spend my third night on the highest point inside the North Cascades National Park.

Day 4

Exit

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

See more trip photos here.

Glorious Last Day on Goode Mountain

The final morning on this mountain was still glorious, albeit warm for late September. And the wind continued to blow from the night before. I would very much like to spend more time on top before leaving. But I needed to allow myself enough time for the long trek back to Highway 20.

Once again, I put the rope to use by rappeling off the north side. Since the north face seemed so much steeper when looking down from the summit. Fortunately, by the time I started moving the sun had melted off the ice on top of the rocks. So the descent back down to the ledge went by quickly.

The Low-Key Exit

The hike out on Bridge Creek Trail and the PCT ended up taking longer than expected. Even after a night of rest I was still tired. And I for sure wasn’t moving as fast going uphill. But somebody, anyone, please drag me up the hill!

Before long, the night had descended, and the moon was out again. I took several power naps along the trail as it got deeper into the night. Not sure where I found the strength to continue hiking through the night. But finally, I made it back to the Bridge Creek Trailhead at the crack of dawn.

Twas a windy night
Twas a windy night

See more trip photos here.

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

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