Forum Index > Trip Reports > MRNP: Governor's Ridge & Barrier Peak 6/22/2020
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Pribbs
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Joined: 13 Aug 2010
Posts: 165 | TRs
Location: Sammamish, WA
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PostTue Jun 23, 2020 9:50 am 
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GPS Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/3e8011a3-c483-49a8-a697-34abc73190d2/
http://www.movescount.com/moves/move343981124

Time to head to MRNP for the first time of the year. We were deciding between Tamanos Mountain and Governor's/Barrier, and decided on the latter and more exciting. We set out of the Owyhigh Lakes TH at 7:50am and reached the lakes and meadows at 9:25 ish 3.75 miles in. The trail is one of the nicest trails in the park in regards to its condition, a gradual grade and very smooth tread all the way up. The snow begins 3 miles in but the tracks in the snow are easy enough to follow since it is a fairly popular trail. The lakes and meadows are so stunning, with the craggy Governor's Ridge rising above. This has to be the best hike in the park that doesn't have a view of Rainier.


We crossed between the lakes and then crossed the inlet stream of the larger lake, headed sorta to the right in the woods and up a small snow gully that led to a long snow gully/finger with a creek underneath. There was usually enough snow covering the creek to walk up it but for the most part we were able to stay just next to it up the long gully. We entered a large snowfield that we ascended to the left, around some high trees and to a giant boulder. Here we put on crampons, and the snow got steeper as we aimed for the gully to the Governors-Barrier saddle. Just before the saddle, there is a pretty steep snow traverse that requires a good deal of focus. My buddy suggested instead leaving the snow and going up the rock to the left, which ended up being a bit of a mistake because of how nasty and loose it was. It would've been easier to deal with the snow traverse.


The views from the saddle were already pretty good, with Mt. Adams in view.


We traversed the snow north from the saddle down around a large buttress, past some talus under Governor's Needle, and arrived at the great gully of doom.


If you didn't already have a helmet on, now is the time. The rock in the very beginning is actually the best and quite decent and fun, but it soon gives way to steep and nasty loose crap, so watch your step and tread lightly!


Routefinding isn't difficult, just keep going up the bad stuff until it soon becomes more manageable heather and dirt with some short snow crossings. Keep heading north past all of the rock towers until you have the main summit straight ahead.


There are multiple variations to scramble up the short summit block. You can go up to the left side for more fun and exposure. Take your pick! But wow those views are quite remarkable and rewarding, looking at the Cowlitz Chimneys and the wall of Banshee Peak with Rainier rising above. SIX volcanoes from Baker (peeking over Slide Mountain) to Hood. Saint Helens and Adams were so clear. We signed the register, which has dates back since 2000! But this peak does need a new register very badly.


After nearly an hour basing in the warm sun and soaking in the views, we carefully made our way back down the gully. From the top of Governors, the snow conditions on the north ridge of Barrier above the saddle did not look very friendly, so we instead dropped into the snowy basin like heading back toward Buell Peak, and we then ascended a steep snow gully onto the SE Ridge of Barrier Peak.


Ascending this ridge was pretty straightforward to the top.


7.5 hours from the trailhead we arrived on Barrier's summit for more splendid views. We did not find a register here, so maybe whoever is kind enough to replace the one of Governors can bring one up here too.


We descended briefly down Barrier's west ridge to the top of the first large gully. It looked pretty steep as it funneled into an hourglass, but we knew this was the best of the gullies on this ridge, we we put on our crampons again and carefully headed down. This is certainly some of the steepest snow I have been on, and we were facing in and downclimbing carefully.


We then retraced our route back to the lakes. The lighting was really good in the evening. We rested, refilled water, and even soaked our feet before the hike out. 11 miles, 3800 feet of gain (felt like 1000 feet more) in 10 hr 45 min including all breaks.


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Photos: https://www.facebook.com/PribbernowPhotography
Peakbagger: http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/climber.aspx?cid=20593
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Bluebird
suffering optional



Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Posts: 90 | TRs
Location: United States
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suffering optional
PostTue Jun 23, 2020 10:08 pm 
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the owyhigh lakes are fabulous. one apparently need not be a sad lame lakebagging loser to be seduced by their many charms 😍😍😍
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Jeff
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Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 2994 | TRs
Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
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Ramen Elitist
PostSun Jun 28, 2020 10:12 am 
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My second hike ever in Washington was to Owyhigh. I remember thinking that ridge looked like a saw blade.
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