Forum Index > Trip Reports > Golden Horn but green larches, 9.27-28.2008
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3499 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSun Sep 28, 2008 8:13 pm 
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Off we went to Golden Horn and Snowy Lakes in search of larches!  Before hand two delays of my own doing caused some delay though.  The plan was to meet at the 128th St park and ride in Everett.  Little did we know that both Trailpair and myself knew of two park and rides on that street.  So while I sat at the wrong one, sure they were late, they were just down the street thinking the same.  Eventually we got it sorted out.  On the road we mentioned missing the Hwy530 exit on previous trips - sure enough I sailed right past it and before we knew it we were in Burlington.  After all the driving snafus we finally met Bad Dog at the Rainy Pass trailhead and were on our way - more than half an hour later than planned.  That would come back on us.

We made good time along the well maintained PCT and hit Cutthroat Pass in just over two hours.  After some photos and a break we continued onwards towards our destination.  There were distant gray clouds but the skies were starting to clear up.  Views were great to many other peaks in the area and down to Cutthroat Lake.  We cruised along over Granite Pass and onwards, finding ourselves at the turnoff to Snowy Lakes.  Up we went along the steep path and there were the lakes, shallow but pretty.  Tower mountain towered overhead.

We pitched camp on the ridge above upper Snowy Lake, one of several groups in the area.  It was later than we'd hoped so we debated whether to go up Golden Horn now or in the morning.  Another hiker said it had taken him an hour and a half from camp to summit.  We opted for to go for it and set out with daypacks up the ridge.  Going up was a little slow, picking through the scattered rocks and avoiding the soft scree to conserve energy.  About 45 minutes later we hit the ridge and found a nice pathway along the crest.  Skirting the tops of some gullies, and scrambling around and over a large rocky outcrop, we had our first view of Golden Horn summit.  We were going up that?  From here it looked like a sheer tower!

We continued on the path and could see the route better now.  We would have to ascend a gully to near the top.  There were two possible routes, either to left or right.  Summitpost mentions the left gully, I assume this is the one they talk about anyway.  Bob and Yumi went left and encountered a large step they were able to work over.  Kolleen and I stayed right up more solid and easier rock, but unsure if we could cross over higher up.  We did find a way by scrambling up a little step and sliding down a small rock ramp to rejoin the others.  Either route seemed feasible but staying right kept us on more solid rock.

We could see the final bit and that we'd have to leave it for the rock climbers.  There were also a few patches of snow and ice on some foot holds, further removing it.  I could see two slings at the summit, one green and another red, for rappelling.  So after some photos we hurried down to beat sunset.  Now I was regretting the driving error and wanting that half hour back!

We made it back to camp just as the sun went down.  There was a nice glow off to the west, lighting up some peaks.  Tower glowed very bright orange.  After a little while the stars came out, bright and clear in the dark sky.  We ate our dinners and before long turned in as frost began to form on the tents.  Yumi and I stayed out a little longer taking star photos and watching shootings stars.  We saw one particularly bright one, fairly slow moving, go across low in the sky.  It was very cold that night but thankfully there was no wind.

I was the first one up hoping for a good sunrise but there weren't enough clouds.  The ground had frozen overnight and ice crystals were growing everywhere.  The shallow shores of the lakes also had a layer of ice.  We ate a chilly breakfast, the sun finally reaching over Tower Mountain around 8:30.  Before departing we had a visior - Loper and friends were camped just across from us.  They'd scrambled Tower and even made the true summit of Golden Horn with a rope.  We said hi and went on our way, playing leap frog with their group as we hiked out.  Trailpair, Yumi, and myself were bound for the cars and home.  The Bad Dogs weren't done with their adventure yet though and headed off to scramble Hardy Peak on their way out.  Stay tuned to find out how their trip went.

A great trip!  Very nice scramble, some beautiful scenery, and unseasonably summer-like September weather!  The only complaint?  The larch were only beginning to turn!  The majority of them were a sort of neon green color.  Looks like it's going to be a late color change this year.

Click here for all the trip photos
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Tower Mountain
Tower Mountain
The route
The route
Up to the lakes
Up to the lakes
Snowy Lakes
Snowy Lakes
Upper lake
Upper lake
Camp
Camp
Above Snowy lakes
Above Snowy lakes
Ridge view
Ridge view
Gullies
Gullies
Yumi
Yumi
As high as we made it
As high as we made it
Icicle
Icicle
Big view
Big view
The rest is left to the rock climbers
The rest is left to the rock climbers
Back to the lakes
Back to the lakes
Alpenglow
Alpenglow
Red skies
Red skies
Glowing tent
Glowing tent
Star trails
Star trails
Morning on Hardy peak
Morning on Hardy peak
Larch trees
Larch trees
Reflected hikers
Reflected hikers
Glassy surface
Glassy surface
Changing larch trees
Changing larch trees
Valley view
Valley view
Tiny larch
Tiny larch
Changing trees
Changing trees
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Hiker Mama
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Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Posts: 3187 | TRs | Pics
Location: Lynnwood
Hiker Mama
Member
PostSun Sep 28, 2008 8:18 pm 
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Amazing photos!  I especially like Red Skies and Glowing Tent.  Your second photo showing the whole valley is pretty neat, too.  That trip looks really fun.
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 431 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle, WA
Middle E
no more moustache
PostSun Sep 28, 2008 8:57 pm 
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Wow - looks like a great trip.  Too bad I can't be two places at once!  I especially like the photo of the glowing tent with the Big Dipper above  up.gif  up.gif

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pithy yet insightful signature
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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10980 | TRs | Pics
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostSun Sep 28, 2008 9:06 pm 
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Nice TR...great color in those photos, Opus! Thanks for posting!  up.gif

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1706 | TRs | Pics
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Sep 28, 2008 9:13 pm 
Golden Horn/Snowy Lakes
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Opus - Thanks for saving the larch for another week!   agree.gif Glad I didn't miss them.  When Trail Pair, Bad Dogs and I did that trail before (aka "noisy hikers") we didn't even make it to Snowy Lakes!  Too much snow!  Nice to see what it looks like - gorgeous pics.  s.d.

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Go Jo
of the lykkens



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
Posts: 2257 | TRs | Pics
Location: Around The Bend
Go Jo
of the lykkens
PostSun Sep 28, 2008 10:04 pm 
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Opus wrote:
Glowing tent
Glowing tent

Thanks for the image I will use all week in my mental get away moments...
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loper
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Joined: 11 Aug 2007
Posts: 449 | TRs | Pics
Location: seeking the sun
loper
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 6:34 am 
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Great pictures as usual!  What a gorgeous area even if the larches are still green! up.gif
Was good to see you all up there!

On Golden Horn it looks like you went up the gully that we went down.  We came up the other side of the summit block and threw a rope over the summit to belay one of our guys up and then rappelled off the side you came up.  Without a rope I would not have attempted the final 20 feet.

As for Tower, I turned back at the second gully while my party continued on the (as E put it) 'Interesting" route up.  Note, on Tower, the Becky description is the most accurate as far as we could tell.  The Summit Routes picture I believe is incorrect.

What a great area!  Thanks again for the pictures and tr!
L
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TrailPair
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Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 1700 | TRs | Pics

TrailPair
Member
PostMon Sep 29, 2008 7:05 am 
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Last year the larch were near their peak on this date! What happened??? Anyway, it was a nice trip with a fun scramble. Here are a few of our photos:
Note: in the Golden Horn summit photos, K is in the lower left, not lower right (for scale)
Opus and the Bad Dogs  at  Cutthroat Pass
Opus and the Bad Dogs  at  Cutthroat Pass
Looking back on Snowy Lakes from shoulder of Golden Horn
Looking back on Snowy Lakes from shoulder of Golden Horn
Bob almost to the ridge
Bob almost to the ridge
David and Joanna
David and Joanna
Opus and Bad Dog gain the ridge
Opus and Bad Dog gain the ridge
Bob and Yumi went up the left hand gully
Bob and Yumi went up the left hand gully
Golden Horn summit, K in lower right of photo for scale.
Golden Horn summit, K in lower right of photo for scale.
K and David crossed over from right hand gully to join Bob and Yumi
K and David crossed over from right hand gully to join Bob and Yumi
David and K,  the highest we could get
David and K,  the highest we could get
Bad Dogs at sunset
Bad Dogs at sunset

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3499 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostTue Sep 30, 2008 8:27 pm 
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There is one thing I forgot to mention in the report.  We were planning to make a side trip to look for Snowdog's missing camera near Cutthroat pass but didn't have time.  If anyone is going to be camped up there in the near future it would be a worthy side trip.  She can fill in better details on where it may be, but in a nutshell it is somewhere on the scree slope near the top of the ridge to the NW, by a big black square rock outcrop on the ridge crest.  Gray oval camera case.
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Trevor
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Joined: 31 Jan 2004
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Location: Edmonds, WA
Trevor
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PostWed Oct 01, 2008 4:19 pm 
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Definitely high on my larch list, hopefully weather will permit me including it this year.

I like the night shots. up.gif

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Trevor Anderson Photography
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Golden Horn but green larches, 9.27-28.2008
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