After going up the abandoned Green Mountain trail last weekend with Quark and JimK, I decided I was sufficiently beat up to step up the punishment by going up the Gothic Basin trail. For those of you that have never been up this trail, it starts off by following the Monte Cristo Road to the washed-out Twin Bridges and then following a trail built in the 80's that meanders up and down on the bank of the Sauk River before connecting with the old miners trail. Then it's serious switchbacks to timberline where the trail turns into a succession of creekbeds. I persuaded Larry, Neil and Chris into going along with me.
The trail along the river is cleared out and has one easy stream crossing. There are a couple of small walkaround blowdowns on the switchbacks and then you get into the fun part. There are several trees down once you start traversing and, of course, they are too low to crawl under and too high to step over. The gullys all have some snow in them that are easy to get around and the waterfall crossing is snow free.
Above the falls at 4000 ft, the snow becomes solid fairly quickly. We tried to stay on the trail route, but we ended up wasting half an hour at one spot trying to get over the last hump so we backtracked and took the early route straight up. When we came down via the trail, we found that we were only about 10 feet off.
We took a long break near the lake and admired the views into Monte Cristo and up to our destination of Gothic Peak.
We skirted the west side of the lake below Del Campo and just made a long ascending traverse up the snow to the beginning of the rock on the east ridge of Gothic Peak. Then it was a scramble the last couple of hundred feet.
Views from the top:
We headed for the east end of the lake down the snow
At the east end of the lake we picked up tracks of someone who knew their way down the trail. We found a few stretches of the trail melted out and soon we intersected our tracks where we turned around earlier.
We headed down quickly, motivated by the beer we stashed in the Sauk River.
Jeeezus Schroder...Going to have to get this one in. My brother and I tried to go up to the summit a couple of times, but couldn't find the a good way up. So, it looks like you head toward the notch from the Del Campo side...We too may have to stash some beer on a trip like this...
If you come into the basin on the snow route you end up at a small tarn on the shoulder of Del Campo. From here the most direct route is to drop down on talus to the lake shore and traverse to the right onto the snow and then just head directly for the east (left) side of the summit rock. If you come up the trail into the lake basin it's shortest just to head from the lake outlet to the summit block.
Here's another photo - a small pano of Vesper to Del Campo
Thanks for the excellent trip report. What a great, clear day.
Looks like a quite a bit of snow still up there in the basin. Looks tempting to maybe get up there next weekend for an overnight, popping up to Gothic and Del Campo plus some other wanderings in the basin. Hmm, wish I was there today....
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