Tower Mountain & Golden Horn

Tower Mountain shares a ridge with nearby Golden Horn. As evident from its name the peak's rock has a striking golden color as well as beautiful golden larches during the fall. This mountain offers great views of the Pasayten Wilderness, the Washington Pass area and the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

getting there

Drive SR 20 to Rainy Pass (4,900 ft) or to Forest Road 400 and the Cutthroat Pass trailhead (4,500 ft).

Approach

Alternative #1

Hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from Rainy Pass, through Cutthroat and Granite Passes and past Tower Mountain to 6,300 ft. Turn right and ascend to Snowy Lakes and good campsites at 6,700 ft.

Alternative #2

Hike the Cutthroat Pass Trail to its intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at 6,800 ft. Turn right and continue north on the PCT. Hike through Granite Pass and past Tower Mountain to 6,300 ft. Turn right and ascend towards Snowy Lakes and good campsites at 6,700 ft.

Ascent

Tower Mountain and Golden Horn may be climbed in either order.  Just be sure to stay high in the Snowy Lakes basin when traveling from one to the other.

Tower Mountain (8,444 ft)

Ascend to the notch in the west ridge of Tower Mountain. Scramble towards the west face until a traverse leads to a narrow gully marked by a gendarme on its left. Scramble this gully to a notch in the ridge and then follow a ramp system in a broad gully. When the gully narrows, climb a smooth slab and then onto a ledge that leads to the ridge. Climb over blocks and a short chimney to a corner and then more block to the summit.

Golden Horn (8,366 ft)

Hike to Snowy Lakes at 6,700 ft and continue roughly northwest towards Golden Horn. Ascend a gully and talus to near the summit.  Class 3 scrambling leads to the summit.

Notes

  • Not recommended for large parties over 6 because of rockfall danger. Groups of 6 or more should split up and climb separate peaks.
  • Most climbers who tackle the long approach climb both peaks
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 5
  • Length: 25.0 mi
  • 8,444 ft
Map
  • USGS Washington Pass
  • Green Trails Washington Pass No. 50
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
Activities

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