Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Tower Mountain & Golden Horn

Amazing views everywhere.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Loose.  The approaches to both climbs from the Snowy Lakes are direct but involve unpleasant stretches of loose talus and scree.

Our party of three planned to leave the Rainy Pass trailhead at 8:00 a.m. but that turned out to be the location and starting time of the 2017 Cutthroat Classic trail run.  After the last wave of runners took off we set out at 8:20 a.m.  Despite making a couple stops for layers and sunscreen we passed ten of the slower runners before reaching Cutthroat Pass.  We continued on and arrived at Lower Snowy Lake around noon.  We dropped our overnight gear and headed to Tower Mountain.

We followed the description for the standard route on SummitPost and looked for cairns.  The best path zigzags a bit and occasionally took some exploring to find.  The weather was perfect and the views from the summit were amazing.  The summit includes a huge cairn, apparently built over 100 years ago by the anonymous first ascensionists.  We reached the summit at 2:50 p.m. and our camp-to-camp time was 4:15.  The climb is directly visible from the Snowy Lakes: the next day we ran into several parties who told us that they enjoyed watching our ascent.

The next morning we set out for Golden Horn at 5:30 a.m. and generally followed the description in Paul Gehlsen's trip report. Our main deviation was to ascend the right gully about two-thirds of the way up before we traversed into the left gully.  We protected the short pitch of rock to the summit with one cam, one nut, and the existing rappel anchor, which had two fresh-looking slings.  We reached the summit at 7:45 a.m. and our camp-to-camp time was 3:45.

After packing up camp we cruised down Highway PCT and were back at the trailhead at 1:00 p.m.