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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Tower Mountain & Golden Horn

A successful climb of Golden Horn but not Tower Mountain

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The PCT is clear leading up to the Snow Lakes. The off trail travel from Snow Lakes to Tower Mountain & Golden Horn is also free from hazards. There's no snow, the Lakes have plenty of water for drinking, and the Larches haven't really begun to turn yet


2019-09-07GoldenHornClimb (10).JPGEncouraged by the forecasted afternoon thunder storms, our team of 3 (Alex, Justin, & Savanna) started up the PCT from Rainy Pass Saturday, at 5:30am. With the pleasant temperatures & sunny weather we made Cutthroat Pass at 7:45am and reached Upper Snow Lakes at 10:00am. 

Here we found a wonderful ‘Lakeview’ campsite (Savanna insisted), set up camp, ate, & continued onward to Golden Horn at 10:45am.



Generally, our path consisted of traveled talus with the occasional kitty litter. At around 7,400’ we gained and followed the ridge, subjecting ourselves to a small amount of PUDs (Pointless Ups and Downs). In hindsight, it would likely be more efficient to traverse steadily a few hundred feet below the ridge until reaching the left and final gully. At 12:15pm we met a team of 2 at the base of the final 10m climb to the summit. Here we dropped packs & used a 30m half rope (doubled up) plus a #1 cam to bring us on summit at 12:30pm. We were back down to our packs and hiking down by 1:00pm. 1.jpg

A casual jaunt down the slope led us back to camp at 2:00pm; a little late for a push to Tower Mountain with the impending storms beginning to brew. We occupied ourselves with a relaxing nap by the lake, blueberry harvesting, and of course, food!

 At around 6:00pm the first rains started. Savanna retreated to her tent while Alex and I crawled inside our bivys below his tarp setup for its inaugural test run. It worked! Sort of…What didn’t work was the running water that came flowing underneath the tarp to our bivys accompanied by the sound of Savanna’s laughter at two grown men shrieking in the darkness.What did work really well was the amazing views an A-Frame tarp setup provides for the lightening lightshow that started around 8:00pm & returned for several sessions throughout the night. This was really a highlight of the trip for me. 

 Sunday, 6:00am I rolled over to Alex, “Sleep in?” & he happily agreed that the scrambling up Tower Mountain on wet rock to absent views didn’t inspire us. We slept in awhile longer, enjoying oatmeal with alpine blueberries and camp cleanup sometime in-between, hitting the trail out at 8:45am. In classic, late season, PNW fashion the rains rejoined us for the final 2 hours of the hike out until we reached the cars at 1:00pm. 2019-09-07GoldenHornClimb (35).JPG