Ascent of Gothic Peak on 2015-01-03

Climber: Chad Straub

Others in Party:Colin Tasker
Date:Saturday, January 3, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Gothic Peak
    Elevation:6213 ft / 1893 m

Ascent Trip Report

It was lightly snowing when we pulled up to the Monte Cristo trailhead around midnight. There was slush and ice on the mountain loop a few miles before deer creek, and about 2 inches of snow at Barlow pass. After 4 hours of sleep, we started down the trail at 5 am, uncertain of the snow conditions that lied ahead.

The trail to Gothic Basin was well packed until the first gully crossing about a mile beyond the Monte Cristo Trail. We put on snowshoes on the other side of the gully and continued climbing as the peaks to the east began to appear above the tree tops. Evidence of the trail could be seen occasionally through a foot of fresh powder. Sheep Gap Mountain came into view ahead as we crested the ridge into Gothic Basin. Clouds flowed through the peaks surrounding Monte Cristo and Sloan Peak appeared in the saddle between Sheep Mountain and Gemini Peak. We were moving very slow, though it didn't seem like it - in 7 hours we had traveled only 4 miles and gained less than 3000 feet.

Gothic Peak was shrouded in thin fog when we entered the basin. From the frozen shores of Foggy Lake we ascended the mellow east face, connecting with the SE ridge. I became disoriented a few times, uncertain of the angle of the slope ahead of me in the whiteout. Just before the lake disappeared below us, we heard voices and noticed two people following our path. We didn't see them again, but noticed their tennis shoe tracks on our return - wow!

The west side of the ridge was super steep near the top. As we traded snowshoes and poles for crampons and ice axes the clouds surrounding us dissipated, and the Cascades appeared. With renewed energy we kicked up to the summit block then carefully scrambled the last 40 feet of rock and loose snow. The wind was mild, so we took tons of pictures and enjoyed a lengthy summit stay.

We rapped down to the snow and made a long glissade into Gothic Basin before pulling the snowshoes back out. All of the hard work we put in on the ascent payed off - in just over 3 hours we descended what had taken us nearly 11 hours to climb. Someone decided to break the register box and tear down some postings at the Gothic Basin Trailhead. Brilliant.

10.5 miles round trip
5000' elevation gain
15 hours trailer to trailer
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5052 ft / 1538 m
    Extra Gain:600 ft / 182 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.6 mi / 17.1 km
    Route:SE Ridge
    Trailhead:Barlow Pass  2361 ft / 719 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Breezy, Low Clouds
Low clouds until 200' below summit, then clear 360 views
Ascent Statistics
    Time:10 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 20 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Chad Straub
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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