After getting on some easier alpine terrain on Mt Pugh and rock climbing in Leavenworth successfully after Eric’s accident it was time to do something longer and more challenging. Seth and I arrived at about 6:45am at Barlow Pass on September 26. Our goal was to do a double summit cay and scramble Gothic Peak (class 2/3) and Del Campo (class 3/4).

From Barlow Pass we walked down the old gated road for about a mile until reaching Weden Creek Trail just before the road becomes flooded by the river (hence why  the road is now closed to cars) There was another trial turn off from the road earlier, but it just paraells the road for a bit before dumping you back on it as we discovered. The trek is pretty steep, but the trail is in good condition. We crossed several creeks with pretty waterfalls and were treated with some lovely views when we broke above treeline. There were a few class 2 steps along the way as well over a slab in the middle of the trail.

We made good time to the clearing that is Gothic Basin; a splendid oasis of tarns, boulders and mountains looming above. From here there are several trails  that one can take. We headed on the left fork first for a bit before figuring out that we were heading toward Lewis Peak. We turned back and took the right fork which lead over some talus and past tarns to Foggy Lake. Gothic Peak and Del Campo care clearly visible as you approach and the way is somewhat marked by carins.

Gothic Peak is to the left when you reach the lake. Donning our helmets, we decided to tackle this mountain first since it was shorter and easier. We followed the booth path up a steep slope to gain the Southeast Ridge. The terrain on the ridge was mostly class 2 with some class three sections. The talus was surprisingly sound and easy to walk on. There is also a section of slabs which can easily be crossed like I did, or one could elect to travel on the talus slightly below it like Seth elected to do.

The low angle edge reaches steeper terrain just below of the summit. We scrambled up the steeper, but good quality rock to the summit block. The two peaks were supposed to be rarely done, but a number of parties where on the summit admiring the gorgeous views of the volcanoes and Mountain Loop Peaks. I released some of Eric’s ashes into the winds. After admiring the view we studied the path we would take on Del Campo… it looked like the best plan would be to descend back to the lake and go up the Southwest Ridge. There are other variations to the scramble, but this option seemed like the safest.

We descending easily and followed well worn climbers trail along to East Shore of Foggy Lake. The trail leads up to a bench on the lower slope of Del Campo and then onto Talus. Once again we were amazed at how sound the rock was. They chucks of stone barely shifted under our feet and it was like climbing stairs. We ascended to the obvious notch between the South Buttress and the summit of Del Campo Peak. This is where the true scrambling again, exposed steep moves lead up to the notch. The rock was off good quality and handholds plentiful, but a far would result in severe injury for sure. From the notch we followed a boot path over alpine grasses and then some more steep rock on the opposite side of the notch. There was one other party on the summit admiring a different perspective of the surrounding peaks. The area certainly is spectacular and it is amazing that such rugged wilderness is so close to the cities. Eric summited this peak too… I freed a second batch of ashes.

The way down the tedious do to the technical nature of the rock, but not impossibly hard. At the lake Seth filmed another another one of my Ice Lake challenges, but refused to join me in the freezing cold water. Then we headed back to the trail head… I expected my toes to shamsh painfully against the tip of my mountaineering boots on the steep way down, but for some reason the pain held off until the final mile. What a perfect day in the alpine: 12 miles and 7,000+ feet total gain!

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