Goodhope Towers (5680ft) - 24Oct2022
|Goodhope Tower Summit|
Three main towers make up the Goodhope Towers, and my goal was to ascend the tallest one. I was unaware which tower was the highest as the topo maps had 3 points with the same contour lines. During the approach, it became apparent the middle tower was the high point. It was shoulder season with snow down to 1200ft, and I was confident the snow was stable enough for an early season couloir climb. The easiest and most direct way to climb this peak would be from the Reed Lakes trailhead accessing the peak from the west just south of Lower Reed Lake. With the trailhead already closed and wanting to fill my couloir needs, I ascended from the Mint Trail.
|Spearmint, Troublemint, and Triplemint.|
|The endless boulder field|
I was stoked to be back here; this was the first time I saw the Mint Peaks; they sure are pointy. Writing about this peak after I have done three winter climbs back here is quite comedic. During this climb, the temperatures were near 0 degrees the entire time, and during my winter ascents, I was rewarded with temperatures in the teens.
|Bear tracks heading up the valley.|
On October 24th, I was heading down the trail at 7am with no actual beta of the peak. From the few pictures, I could find from afar, bringing a rope for a rappel would be a good idea. The approach down the trail was made with zero floatation, so it was a quick jaunt 5 miles to the turn-off. I was expecting a short section of bushwhacking, but with it being late Fall, all of the bushes were dead and quickly turned into boulder roulette.
|Middle Tower from the couloir|
|Halfway up the couloir|
The boulder hopping up to the valley seemed to go on endlessly; there was a solid coating of snow on each of the boulders, so I proceeded slowly with rock crevasses eager to suck me in. Once in the valley, you would expect to be cruising but nope, more boulders. Luckily, gaining more elevation, I could pop the snowshoes on and start moving towards the couloir. I noticed the recent bear activity heading up the valley and was surprised they were not sleeping yet. I suppose maybe they wanted to snack on one last victim before hibernating.
|East Tower |
The couloir ascended one thousand feet, splitting the Middle and East Towers. I snowshoed up the couloir till it became too steep and swapped over to crampons. Getting up to 5500ft would be easy technical-wise, but I was still determining the final 100ft. I proceeded up the East ridge of the middle tower, which began as steep snow and continued to steepen. I was thankful for bringing 2 alpine axes to plunge into the snow and kick step in. I thoroughly enjoy this type of climbing for some reason. With the recent temperature swings, an excellent freeze-thaw cycle made for great snow climbing. The summit block appeared after gaining a flat spot on the ridge. Was a nice place to soak up the sun before the final scramble.
The class 5 pitch is super exposed, but the rock makes for a fantastic climb. There was a giant crack to jam my fists in, and great food holds for the front points of my crampons. The final moves involved my swinging my left leg high over a ledge the size of a saddle. From here, I could stand up slowly and make my final steps to the summit. This ledge was super exposed; it towered well above the peak's south face.
|Looking towards the Mint Peaks|
Views from the summit were insane; all of the Mint Peaks were in sight, including Denali, Skybuster, and many more Chugach Mountains. I was stoked because this was another day I wasn't expecting much, but the peak goodness was delivered. A short 20m rappel off the summit and climbing the steep snow brought me back to easy terrain. The day was longer than planned, I was expecting an 8-hour day, but it turned into almost 12. This was mainly because the boulder field and the summit block were more involved than anticipated.
Back on the Mint trail after scrambling the large boulder field was relieving. I was back on the trail right as the last light was coming to an end and dawned my headlamp for the hike out. I was stoked about the summit, but during the scramble, I wasn't aware my glove had a hole on my left middle fingertip, leading to some minor frostbite. This wasn't serious, but I lost the feeling for almost a month.
Thanks for the write up and picturesReplyDelete