Going for the Gold

Trip Stats:
Location
North Cascades, Washington
Elevation Gain
10,285 feet
Distance
41 miles
Days Out
3
Rating
Must Go!
Who Came
Eric Darsow and I
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After having a few mountaineering attempts that week I decided it was time to stay low in the mountains, with a clear day I figured Gold Mountain would be a good choice. Fortunately I was right on this call, although sadly we did not make the summit. I took the bus to Arlington which Chris then drove us to Darrington which is right next to Gold Mountain. The road started off with semi deep snow (certainly too much for my mom's car). As we got higher up on the road the snow got deeper which at times we started loosing speed. Chris was persistent with wanting to get as far up the road as possible. Pretty soon there was a tree in the road which I figured would be the end of the line. Nope, sure enough Chris pulls out his chain saw and has me depressurize the tires so that going through the snow is better.
 

Praire Mountain from Gold Mountain
Prairie Mountain from the Road

Fallen Over Tree
Fallen Over Tree

Prairie Mountain Panorama
Prairie Mountain Panorama

After this we came across more trees which Chris sawed away, on the last fallen over tree the chain saw nearly ran out of gas but we got lucky and got though. Later on we got caught in some deep snow which Chris once again was persistent to drive up, so he would back up and ram in 6 or so inches, go back and ram the snow again. The only other person I could think of with that much persistence with driving up is my dad. Eventually we managed to make it though. I can guarantee that most people's car's would not have made it. Eventually when snow got to around 2.5-3 feet deep we finally had to start the walking.

Illabot Peaks
Illbiot Peaks

Looking towards Darrington
Looking Towards Darrington

After all the previous trips breaking trail was tiresome for even a flat road. All the fresh snow made all the difference in the world with difficulty. After a ways we decided to skip a few switch backs which had a few tough spots because we had to take off our snowshoes. Soon it was back to the road again. I'll admit after a while of trail breaking part of me wanted to not push on so hard, but I knew if I didn't there would be no way we would summit. When ever Chris would lead walking behind his steps was like resting, sometimes what I would do is have him break trail for a few minutes and then I would be able to for a while.

Trees on Prairie
Trees on Prairie Mountain

Mount Baker
Mount Baker

Animal Tracks
Animal Tracks

The atmosphere of the place never got above freezing and we rarely saw the sun. For most of the day we had little views due to tree cover and such. But after passing around a corner we were finally rewarded, which made the whole things certainly worth while.

Sloan Peak s Northwest Face
Sloan Peak's North West Face

The Great Cliff
A Big Cliff in the Mountain Loop Highway

White Chuck Mountain with Clouds
White Chuck Mountain with Clouds

Shadows over Mount Pugh
Shadows over Mount Pugh

Shuksan and Sauk Panorama
Mount Shuksan and Sauk Panorama

Jumbo Mountain
Jumbo Mountain

Mount Pugh during Winter
Mount Pugh Clearing Up

Alpenglow on Illabot Peaks
Alpenglow on Illbiot Peaks

Alpenglow on Prairie Mountain
Alpenglow on Prairie Mountain

Alpenglow on White Chuck
Alpenglow on White Chuck Mountain

Illabot Peaks during Sunset
A Nice Evening


After taking tons of photos it was 4:24 p.m. which we had to get down. We came very close to the height of the summit. On the way down we had some nice conversations, the sunset was quite nice which White Chuck Mountain which had been buried by clouds most of the day made a good appearance. Travel back down to the car was much easier. Chris drove me to Smokey Point which was out of his way, but was much appreciated. From here I took a few buses down to Lynnwood. It was another great and beautiful day to be out in the mountains.