Mt Goethe via Alpine Col

26-27 Sep 2003 - by Stephane Mouradian (view roster page)

This trip was co-lead by Dee Booth and Stephane Mouradian. The other five participants were Rick Booth, Roger Detloff, Arun Mahajan, Jim Edmondson, Linda Sun. This trip was following the route described in 2001 by Peter Maxwell in his trip report Goethe via a knife edge ridge.

We left the trail head at 8am and arrived on the North side of Goethe Lake at 12:50pm. This side of the lake offers plenty of quality camping sites. As it was still early, we decided to drop our packs and try for the peak. We left at 1:20pm and took one hour to go around the bouldery West side of Goethe Lake. We started heading up toward Alpine Col but around 2:45pm, we realized we would not be back before 9pm, should we continue. We decided to save the summit for the next day as originally planned. For the return around Goethe lake, we went around the East side which is shorter from the Alpine Col chute. This did not save time and still took one hour as the boulders tend to be larger than on the West side. Dee and Rick scouted a route high above the lake but ended up having to drop down to lake.

On Sunday morning, we left camp at 5:30 am and went around the West side of Goethe by headlamp, which was not difficult. The temperature was above freezing and higher than it had been at the trailhead the day before. We headed up toward Alpine Col by staying on the right side of the chute. We found a fairly easy way along some slabs and reached Alpine Col at 7:25am. From this point, we traversed upward and aimed toward a prominent saddle on the ridge. From this point, we mostly followed the class 3 ridge, sometimes dropping either left or right to avoid impassable sections. As described by Peter, the ridge is so narrow in one section that one can literally have one foot on each side of the ridge. At one point, the ridge culminate in some spires which I mistakenly climb as I thought they might be the summit. The real summit is actually another 20 min further and it looks like a fairly round bump from the distance. We reached it at 9:55. For the way down, we debated coming down the class 2 route and staying above lake 11910 before reascending Alpine Col from the East side. We ended up staying below the ridge and used a scree/rock chute to come down from the ridge early rather than retrace our steps. There is always a risk to come down a different route without having scouted it first. Our scree/rock chute was not pleasant and I would recommend the next party to just follow the ridge to the Col. We did come down the Col the same way we went up at least. We were back to camp at 2:25pm and left camp at 3:10pm. (Dee recorded all the times by the way) We reached the trailhead at 6:45pm.

On a final note, it is possible to do the summit on the first day you hike in and this is how one could do it: It is a 6 hour hike to the South side of Goethe Lake and a 6 hour + round trip to the summit. This means one would have to leave the trailhead at 6am or earlier and could expect to get back to camp after summitting just before dark. It would be a long first day, especially considering a potentially short night before due to the drive. On the other hand, getting back home at 1:30am Sunday night is not perfect either :)


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