My parents "discovered" the North Cascades in the late 1970's. Previous to that, they had done almost all of their mountain adventuring in the Olympic Mountains. One of the first areas of the Cascades that they explored was the accessible Monte Cristo area on the western edge of the range. Trips into this area were a turning point in their mountain adventuring. Captivated by the sea of rugged and glaciated summits to the north and east, their focus shifted away from the Olympics and towards the unexplored summits of the North Cascades. Subsequent trips probed deeper and deeper into the range, and they spent the next five years — until I was born in 1983 — tromping about the North Cascades whenever they could. Now, I find myself following, continuing, or crossing paths with the shadows of my parents' bootprints as I too explore the mountains that I have been born to love.
One of their first forays into the Monte Cristo area was in 1978 to climb Del Campo Peak. Later that summer they returned to enjoy an overnight camp as well as climb Gothic Peak on the other side of the basin. Even their dog Zeke came along. I had a day to spare, so I though it would be fun to make a day trip into this area, climb both peaks, and try to take some photos from the same spots my parents had stood 34 years previous.
L: My mom on summit of Del Campo. This is marked in the photo book as my parents first roped rock climb.
(My dad's notes from the climb suggest they climbed a route on the south face that might not have been listed in the guide: "Beckey lists 3 South Face climbs, we found a 4th. Climb to the top of the small snowfield on the South Face, gain rock face and ascend 50-100' where a steep gully (obvious) can be seen heading to the right. At top of gully rock steepens. Find chimney on right of gully (piton with carabiner in rock on left. Piton in rock on face to the right of the chimney). Climb 10' up outside on right to gain chimney. Then climb to the ridge. Turn left. 100' scramble to the summit.")
R: Sometime in the last 34 years someone added a rock to the summit rocks.
L: My dad gazing over at Gothic Peak, during the ascent of Del Campo. (probably July, judging by the snowcover)
R: I managed to achieve practically the same perspective for this one. Even the trees are still there, although a bit windblown.
L: My mom and dog Zeke on summit of Gothic Peak. (probably August, judging by the snowcover)
R: I identified this spot by the rocks on the right of the photo. A bit more snow on my trip than on my parents' trip 34 years earlier.
L: Gothic Peak above my parents' camp at Foggy Lake. (probably August, judging by the snowcover)
R: Wow, lots more snow on my trip, the camp is buried!
L: Del Campo above my parents' camp at Foggy Lake. (probably August, judging by the snowcover)
R: A bit different perspective since I never traversed directly under Del Campo. The camp spot is buried in snow on my trip.
L: Sheep Gap Mountain from Gothic basin.
R: 34 years later.
Map & Overlays
According to my GPS tracker, the entire trip (Barlow Pass to Gothic Basin, climb of Gothic Peak, climb of Del Campo Peak, and back to Barlow Pass) was 11.3 miles and 7100 ft cumulative elevation gain/loss. It took me 8 hours. This included a 30 minute lunch of Gothic Peak and a hour long nap on Del Campo Peak. I biked the 1 mile section of road between the parking area at Barlow Pass and the Weden Creek / Gothic Basin trailhead.
Gothic Peak and Del Campo Peak are pretty straightforward snow and Class 3 scrambles when climbed out of Gothic Basin. From Foggy Lake, both took less than 1 hour each to ascend and about half the time to descend because of all the snow. I focused my photography mainly on comparison shots with my parents' old photographs, so I didn't take many route photos. Below is a topo map and a couple of photos showing my general route.
Map of GPS track.
Gothic Peak from Foggy Lake.
Del Campo Peak from Foggy Lake.
Yep, Billy came along.
Later in the season Gothic Peak sometimes has a tricky moat when transitioning between the snow and rock near the summit block. For me, the moat was pretty nonexistent, but Billy it was rather ginormous.
Billy summits a featureless needle-like spire that is the highest point on Del Campo Peak.
More on my website
This trip report is copied from my website, which has several other climbing trip reports and photographs from the North Cascades and elsewhere: www.stephabegg.com.