The "snow field" at the base of the route is just slick ice and dribbling ice-mud right now. Poor drought-ridden California. :( It's fine, but very slick, without crampons/ax if you pretend ice irregularities are rock-holds and jam between the ice/rock. My partner had crampons and seemed glad to have them.
At the moment approach snow path requires an ice axe and crampons, for majority of the folks. It is hard neve with some blue ice exposed in places. Was impossible to dagger in a nut tool. I did see a soloist get up it with two rocks, but I wouldn't do it (in current conditions).
I did not find the 3rd (traverse left) pitch to be run-out or scary. There are a few moving hand holds when you step left (5.8) around the first corner (before the piton), so be careful choose ones that do not move. There is a good amount of gear to place on the traverse to make it relatively safe. Maybe pg13. Harder for the follower. Climbing is a pretty easy 5.9 face move left around the corner after the piton. So would advise stronger climber to follow, or lead with a pack.
Crux pitch was awesome. Looked hard, but was not bad. Link it with the chimney ahead, which is not a real chimney, and is fun.
Quality: This is a fantastic route. For the most part, the rock is super solid. There are a couple pitches (4 and 7, i think) that have some loose rock, but the climbing is relatively easy (5.4ish) and it is easy to avoid pulling or stepping on anything suspect. We climbed the route in two parties of two, and never knocked anything down on anyone.
Pitch 2: This pitch is super fun, but you'll definately want a #3. We brought a #3.5, and while it is heavy, i was glad to have it.
3rd Pitch Traverse: The ST guidebook shows traversing straight out left, around a run-out corner, past an "ugly chimney" to a piton, and then doing a 5.9 move around another corner. We found that there was good gear going around the first corner (couple of small nuts). Once at the piton, we climbed straight up for maybe another 15 feet on a thinly featured face. The face has numerous thin cracks and small gear options. About 15 feet or so above the piton, there is a perfect 2" horizontal handcrack going around the corner to the left. Here we placed a #2. Around the corner there are small but good footholds and solid underclings, making for a really cool couple of moves, probably in the 5.8-5.9 range. we belayed just a few feet above those moves in an alcove. This version was pretty fun and not that hard.
Pitch 5/Crux Pitch: The ST guide says this pitch is only 70 or so feet, so we combined it with the "fun 5.8 chimney" pitch above. The 5.9 thin fingers section is legit. Totally all there, but committing. Solid 5.9. The chimney above was fun and super protectable.
Pitches 8-9: The ST guide for these two pitches is a bit hard to follow, and we never found a "tunnel through." Getting up to pitch 8, you move right around an obvious tower to a ledge with talus. There are a number of belay options, and i believe the ST guide recomends belaying from the talus ledge. From here, there is an obvious chimney that splits a fairly steep clean wall (as an alternative to the chimney, my partner climbed a series of cracks to the left, probably 5.8-8.9). Perhaps 50 or so feet up, a beautiful laser cut off-set hand crack heads out left, with the left side of the crack extending out a couple inches further than the right side. The rock is perfect and the wall is near verticle with no face features. The crack looks a lot harder than it is because you end up laying it back, with feet pressing agaist the off-set left side. This section is maybe only another 30 ft or so, but it is spectacular. The pitch then follows a series of other medium sized cracks, more or less on the ridge line of the North Butt, until you reach an obvious ledge only 30 or so feet from the summit. My partner and i agreed that this pitch was possibly the funnest pitch on the route. Summit pitch heads left up come large blocks, pulling a super sweet 5.9 move and then a mantle to put you on top.
Decent: Sandy cross-country trail. The decent alone makes this route worth doing.
I haven't done many alpine climbs like this, but I had a great time on this route 8-20-09. At a casual pace we spent about 3 hours getting to the base from the car, and maybe 6 hours climbing. We were fortunate to have a perfect day, with good confidence in the weather. I was also personally fortunate to have a friend climb this with me who has far more skill than this climb required. Luckily we didn't have to draw on that experience, the day went super smooth!
The climbing was overall pretty easy with moments of fun 5.9 on nice solid granite. We were definately paying close attention not to disturb loose rock along the entire route. I would not want to climb this with a party above, particularly in the middle of the mountain.
I didn't lead the P3 traverse, so I can't say what that's like, but it wasn't hard to follow. Finding it and downclimbing to it gets your attention, but my partner found a good nut placement right above the loose flakes described by Supertopo, before the fixed pin. Any fall on a traverse is likely to prevent some issues though, don't fall here. I felt the pitch ratings were true to their ratings.
The views as expected are incredible from the summit, and along the Bishop Pass Trail. The climb on snow wasn't quite steep or long enough to be dangerous in my opinion.
Thanks to supertopo for the place to research and get psyched on Sierra Climbing!
Climbed this route on 08/08/09, in about 11 hours car-to-car. With a 70m rope, you can easily link the route in 6 pitches, as opposed to the 9 pitches shown on the supertopo. We linked pitches 1 and 2, linked pitches 5,6, and 7 into 2 pitches, and linked pitches 8 and 9. This route has a little bit of everything, including splitter cracks, a heady traverse, awkward chimneys, easy 5th class looseness, and a killer crux pitch. Look out for the fixed pin on the 3rd pitch traverse, this is the mental crux of the route. We skipped the 8th pitch chimney (there were at least 3 chimneys heading off the "talus covered ledge"). As an alternative, head off the ledge on a right leaning crack that meets up with the middle chimney; at the chimney, trend back towards the summit arete on a nice left leaning crack that goes at about 5.9. Some cool bouldery moves will lead you to the summit from here. Really excellent way to finish a great route.
I found it a bit broken and would recomend Merriam for a route of better quality similar length and asthetics. Still worth doing however, but if this and keeler both get three starst than I would argue for this to be two, just because I like steep sustained walls with clean cracks. Be warned the crux pitch has a death pillar on it as of a few years ago.
I really enjoyed the traverse pitch and it gives a classic picture opportunity.
Aesthetics: Mt. Goode is adventure climbing. Part of the appeal is that the mountain is stunningly beautiful as you do the long hike in toward it. The main buttress that the route follows is visible from miles away and stands high and proud on the horizon. The climb itself seemed isolated and wild, giving it real adventurous feeling. For a bonus, the walk out follows one of the prettiest trails anywhere.
Beta: The long hike in (and chance of thunderstorms) requires an early start. The Supertopo guide was spot on for getting us through the early pitches. There is a great traverse on pitch 3 that drops into a chimney with an exciting stem move. It looks really weird and then goes easily when you commit. Though the guide called it run out, the traverse seemed to have good pro. Additionally, there are two fun crack sections on pitches 1 and 4. Lots of loose rock makes this climb adventurous. The loose sections are easy, though, and there is always something good to grab if you pay attention. If you belay someone doing pitch 6, be prepared to duck!
Route finding was less clear near the top. Near the top of pitch 7, move out of the rotten gully and traverse 15' right around the main buttress to get to the belay. This traverse is clearly shown on the topo, but when you are cruising up the gully, you can easily miss the exit. From that belay, go up the corner on the far left side through the obvious chimney. The last pitch begins with a few moves left and then just follows the easiest line up.
Overall, I recommend this wild, backcountry climb. It isn't too hard for the grade, there is good pro everywhere you need it and no waiting in line, either.
The route as seen from the final approach to the snowfield.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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