A traverse of the Goodsirs via Moose Creek – August 1-4, 2015
Special thanks to David Jones for providing us with alternate approach beta, and the late Rick Collier who suggested the approach years ago on his ascent of nearby Sentry Peak. Once his Rockies guidebooks are out in the stores, they are sure to be a hot selling item, and the Book of Lies can be useful for making little paper airplanes, and launching them towards a campfire – party idea folks involving a drink or two!
This approach will save you hours of approach time and energy. If you use this approach, contribute some work into the trail, like others before you have in order to keep in manageable. The trail is in need of a considerable amount of flagging tape, and some work with a machete would be beneficial to its future. It is currently maintained by horse-back with a chainsaw, meaning most of the logs across the trail have been cut.
August 1, 2015 we parked at 545076E 5662437N (1482m). Follow the old road that will quickly turn into a trail. In the spring this trail is easily followed as it is well worn. In late summer, when you would attempt the Goodsirs, the ground vegetation is very thick and the trail is challenging to find. A slow and steady face will help keep in the well-worn “rut” that has existed for many years. Half the trail is in the forest and is easily followed, the other half is in thick grass, fern, cow parsnip, fireweed, etc, up to 7 feet in height.
First creek crossing 545229E 5667258N is easily crossed on logs 50m upstream. 5-10minutes after the crossing, the trail takes a sharp 90 degree turn to the left (immediately after a couple large trees were cut from across the trail) and switchbacks uphill. We missed this part and spent an hour messing around. The trail is now flagged in this area, and the other fork of the trail “decommissioned” with a bunch of branches.
Second creek crossing is reached after about 4 hours, 544355E 5669058N is not very wide, but has no logs or stepping stones. Best to bring a pair of Crocs, etc to share amongst the group and leave them at the far side. Follow the trail until it ends randomly in the upper valley, approx. 8.7km and 544241E 5669387N. David suggested going to the Sentry-Zinc Col. We unintentionally ended higher on the ridge 2705m 542737E 5670935N. This ultimately made it possible for us to summit all 3 Goodsirs in a day, and would work equally well if a party wanted to split up the climbing over 2 days. Attaining this high point is strenuous, longer than it looks, soft, loose, and a grind. If you complain, you should turn around and go do the Ice River approach. So shut-up and suck it up, you’re climbing the Goodsirs after all!
From the other side of the highpoint, lose approx. 300m elevation until is it possible to traverse below cliffs on the South Goodsir Tower.
This traverse is fairly horizontal, with minimal gain/loss and will take 1-2 hours to reach the spot where we excavated a new tent platform. We camped on the SW ridge of the South Tower (one of the ascent/descent options) at 2424m 540871E 5671506N. Approach took us 8 hours. A small water seepage was found 5 minutes back from the bivy site in the dry 2015 summer.
To access Goodsirs North/Centre, lose elevation down the ridge and traverse easily into the proper drainage at treeline. To access Goodsir South, go up from the tent.
We undertook a traverse of all 3 peaks. Centre Peak was mostly traversed on the South face to gain the Centre/South col. Getting from Centre to South took us 8 hours of continuous effort including rapelling twice, downclimbing, negotiating notches, scrambling and technical climbing to 5.7.
The first steep looking part of the ridge was avoided by going right into gully feature for 2 full pitches before regaining the ridge via loose exposed rock. The second steep part is about 10m tall and may appear impassable. There is a bomber crack hidden on the North side to build an anchor. From the anchor, move out right over very exposed ground. Use a solid side pull and lean way out to reach a 1” edge that you can use to place a piece of large pro to protect the crux. My partner used a large blue hex, a 2.5-3” cam might also work, but the hex felt solid. A few moves of 5.7 layback will have you wanting more, but all you get is 4th and easy 5th class choss to the summit.
Summiting all 3 peaks and descending South Tower to 3400m took us 21 hours. There is a rock wall/hole dug in the scree at 3400m on the protected side of the ridge. We did not encounter ANY natural rock fall. The only rock fall was from rope drag, I got hit in the face and left a trail of blood. While attempting to regain the ridge, both my footholds decided to go for a ride and gave my partner below a good scare. Manage your ropes carefully for belays!!!
August 3rd saw us resting.
August 4th we hiked out. I attempted Sentry Peak and got chased away by a nearby thunderstorm less than 100m from the summit. A good climber’s scramble on decent rock, and a possible consolation prize for the unfortunate.
There was no summit register on the North Tower as of August 2015. Whomever goes up next, can you please carry one up?
Hope this helps future parties in their quest to climb the Goodsirs. The rock is not the worst that I’ve seen in the Rockies, but it is quite chossy. And ask yourself: Why do I want to climb the Goodsirs? Because they’re the tallest in the area? Because they’re part of a meaningless list of mountains over 11000 feet? Because you’re a climber scoping out the descent from the North Face route? Because you’re running out of mountains to climb? Give it some thought and good luck…
Maurice "Maury" Perreault