Goddard Canyon

30 Jul - 6 Aug 2011 - by Linda Sun

I've always wanted to climb Goddard, but I'm not sure we can climb over Lamarck Col in a day with a heavy pack. So when Judy suggested that we go in from the west side via Florence Lake, I'm in.

Day 1: We arrived at the trailhead at Florence Lake, around 11am. As we were packing, thunder and lightning started. Interesting day to start an 8-day trip. The lady at the store said the ferry can't be run until the storm passes because it's too dangerous. Sure enough, I got hit by a lightning while standing in the door way of the store. That was scary. Eventually the storm reduced to a drizzle, and we were ferried over around 2pm. We started hiking with hails on the ground. Only after a few hours, a second thunderstorm started, and it got us pretty wet. We camped about 6 miles in.

Day 2: We started hiking around 8am, with the clouds gathering quickly. After three hours of hiking, a thunderstorm started again. We learned our lesson from the previous day, and we immediately set up our tent and took a nap. Rain stopped around 3pm, and we hiked a couple more hours. We hiked a total of 10 miles before we camped around 9,500 feet in Goddard canyon. There were lots of waterfalls, pretty trails, and a couple of interesting creek crossings.

Day 3: Another 3.5 hours of hiking got us to Martha Lake, where we'd spend the next three nights. There was still floating ice in the lake, but we were able to get water. Itching for peaks, I took off to climb Reinstein. I was racing against the clouds again, but it never rained that day. Weather was finally getting better. I went from the east side of Martha Lake, and came back via the west side. The east side was longer, and the west side had snow; it took about the same effort. It was snow-covered all the way to Reinstein Pass, then I followed the 3rd class northeast ridge to the summit. The start of the ridge was about 50 feet below the pass on the north side, a bit steep and loose for about 200 feet, then it was all solid and fun. Roundtrip from Martha Lake took about 3.5 hours.

Day 4: We started around 6:30am for Goddard. We went east from Martha Lake, stayed left of the notch, over talus and snow fields. We first reached the tarn at 11,960 feet. From there, we went north, and stayed left of Lake 12240. To reach the southwest ridge of Goddard, we had to go northwest, climb a bit of snow, then over some steep scree/talus. I brought my ice axe, but snow was soft enough for Harry with trekking poles, and the run-out was good. The southwest ridge was tedious: a huge pile of rubble. The short 3rd class between the south and the north summits was kind of fun. Harry was very happy to have reached his objective for the trip. We summited at 11am, left around 11:30am, and came back to camp at 2:30pm.

Day 5: I started around 6:15am, and went east from Martha Lake, following the previous day's footsteps. I got to the saddle east of tarn 11960 around 8:45am. From there, I went southeast, skirting the west side of lakes 11818, over the next ridge, and climbed the northwest slope of Scylla. On the way back, I was able to hop over stones between the 11818 lakes, saving some distance. By now the sun cups were soft, and it was very tiring to walk over them. I summited around 11:45am, back to camp around 3:45pm.

Day 6:Harry and I left camp at 6:30am again. We hiked 2.5 hours around peak 12434 until we could see closely at McGee. I took a REALLY LONG look at the south slope and chickened out. I couldn't figure out how this ice-filled steep loose gully could be class 2. We went back to camp, and hiked back to where JMT and Goddard Canyon meet.

Day 7: From the bridge, I went west on the JMT for about 0.1 mile, until I could cross over a log the creek that drains Lake 10280. Then I went up west along the creek. The first 600 feet of gain or so was very brushy. Ugly. Then it widened somewhat, and I reached over the notch around 9,800 feet. From there it was easy terrain to the lake. From the lake, I went northwest to the northeast ridge of Henry, and followed the ridge to the summit. 4 hours up, 2 hours 45 min down. Then we hiked 2.5 hours back to our first day's camp.

Day 8: We got up early, hiked 6.5 miles, caught the 9am ferry, and drove home.

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