Gothic Basin has been on my list for awhile, so Emma and I headed up today to check it out. The first 3+ miles are snow-free and in pretty good shape, relatively speaking. I knew the basin itself was supposed to be beautiful, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are also great views from the trail on your way up.
The trail was covered in snow by approx 3.5 miles/~4000 ft elevation, at which point I put on microspikes over my trail runners. Emma was wearing mountaineering boots and never needed additional traction.
At around 4 miles/~4500 ft we spent a bit of time debating whether we should take a steep and direct route to the basin, or follow the summer route. We ended up sticking with the summer route and it was just fine.
The basin is still almost completely covered in snow. Easy traveling, except for the occasional creek running under the snow… My dog actually slipped through a snow bridge at one point. She’s small-ish and she was on leash so I was able to quickly haul her out, but it was still a scary moment that made us even more cautious of potentially rotten snow.
I hiked with Emma on the way up, and then we parted ways around mile 6 and I ran the rest of the way down. Emma is training for Rainier, so she had a fully loaded pack and took her time on the descent. (This is standard for us – we like it because we get to chat and hang out on the ascent, and then we each get some “me time” on the way back to our cars. As busy working moms, we value both the companionship and the solitude. 🙂 )