To begin the climb up Del Campo Peak, head north around the edge of Foggy Lake at the top of Gothic Basin. To get into the basin follow the Weden Creek Trail. After crossing an easy boulder field and rounding a small pond on a climbers path, you will begin to climb up the side of Del Campo. For the first 1/2 or 3/4 of a mile the trail follows easy paths through a vegetation filled hillside.
At the end of the first hill, climb through the boulder field to a small notch that will be obvious. From here I was able to locate a few cairns as a general guideline. These may not be reliable, but the notch will be easy to spot once onto the boulder field. Go 2/3 of the way up to the notch and go left to let the scrambling begin.
From here the route has up Del Campo Peak has abundant cairns most years. Though they may have vanished if you go early in the year. On this occasion I had to find my own route to the summit and got into a couple of scary situations. By going too far to the right at one point, I got stuck on a small vertical section. While I managed it, on the way down I found the actual route and it is far easier.
There is a lot of loose rock up on the Del Campo Peak so a helmet advised. My only complaint is that the summit was swarming with bugs and I had forgotten my bug spray. Still, the view made me not care for at least a few minutes while I signed the register and took some pictures.
Del Campo is a special place for me. The first time I decided to solo a peak, I put on a backpack, headed for Gothic Basin, and told myself I “am going to climb this peak”. It was an invigorating experience. It inspired me to take on some adventures I couldn’t imagine at the time. I’ve soloed so many peaks since that day, it feels unbelievable. I’ve climbed more volcanoes than I ever thought possible. After everything I’ve accomplished outdoors, this 6500-foot peak is what makes me tear up. I climbed it once, tried three more times in between (failed all of them), and finally, eight years later, made it to the top again.
The climb has not changed. Beginning from the permanent-ish snowfield on the lower part of the peak, head for the gap between the two summits. The first thing you will face on Del Campo is a very steep rock face. There is some (easy?) scrambling around class 3-4, depending on your tolerance for exposure. From here, you will head up a ridge and meet a few challenges.
There is a route to the left that has some significant exposure. There are places where a fall will be critical (see my video). If that is your thing, head left. You will not be disappointed. To the right along the first ridge is an (easier?) route that is still a lot of fun. Either way you go is steep and, in some places, the rock is very loose. Whichever way you choose, Del Campo will challenge you on your journey to the summit.
While it is certainly not the hardest day out (even compared to it’s neighbors), Del campo is a classic in the cascades. Climb it. Take it all in. Enjoy being on one of the challenges the Monte Cristo group has to offer. Then grow your skills with Columbia, Silver Tip, or Cadet. The Monte Cristo area is incredible. Enjoy it along your climbing journey. I know I have.