Golden Horn is the final summit in a sequence of peaks that includes four ranked and one unranked summit. One-way mileage and elevation gain is measured from the summit of Vermilion Peak. Round-trip mileage and elevation gain assumes completion of the entire sequence. When viewed from Ice Lake, Pt. 13,230 may be mistaken for the Golden Horn summit. That point actually obscures the true summit until you either proceed further up toward Pilot Knob or toward Fuller Lake.
As previously mentioned on the Vermilion route description, an effort to descend the NE ridge of Vermilion and head directly to Golden Horn will be somewhat thwarted by cliffs you will not be able to detect from the Vermilion summit. We chose to follow the route suggested by G&M which took us back from the summit of Vermilion back down to the Vermilion-Fuller saddle. At the saddle, drop down to the north less than 100 feet in elevation to a shelf/bench that contours almost all the way over to the Vermilion-Golden Horn saddle. This shelf is located a little below the precipitous NE cliffs of Vermilion and the talus that accumulates directly below the cliffs. The shelf averages about 13,450 ft. in elevation. Footing tends to be on smaller loose rock to begin with that becomes typical talus. If you're lucky or timed things right, a snowfield can be found along this shelf that often persists all the way through July and even into August. The snow will greatly expedite the traverse and remove the tedium. Here's where an ice axe is useful for some security.
Once across the shelf, intersect the Vermilion-Golden Horn saddle at 13,380 ft. Absorb the spectacular view of Golden Horn ahead. Continue NE along the ridge heading toward the Golden Horn summit, but at some point, veer off onto the SE face to pick up the standard ascent route coming in from Ice Lake. Finishing the 400 foot ascent will go rapidly. It's mostly walk-up terrain with the Class 2+ work arriving as you near the main summit. Climbers will be on either good rock or shelves with gravel gullies in between. Scramble on to the summit, passing a large cleft that frames out a nice view of Pilot Knob. This overall gradual ascent is quite a contrast to the near vertical north face of the peak. The view from the summit of Pilot Knob is both spectacular and informative, if you have not climbed it yet.
Golden Horn may also be climbed from the ridge that connects it to Pilot Knob. That connecting ridge is mostly a Class 2 walk. The challenge in making that connection is the traverse under the Pilot Knob summit ridge. The traverse is slow and difficult on Class 2+ unstable rock. Tim & Shaun Cooney did this traverse in 2014 by contouring below the summit ridge of Pilot Knob on the east side. It was slow and tedious but doable. The west side of Pilot Knob under the summit ridge is probably similar.
For another perspective of climbing some of the peaks in this sequence, check out Kevin Bakers report on 14ers.com. See link below.
For the descent and return to the Lake Hope TH, descend back down Golden Horn as you came and then drop into the basin WSW of the summit. Descend on good scree to about 13,300 ft. and a shelf, clearly visible on the USGS map. From there, we descended mostly on more scree toward the Poverty Gulch area. Our route took us through another somewhat level area filled with lush grass that offered a brief break for feet tired of all the rock. We then continued on down on scree and rock into Poverty Gulch. We were able to descend about 2,000 vertical feet in about 25 minutes. The loose scree can be great for descending but a nemesis for ascending. We followed the gulch back until we intersected the Lake Hope trail, then concluded the hike back to the TH. The full 3,500 ft. descent took about an hour. The entire circuit took us 8 hours.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.