Ascent of Goat Mountain on 2010-08-09

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Ken Jones
Date:Monday, August 9, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Goat Mountain
    Elevation:6600 ft / 2011 m

Ascent Trip Report

Head to the Mount Daniel TH. Hike the trail about 1.8 miles and 1300' up to the signed left turn at the Lake Michael Trail junction at about 4650'. Also known as the Trail Creek trail. Hike the Trail Creek Trail about 3.2 miles and you'll have a little bit of up and down but after 3.2 miles you will hit the Lake Michael Trail at a signed junction circa 4250' and turn L. Head up as it gets a bit steeper and gains 1000 feet or so. Then it drops another 500 to get around a rib. Then back up to about 5000'. Here we probed for off-trail camps but couldn't anything good so we headed to Lake Michael. We found some not perfectly flat sites by the outlet which sufficed. There was running water in a few other places but in late season I would not be confident of finding water from any source other than Lake Michael or its outlet.

From Lake Michael we worked E through forest until passing over a bit of scree at the toe of the steep buttress that is makes up the E wall around the lake. Once past this we swam through wet brush for a while and went over huge flat slabs. Finally we worked past the brush and onto some large rocks. Then in the drainage and up a steep scree slope featuring a wet mossy finish. Above this we went up scree again and parked at a bench on the right for a break at about 6000'. From here we ascended a streak of brown scree that curved leftward and then we had to drop a bit as we did some sidehilling on steep ground. At this point, we could see that the crux of our route was getting around or above the leftmost of the two rock gendarmes in the saddle SW of Goat. We didn't like the drop onto the E side and on the W it got real steep quickly. But we elected to do some flat traversing of ledges near two downward curving snags. From here we found some ledge continuations or you could take some class 3/4 up rocks and/or possibly class 3 with krumholtz veggie belays. You can pick from some different route options here but the idea generally is that you need to work left and get above the steep rocky face. Once into the trees above you'll find the terrain eases up and the last couple hundred feet to the summit is no problem. Find a cairn and a single square rock near the S end of the summit area. Another area further ENE was lower and adjoined by two scary looking semi-detached pillars.

We then reversed our up route for the first 600' vertical and so we traversed the ledge to get back to our unpleasant sidehilling. It was down the scree chute and back to our pleasant rest bench at 6000'. Feeling a desire to try an unexplored scree route down I had us heading across across this grassy bench and over W to the next minor drainage which is just E of the E wall of the lake cirque. We did some sidehilling talus and worked towards the small bump on the ridge that marked the head of the scree gully that we had seen from the lake side. As we traversed towards this it got steeper but never horrible. I finally hit the tail end of the large S bump and had to drop down about ten feet to the notch S of the last ridge bump. From here I worked down and left towards a tree just below the bump. Once below the tree it was just your standard heinous talus slog. No scree for easy scree skiing as I had hoped; instead it was pretty much just talus. But this route was fairly direct and I think probably saved us a bit of time. Less brush. I wouldn't particularly recommend it, but I don't think the travel in the drainage that we went up was any better. Not a route for a large party and it works better if you are already camped at Lake Michael whereas if you are dayhiking the trail you'd have to travel a bit of extra distance past Klenke's gully to get to Lake Michael and this talus field. By the way, that would be a long dayhike, the off-trail travel is not fast and you are tacking that off-trail onto a approach of about 18 miles and 4000' gross gain (some ups and downs).

From there we packed up and just did the slog out. It was tedious but basically uneventful and we made it back over Snoqualmie Pass before they closed the damn interstate for blasting. Hooray.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5750 ft / 1751 m
    Elevation Loss:5750 ft / 1751 m
    Distance:20 mi / 32.2 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Mostly sunny where we were; clouds to W
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4550 ft / 1386 m
    Extra Loss:1300 ft / 396 m
    Distance:10.2 mi / 16.4 km
    Route:Lake Michael - NW Gully
    Trailhead:Cathedral Pass TH  3350 ft / 1021 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:4450 ft / 1355 m
    Extra Gain:1200 ft / 365 m
    Distance:9.8 mi / 15.8 km
    Route:Lake Michael - Talus Direct
    Trailhead:Cathedral Pass TH  3350 ft / 1021 m

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