Ascent of Goat Mountain on 2016-06-12

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Craig Willis
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, June 12, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Goat Mountain
    Elevation:6600 ft / 2011 m

Ascent Trip Report

Note: the mileages and time statistics for this report are for the entire trip, including Davis Peak, while the elevation gain/loss stats are broken down by peak.

Despite its location very close to the Salmon La Sac road in the popular Alpine Lakes Wilderness, the massif of Goat Mountain is hard to reach and has a remote feeling. No trails reach the summit, and most routes involve lots of up-and-down cross-country travel.

Craig and I decided to try the Davis Peak approach after reading Adam Walker's trip report for the route from a few days before. The trip is technically easy, but it makes for a long day--I believe the most efficient way to Goat via Davis Peak is a 15-mile total hike with 6000 feet of overall gain due to the ups and downs. We made a couple of routefinding errors that tacked on another 500 feet or so. Unless you are super fit, I would allow about 11-12 hours for the trip.

The trail up to the Davis Peak lookout was fine except for a few trees down. A big snowbank in a col masked the spot where the trail heads slightly downhill into the basin below the peak, and, like Adam, to us the good footpath that continues uphill seemed like the logical route. We climbed a bit on this false trail before realizing our error and descending.

The trail passes a stone shelter at the lookout site and continues pretty much all the way to Davis Peak Central--just the highest rocks require a short scramble. My sight level seemed to indicate this peak is a bit lower than Davis Peak North.

From Davis Peak Central we descended west (steep class 3 scramble) and traversed talus and a short section of steep snow to the notch between the north and central peaks. Then a class 3 gully led down to where we could head north, hugging the cliff to our left. Then I made the biggest routefinding blunder of the day--mistakenly heading downhill towards Opal Lake on easy snow instead of making sure we first crossed a subsidiary ridge. I realized the error and we had to climb back up to the ridge and cross it--the detour is visible on the GPS track, don't follow that route.

The rest of the trip to Goat Mountain was mostly easy Class 2, mostly sidehilling, meadows, snow slopes, and open country. We did not have to do anything we considered bushwhacking. At the notch north of Peak 6359 you finally get a close view of Goat's summit and, foreshortened, it looks very intimidating. But you can drop down easily and stay high in the basin to the base of the scree slopes, and they are not nearly as bad as they look--the red streak has blocks of solid rock. The scree slopes leads to the ridgecrest just NE (right) of two craggy fins--turn left here up the slope for 250' to the summit.

We had good snow conditions (good for kicking steps and plunge-stepping) and pleasant partly-cloudy weather. Craig left a brand new register on the summit since Adam reported that there was none. Views were good for summits from Glacier to Adams. I aimed my sight level at the 6579-foot north peak and it was thankfully clearly lower.

The day was longer than we anticipated so on the way back we did not climb Davis Peak North, the highest summit of that peak complex. We didn't make any routefinding errors and overall were much more efficient returning to the car. It was nice to have mid-June daylight and not have to worry getting caught by nightfall.

Goat is perhaps one of the most annoying WA P2K peaks due to its long access, but the area is pretty and this trip provided us with a quality day in the mountains and a good workout.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1400 ft / 426 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1660 ft / 505 m
    Round-Trip Distance:15.6 mi / 25 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1180 ft / 359 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 500 ft / 152 m; Extra: 680 ft / 207m
    Loss on way in:680 ft / 207 m
    Distance:8.1 mi / 13 km
    Route:Traverse from Davis Pk
    Start Trailhead:Opal Lake valley  6100 ft / 1859 m
    Time:5 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:980 ft / 298 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 760 ft / 231 m; Extra: 220 ft / 67m
    Gain on way out:220 ft / 67 m
    Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route:Traverse to Davis Pk
    End Trailhead:5840 ft / 1780 m
    Time:4 Hours 50 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: 2016 - Goat

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Davis Peak Central2016-06-12 a4140 ft / 1262 m
2Goat Mountain2016-06-12 b1400 ft / 427 m
3Davis Peak2016-06-12 c956 ft / 291 m
Total Trip Gain: 6496 ft / 1980 m    Total Trip Loss: 6496 ft / 1980 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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