JAN
14
2017

GOAT Mountain (4778) Route: Snow-covered logging roads (snowshoe)

Category: Washington      Trip Report #: 237
Partners: Gabriel Deal, Craig Johnson
Rock Type: Peridotite, Dunite
Summit Elev: 4,778 ft

A great snowshoe off the beaten track to great summit views of the surrounding snowy Cascades.

Enjoying a bluebird winter day on the summit of Goat Mountain.

INTRO

There are over ten Goat Mountains in Washington state, and even more if you count the adjectified White, Blue, Nanny, Billy, Big, and Little Goat Mountains. This trip report pertains to the Goat Mountain located just north of HWY 20 off of the Baker Lake Road. The summit is 4000 feet above the valley floor, making the mountain worthy of a full-day outing. In the winter, the climb is mostly a pleasant slog on snow-covered logging roads, until the final 800 feet climb up a forested ridge to the summit. The summit has spectacular views: to the S and 4000 feet below, the Skagit River Valley; to the W, the Olympic Range and the Pacific Ocean; to the N, the Twin Sisters, Mount Baker, and Mt. Shuksan; to the E, Snowfield, Pickets, Eldorado, Forbidden, Boston, Johannesburg, Glacier Peak, White Chuck, Sloan, Whitehorse, Three Fingers, and behind these a vast sea of Cascades summits. This is a great snowshoe (or ski) to do in the winter if you want to get off the beaten track, when road access into most areas is snow-covered, or when there is avalanche danger up high.  

Joining me on this trip (rather, I joined them) were Gabriel Deal and Craig Johnson. Gabriel and I were on snowshoes, while Craig was on skis. With most of the day being on well-graded logging roads, skis are a great way to go (we were about equal pace on the 4-hour ascent, while on the descent Craig made it to the car in about an hour and had time for a 2-hour nap before Gabriel and I arrived back at the car). It was a pleasant day of good exercise, great views, and excellent company. The following page gives a map (courtesy of Matt Burton's trip report from March 2012), our stats, and photos from this fun Saturday in the snowy Cascades.

MAP and STATS
(Map from Matt Burton's trip report (March 2012) on nwhikers.com.)


Total trip: ~12 miles, ~4000 ft gain/loss, ~8 hours (with breaks)
  • 7:55 AM : Sun rises
  • 8:04 AM : 860 FT : Park outside of gate at entrance to Gandy Creek Road across from Gandy Lake picnic area.
  • 11:49 AM : ~4000 FT : Exit logging road, get on ridge left of road and follow it WNW to summit.
  • 12:31-1:06PM : 4,778 FT : Goat Mountain summit
  • ~2:10 PM : 860 FT : Craig (on skis) gets back to car
  • 4:00 PM : 860 FT : Gabriel and Steph (on snowshoes) get back to car
  • 4:40 PM : Sun sets

PHOTOS

The gate at the entrance to Gandy Creek Road. We parked right before this and began hiking up the snowy road....4000 vertical feet to go to the summit.
Elk prints?
Cool ice formations around branches.
For the first couple of miles, the snow was consolidated enough that Gabriel and I did not use our snowshoes.
Pleasant travel on the snowy logging roads. 
Pleasant travel on the snowy logging roads.
Ripples in the snow.
About 800 vertical feet below the summit (at about 4000' elevation) we left the logging road and headed left onto the timbered ridge leading towards the summit.
The final slopes to the summit.
Gabriel arriving on the summit. Skagit River Valley 4000 feet below and sea of Cascades to the east.
Craig and Gabriel on the summit. Mount Baker in distance.
A perplexing rut on the summit. The only explanation I could come up with was that it was formed by the wind. Skagit Valley below and Pacific Ocean in the distance. Not many places in this world where snowy mountains and vast ocean are in such close proximity.
Another photo of the perplexing (wind-formed?) rut on the summit. 
Gabriel on the summit, gazing at the sea of Cascades to the east. 
Looking towards the Skagit River Valley 4000 feet below. The bump in the foreground is called "Billy the Kid" and could be combined with a climb of Goat.
Shuksan. The summit pyramid is holding a lot of snow, probably a bit deep and steep for safety.
Black and white. 
Baker. Looking very climbable (and a great ski).
Twin Sisters.
Forbidden, Buckner, Boston, Sahale.
Pickets.