The name "Goat Citadel" brings to mind, well, nothing really. Nobody really knows much about this peak in the Goat Rocks
area of Washington except those that pass it on their way to Gilbert Peak
via Cispus Basin or those that look south from Big Horn
and wonder what the thing is on the ridge over to Gilbert. Perhaps this looked like the kind of place goats would congregate, but, I think goats are probably smart enough not to want to bother with this loose pile of crumbly choss. Regardless of any of that, Goat Citadel is a prominent block of rock along the crest of the Goat Rocks situated perfect between Big Horn and Gilbert looking from the south like a high walled cone of basalt. From the north, it still looks like a cone but a messier one with spires sticking out of it. Up close, it’s more complex but it does have one breach in it that would not be dead vertical or overhung that allows climbers to pretty easily access its summit.
The elevation is not exactly known and I've used an average of several sources (two summit parties' findings, topo map and various publications). It's between the 8000 and 8040 topo line and I believe my figure is fairly accurate.
Few people have taken the time to bother with this peak. Beckey doesn’t mention it in his Cascade Alpine Guide. The only prior confirmed summit I know of was Karl Helser
and Deb Hill about a month before I did it. Klenke has mentioned a relative of John Roper may have scrambled it. Peakbagger.com notes
Andy Dewey also claims to have climbed it. If one has the stones to deal with loose ledges with exposure, it could be scrambled. It would go as mostly 4th class with one or two low fifth class moves. Best to protect it but even if you want to try to scramble this one, wear a helmet. This thing just wants to spit rocks on top of you. The summit though is roomy with amazing views from Adams to Rainier and all Goat Rocky points between. The Stuart Range and Nelson Ridge/Mt. Aix are prominent as well.
As one of the obvious peaks on the Goat Rocks crest, it’s hard to believe more is not out there about this one. Perhaps because it’s not the highest on the ridge, or because it’s not a county high point like Big Horn, it doesn’t get much respect. Or it could be the amazingly crappy quality of the rock. Either way, it’s out there now.
There are two approaches, either from the west or the east. Each is ok and you pick what you want to deal with – crappy rock on a shorter approach, or, easy hiking/class 2 rock but more miles. I come out with 14.5 miles round trip via Cispus Basin with 4200 ft elevation gain. For the Conrad Meadows approach, I come up with 18.6 miles roundtrip and about 4500 feet elevation gain.
The shorter approach is from Cispus Basin/Snowgrass Flats and is from the west. See Klenke’s Getting There section of his Gilbert Peak page
The longer approach is the eastern one via Conrad Meadows but it’s the one I would probably recommend since I’ve done the Cispus Basin approach twice and decided I’d rather deal with easier miles versus the feeling of creeping over BB’s laying on steep angled concrete.
To get to the Conrad Meadows trailhead, drive US-12 east of White Pass about 18 miles to S. Tieton Road. Don’t be confused by the first Tieton Road turnoff you come to after White Pass, this is the second one. It’s about ¼ mile before (or west of) Hause Creek Campground. Go south on S. Tieton Road 4.5 miles and turn left on Road 1000. Stay on this road about 14 miles to its end at the trailhead. There are several forks, follow the signs to Conrad Meadows. At Conrad Meadows it appears the road doesn’t end but rest assured, the parking area is the one next to the large horse camp where there is a toilet and sign. If you go past this, there is a sign saying the road is closed. If you go past THAT, you’ll learn .1 miles later the road really is closed and there are signs saying go back and park where you were told to.
Red TapeNorthwest Forest Pass
required to park at either trailhead.
Self-issued Wilderness Permit required to be filled out and carried on your person as well. Station for this is shortly into the hike.
When To Climb
Probably June to October/November depending on snow levels. The Conrad Meadows Trailhead is at about 4000 feet so some years it might be July until it’s melted out. Generally though this area is sufficiently east of the Cascades crest that it’s open much earlier than the Cascades trailheads.
There are two obvious spots for camping for the eastern Conrad Meadows approach. The first is Surprise Lake. It’s 5.2 miles from the trailhead on Trail 1120 with about 1200 feet elevation gain to the lake where there are spots all over.
The other camping spot is higher up at Warm Lake which is what I would recommend unless the weather is bad (more exposed up there). Warm Lake is about 6.7 miles from the trailhead or 1.5 miles past Surprise Lake with about 2400 feet of gain from the trailhead (or another 1200 from Surprise Lake). Abundant spots to camp at Warm Lake too although only maybe about 5 are sheltered.
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
10600 N.E. 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682
24-Hour Recording: 360-891-5009
Packwood Ranger District (360-494-5515) is located on Highway 12, Packwood, WA 98361
Cowlitz Valley Ranger District (360-497-1100) is located at 10024 Highway 12, P.O. Box 670, Randle, WA 98377-9105
Wenatchee National Forest, Naches Ranger Station, 10237 Highway 12, Naches, WA 98937, 509-653-1400
Naches Ranger District (509) 653-2205