|Page Type:||Trip Report|
|Lat/Lon:||48.92670°N / 121.6386°W|
|Date Climbed/Hiked:||Jun 30, 2019|
Goat Mountain rises in northern Washington State’s Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest five miles south of the Canadian border. It has two summits: the 6725 ft West Goat Mountain and the 6860 ft East Goat Mountain. The two summits are separated by a 6100 ft high saddle. A trail starts at an elevation of 2470 ft and goes to a spot 65 vertical feet below the West Summit. Reaching the true West Summit seems to require some degree of rock climbing.
From the top of Goat Mountain you will have great views of the nearby jagged mountains including the 10778 ft Mt. Baker and the 9131 ft Mt. Shuksan.
Trailhead Elevation: 2470 ft
End of Trail Elevation: 6660 ft
Roundtrip Hiking Distance: 8.7 miles
Sunday June 30, 2019
Mt. Baker was well visible from the vacation rental house that we had stayed at in Warnick, Washington. I took this picture when leaving the house at 4:45 a.m. (sunrise around 5:10)
Drove 18 miles or so on Route 542 to a dirt road named Hannegan Pass Road. The road had a fairly smooth surface and went into a tall pine forest which at that hour was rather dark. After 2.5 miles, I reached the signed trailhead for Goat Mountain. A couple of cars were there but I did not see any other hikers while going up the mountain.
Started the hike at 5:30 a.m. The trail made many switchbacks going up a slope in the dark forest.
As I went higher, I began to get through the dense canopy glimpses of what looked like a jagged snowy slope glowing under the rising sun across the valley. That was probably Mt. Shuksan. The slope that I was on, however, continued to remain in the shade.
At around 4200 ft elevation, the pine trees were replaced by a dense growth of bushes and shrubs that still blocked the view in all directions. I was up to 4700 ft elevation when the trees finally began to thin out and I was able to see Mt. Baker behind me.
At around 5150 ft, I reached the top of a broad ridgeline and finally went out of the shade. Great views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan appeared. There seemed to be a perfect viewpoint a short distance from the trail but that turned out to be a camp spot and a tent was there so, I continued a little farther up the trail where I stopped to drink water, apply sunscreen and take these pictures.
I was then going up the broad ridgetop which was grassy and had some dwarf trees. A couple of patches of snow appeared. I saw two middle aged ladies who had camped there and seemed to be getting ready for breakfast.
I soon found myself hiking directly up a small stream. I realized that I was off course. Could see the trail 100 vertical feet up the grassy slope. Footprints told me that other people had made the same mistake at that spot. Got myself to the trail which then traversed a steep grassy slope. I was glad no snow fields came to block the trail. Traversing icy snow on that slope could have been dangerous without equipment.
Between 5900 and 6200 ft, the trail went straight up the slope. I felt much more comfortable there than in Colorado where going up a similar steep slope at say 12000 ft elevation would have made me short of breath.
At 6250 ft, reached the top of the final ridgeline. The mountains to the north came to view. Followed the trail up the ridgetop.
At 8:45 a.m., I reached the end of the trail. In front of me, a wall dropped a few tens of feet to reach the base of the main summit which seemed to have nasty slopes. I had no desire to get myself involved with those slopes just to go 65 feet higher. I was actually happy that I had been able to climb 4190 ft in 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Sat there to eat and enjoy the views. To my surprise, I had cell phone connection. Took a couple of selfies and e-mailed them to my mom and brother who had gone along with other relatives to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus for vacation. I, of course, had been the antisocial one choosing to go to the mountains instead.
Views from the top.
Left at 9:20 a.m. going back down the trail. Made sure I went slow so that I would not bang my knees. From the top, the main summit had blocked my view north. A little down the trail, Canadian Border Peak, American Border Peak and Mt. Larrabee appeared.
Looking down the grassy slopes.
Another view of the border peaks.
Where the trail traversed the grassy slopes, I reached those ladies I had seen earlier who were then hiking to reach the top.
Could not get enough of the views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan.
Looking back at the two summits of Goat Mountain.
I then reached the view point where there had been a tent in the morning. That tent was gone. I sat there for a snack and to enjoy the views. As I got up to leave, I found human excrement not far from where I had sat. Gross!
Farther down, began running into people who were hiking up. In the pine forest.
Reached the car at 12:17 p.m.. was home by 1:00. Mt. Baker from the rental house’ porch.