West Goat Peak is the highest Peak in the Anaconda Pintler Widerness standing at 10,793 feet. It is a non technical Peak from the East, South,and West sides, which offers Class 2 and Class 3 Routes, but the North Face of the Peak has about 1,700+ feet of Class 5 climbing on poor unstable rock!
It also share's most of it's altitude with East Goat Peak 10,399 feet. This Peak has been climbed in all four seasons and offers a more remote experiance in the Pintlers leaving most of the few people behind, and the trails that do lead up towards the Peak are seldom traveled by humans.
The area has mostly Elk, Goat, Sheep and Black Bear and are seen now and then if your looking. In 2002 the local paper here printed a series of sightings of Wolves, that once again frequent the Wilderness.
-From Anaconda Take Hwy 1 East going about 4 miles, then you take the Wisdom turnoff to Hyw 43 which is a bumpy paved road for about 20 miles, and then the road will end at the Big Hole River.
-Take a right towards Wisdom, drive about 8 miles, then you will want to take a right on to the MUD LAKE road.
-Once on the Mud Lake road you will be going North on a dirt road for about 5 miles, than you will want to take the FIRST very sharp right after the only Summer Ranch House on the road.
-You are now traveling East for about 3 more miles to the VERY HARD to find Trail Head 129, on your Pintler Map at (N45*54.382-----W113*18.674) and at an elevation of 6,430 feet.
(HINT:) If you find a Trailhead sign and a form box your not at the right Trailhead.)
-You will need to be looking really hard and driving slow or your going to miss it. It's on the LEFT hand side of the road, and looks like a faint game trail. Once on the trail pay attention, it is easy to get off with the many, many game trails found here.
Route to Lost Lakes from Trail 129/128 Junction.
-Once your going good on the trail it will gain altitude and hangs to the right (NORTH). When you go as far as you can uphill on Trail 129,(about 5 miles), there will be a sign which states that the trail is turned into now Trail 128 at an elevation of 8,689 feet, The trail your on will go back down the other side of the canyon, which will hit the road you are parked on a few miles up from your parked truck.(optional descent route.)
-You want to leave the trail here and now head due West along the somewhat of a ridge line in the timber, it will break above treeline, where you will run into a 200 foot section of Class 3 rock, you can bypass the snow by hanging to the right.
-As soon as you hit the top of the rock section, you will be stepping in Lower Lost Lake at an elevation of 9,560 feet, 100 feet furthur and you will see Upper Lost Lake, at an elavation around 9,570 feet.
-From Upper Lost Lake you can take three routes.--
Route 1--Hang to the far right (North) and follow the North East Ridge up to the summit which offers class 2/3 Scrambling.
- In (April)Spring this is the route I usually take due to the cornice overhang on the face.
Route 2--You can go up the East Face which is fun in late spring, the route has a low incline of 40 degrees, until the last 100 feet than it steepens to about 55 or so degrees, but only for a short distance, and usually the self belay technique with your axe in the stake postion will do for safety, NOTE: until early June there is a cornice overhang on the East Face, which pushes you to the right while your climbing the face.
Route 3--Hang to the Left (South East Ridge) and hit the Saddle between East Goat and West Goat at, an elevation of 10,316 feet. It is a Class 2/3 to the Saddle and then a Class 2 up to the summit.
When To Climb
For most casual Peak Baggers the best months are from mid July to early September and the Lost Lake route being the easiest on the Peak. (round trip about 17+ miles, 10 / 13 hours.)
For those who are skilled with a Ice Axe and Crampons the Peak is good to climb in early season and offers some nice moderate snow climbing on the East Face of the Peak, (late April to mid June) also Snowshoes will be needed for the trek in until late May to early June.
This Peak again can be done in one day.
The winter trip I took was 6 days solo to the summit and back at a casual pace.
Also in winter have a snowmoblile shuttle your gear to Trailhead 129 or you will be walking for two days to get to the Trailhead.
Camping and Restrictions
The only camping restrictions are no camp fires are allowed within 1/4 mile from the Upper and Lower Lost Lakes.
This is also a pristine Wilderness area and "Leave No Trace" ethics must be applied.
There is a free card you feel out at most, but not at all Trailheads, it is free, simple and list some of the regulations within the wilderness on the back of the card. (Not found and Trailhead 129.)
Also note the Big Hole Valley offers some of the coldest temps, in the lower 48 with lows getting to -45 below zero on harsh winter years.
And your chances of running into some help in winter are slim after you leave the Road.
On some Signs,Trailheads,Maps and Books the spelling is Pintlar the correct spelling is Pintler, for who the Wilderness was named after, (Charles Pintler.)
It's not for sure, but from my reading of Charles Pintler he was one of the first white men to explore most of the Big Hole Valley, and has blazed a few of the trails that are still used today.