Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Goat Island Mountain

A great early season snow scramble offering many opportunities for learning. The White River Road had just opened (the day before, 5/27) with the Fryingpan Creek Trailhead having an unusual surplus of parking spots (the Memorial Day weekend and poor weather might have helped with this ;).

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The White River entrance restrooms have suffered a direct hit by a fallen tree (not to worry, porta potties are standing by).  Much snow at the Fryingpan Creek Trailhead (and adjacent trail), yet there were substantial portions of open trail over to the base of the East ridge of Goat Island Mountain.  This ridge was snow free to ~4900, compact snow to ~5900’, then a slushy base overlaid by soggy fresh snow on the traverse and on up to the summit (7288’).  We did not use snowshoes on the ascent, but did use them from the summit down to ~6300’.

A surprisingly good outing in spite of a poor forecast (originally calling for a wet day), yet it was mostly dry until just after arriving at the cars (2:30pm).  A great spot for reviewing snow skills/hazards was provided by this spot at 46.88503° N, 121.63194° W:


We reviewed avalanche promoting features associated with the bowl above, then continued to the ridge above with an ascending traverse (the boot track on the left in the photo, below the trees) before zigzagging up to the crest.  On descent some of us enjoyed a short (~150’ vertical) glissade in this area (to the right of the boot track).  We bundled up on the summit and took advantage of unexpectedly calm conditions for a short lunch and to discuss how the remaining gear in our packs might (or might not) facilitate an unplanned bivy (due to injury).

While descending the east ridge we took advantage of the lack of snow below 4900’ for some navigation practice.  Each of our 3 students took a turn using their map/compass to follow the brushy crest for ~300’ vertical back to the Wonderland Trail (one student’s turn was complicated by some of their equipment with magnetic qualities, a good time to make this discovery).

A great day in the mountains on this ~3600’ gain/~7 mile trip with a total time of just under 8 hours (5 hours for the ascent, 3 hours for the descent).  Photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen here.