Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Goat Mountain (from Bare Mountain)

A beautiful and seldom-visited upper mountain, with stunning panoramic views. However only recommended for those not prone to complaining.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • In this below average snow year, Lennox Creek was easily crossed at 2060'.  We didn't hit solid snow until 4300'.  More snow down low would make this a faster and more enjoyable trip.

Current road and route conditions made this a memorable and very long one-day adventure.   We were forewarned by USFS rangers of very deep water-filled potholes and a tree down at mile 22 of the North Fork Road, which they led me to believe was within a mile or so of the Bare Mountain trailhead.  I polled the group ahead of time about whether we should change destinations, but there was enthusiasm for attempting Goat Mountain as the first club-sponsored group since the online database was created.  The potholes were fairly continuous for 18 miles, and the road has substantially deteriorated in recent years, so that whereas prior trip reports indicated a driving time from North Bend of just over an hour, it now takes at least 1:30 not including multiple stops on the way in.  We lost time due to allowing Google Maps to take us on a gated dead-end on the logging road that parallels 5700 just to its west; I found prior TRs afterwards that warned about this.  Study your road maps ahead of time!  We had to probe the water-filled potholes, seen here from driver's perspective on the way out, to determine if we were willing to risk driving our vehicles through them.

North Fork potholes.jpg

I would not recommend this in a low-clearance vehicle unless you're looking to collect the insurance money.

We also stopped to do a little chainsaw cleanup work on the aforementioned tree, which a pirate road maintenance crew had already cleared, and which was actually more like 3 miles from the Bare Mountain trailhead.  Without their work, the extra road walk would have prevented us from summitting.   We also scouted a final washout area on Road 57 that we were able to negotiate without bottoming out, but that won't be possible if further erosion happens.

At this point after an initial meeting time of 6:30 in North Bend, we're getting our boots on at 9:15.  We planned to use Sue Shih's Peakbagger track as a guide.  We parked along the road where a spur drops to Lennox Creek.  Here the creek was forded at a shoal without any angst, slightly over knee deep in a few spots, but minimal current.  Earlier season with peak snowmelt would be a different story.  

Lennox Creek.jpg

At this point you must prepare yourself for a long stretch of time-consuming routefinding through mostly second growth with ample blueberry bushes, rarely thick enough to impede your progress, but slow going nonetheless.  The occasional old growth remains:

old growth.jpg

Find the "old" growth in the above photo

We finally hit solid snow at 4300' and the pace quickened and views rapidly improved.   One somewhat exposed narrow section (shown upon return) mandated ice axes, as did the final step up to the summit ridge.



near summit.jpg
We were unsure if we had enough day left to safely get off the mountain and out of the worst road sections before dark.  Thanks to some strong step-kickers and group decision to extend our turnaround time twice, we summitted to views of 4 volcanos and a commanding perspective towards the alpine lakes area at 4 p.m. 


Labeled panos courtesy of Rizka:

pano 1.jpg

pano 2.jpg

We enjoyed "pie in the sky" courtesy of Andy:


A summit treat more suitable for March 14th

A closer look reveals Andy to be a bargain shopper.

pie + Rainier.jpg

It tastes even better when you've earned it.

From there it was a bit over 4 hours of focused attention to get us back to the creek crossing at 8:30, and out the sketchy road sections before dark, with a long drive home still awaiting us.   We lugged snowshoes but didn't use them.   While I rated this marathon trip a 4 for views and camaraderie, I think we would all echo the sentiments of Fleetwood Mac: "Never goin' back again".