Goat Marsh, Goat Mountain (St Helens)

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Goat Marsh, Goat Mountain (St Helens)

Post by Chip Down » November 3rd, 2019, 6:48 pm

I was aware there's a shorter easier way up Goat Mountain, but to do the whole thing from Goat Marsh is only about the equivalent of a Devil's Rest, so I decided to start from Road 8123 and follow the SE ridge up, along a satellite mountain next to Goat, or maybe it's considered part of Goat.

It was quite steep in spots, but never scary. Brush wasn't too bad, just a minor annoyance. Reached the high point on the Goat satellite and started dropping into the saddle headed towards Goat. At first it was easy open forest, until I came to a rocky prominence on the ridgecrest. An easy scramble put me at the top, where I aborted. The distance/elevation wasn't a problem, but I could see that the south ridge of Goat wasn't as distinct as I imagined it would be. In person, that side of Goat appeared amorphous, brushy, no fun at all, not enough reward to suffer the ascent.

On the way back, I took a spur ridge headed north. I had noticed it earlier, and made note that I should avoid accidentally following it down instead of the east ridge. But with time on my hands, I wanted to see if it would continue to be as open and distinct as it was at the top. It didn't, so I turned back, ascended to my high point, and down the east ridge.

I didn't make great time on my descent. It was steep and brushy, and I probably moved about as slow as I did going up. I went too low on the ridge (too far south and east) and ran into a creek in a gully. I knew I was off route, but not quite sure where I was. I wasn't too worried. You literally can't get lost here, road 81 and 8123 wrap around the mountain. Even so, it felt a bit spooky as I wandered around, and I was relieved when I hit a faint trail which took me to Kalama ski trail, which I followed back to the marsh and then road 8123, where I had parked.

Weather was amazing. Poking around the marsh/lakes, I wore a short-sleeved tee shirt, even when sedentary, even when the breeze picked up. Only in the shade was it a little chilly.
Attachments
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Starting to question whether my turnaround point was that far west. May have been the next high point to the east.
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Off to a good start, looking across at Goat Mtn, with Goat Marsh below.
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Lower left: Goat Marsh. Upper right: Crescent Ridge. Straight ahead: No name, been there, not a lot of fun, but okay if you like that sort of thing.
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High point. Nice spot, but too many trees.
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At my turnaround point looking over at Goat Mountain.
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The lake south of Goat Marsh, where I was semi lost.
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Goat Mountain from Goat Marsh.
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It must have been a beautiful day on St Helens.
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A Halloween leftover. I dressed as Grendel and gave out fun-size bottles of mead.

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acorn woodpecker
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Re: Goat Marsh, Goat Mountain (St Helens)

Post by acorn woodpecker » November 4th, 2019, 2:34 pm

You picked a good day to go up there. Attaining Goat from the east is committing (exposed 4th class) and not easily reversed. I did a clockwise loop starting roughly from where you did and descended due north off the summit (atrocious brush) in July 2017. Took all day. That beargrass ridge on the easternmost point you reached is great, despite the trees. Try the south ridge up that point some time. Has a steep finish!

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Don Nelsen
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Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Goat Marsh, Goat Mountain (St Helens)

Post by Don Nelsen » November 4th, 2019, 5:11 pm

Nice TR and pics. Thanks for the TR. That's an adventurous route you tried! There are at least six bumps on that SE side, not sure which one you did, or did you follow that whole ridge?
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Goat Marsh, Goat Mountain (St Helens)

Post by Chip Down » November 4th, 2019, 8:45 pm

acorn woodpecker wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 2:34 pm
You picked a good day to go up there. Attaining Goat from the east is committing (exposed 4th class) and not easily reversed. I did a clockwise loop starting roughly from where you did and descended due north off the summit (atrocious brush) in July 2017. Took all day. That beargrass ridge on the easternmost point you reached is great, despite the trees. Try the south ridge up that point some time. Has a steep finish!
I was thinking about walking the road to the north side (I've been as far as the elaborate new equestrian bridge) and then bushwhacking, or following what looks like a road remnant on GE. From your description, I'm glad I didn't. Still, curious to see where that road goes.
Don Nelsen wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 5:11 pm
Nice TR and pics. Thanks for the TR. That's an adventurous route you tried! There are at least six bumps on that SE side, not sure which one you did, or did you follow that whole ridge?
Was going to follow the ridge. Funny, the map I posted made it look like such a well-defined ridge, but from my turnaround point (see pic) it looked as if I was looking across a chasm over to Goat Mtn. Funny how sometimes terrain doesn't look quite the way it does on the map, but that's part of the fun I suppose.

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