Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

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Don Nelsen
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Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by Don Nelsen » August 13th, 2020, 7:57 pm

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Above: The side of Goat Ridge I couldn't see from Angry Mt.

After seeing the very scenic Goat Ridge from Angry Mt. on my hike a couple of weeks ago, I decided to check out the other side. To say the least, it was spectacular!

Looking at the maps, I saw that a nice loop is possible with a side trip taking in a section of the PCT, getting very close to Old Snowy Mt.

Up at a very unaccustomed time, I was at the TH at the end of road 2150 by 9 AM and on the trail a few minutes later under heavy clouds and a 45 degree temperature. I took a pack this time and glad I did since I really needed my gloves as I got higher up. The temperature stayed in the forties all day with a stiff wind, especially up higher.

This trail system is very popular but all my encounters were pleasant and I was surprised by how many campers I saw. At least 30+ tents dotted the route and that’s only what I could see from the trail. I’m glad so many folks are getting out and having a good time in such beautiful scenery.

A few flower pics:
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As I approached the climber’s trail to Old Snowy, the summit of which not originally on my agenda, I could see people standing on top. If the rest of my planned route was as rocky and slow as the first half, I was pressing my luck getting back by dark. The peak looked formidable earlier on but as I drew nearer, not so much, so off I went. The climber’s trail is very good for such things and rises only 700’ vertical from the crest of the PCT. Very rocky, of course, but not too bad. The wind was biting and I barely had enough on to stay warm but it worked, and I got to see the rest of the Goat Rocks from a superb vantage point.

Old Snowy from the PCT:

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From the high point of the PCT:
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There are a couple of class two spots getting to the summit but easy enough.

This isn't as bad as it looks:
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From the summit:
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Looking towards Goat Ridge:
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Looking back::
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Rather than retrace my route on-trail I opted for a cross county route to regain the loop trail. Using the trail system to complete the loop would have been 4 miles and about 450’ of reclimb but it looked like I could do it with no reclimb in only about a mile. This turned out to work but I got cliffed twice and the workarounds were a bit sketchy. Still, it took less than an hour and surely saved me at least an hour and a half, insuring I would make it back by dark.

A few pics from the off-trail short cut:
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Back on trail, heading for Goat Lake:
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Goat Lake is only now starting to melt out and is as scenic and pristine as any alpine lake I’ve seen.
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Leaving Goat Lake and now on Goat Ridge and descending back to the TH, I made decent time and got back just 4 minutes past sunset. A fun day in the wilderness!

If you are interested in this great area, if one were to do this hike from the same TH and climb Old Snowy as an out-and-back, it would be 15.3 miles RT and 3,527 EG. (The loop I did has a lot of reclimb, but worth it.)

The map:
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16.4 miles, 4,816' EG, hike # 74
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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walrus
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by walrus » August 14th, 2020, 7:45 am

This turned out to work but I got cliffed twice and the workarounds were a bit sketchy.
How sketchy? I've thought about it every time I've been up there, but then decided I'd rather wander the extra miles/elevation than chance it.

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walrus
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by walrus » August 14th, 2020, 7:46 am

Also: beautiful pictures, thank you!

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TwoPaw
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by TwoPaw » August 14th, 2020, 8:19 am

A truly amazing day hike!

Were there folks already camping near/at Goat Lake? Are the four tents in your Goat Ridge pic near the lake? Been a few years since I've done Goat Rocks - your TR argues for a return.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by Don Nelsen » August 15th, 2020, 10:28 am

walrus wrote:
August 14th, 2020, 7:45 am
This turned out to work but I got cliffed twice and the workarounds were a bit sketchy.
How sketchy? I've thought about it every time I've been up there, but then decided I'd rather wander the extra miles/elevation than chance it.
It would have been easier and safer were I not a bit tired from the three hour drive and the hiking already done. The first difficulty was making my way down through the rocks in the slot slightly right of center in this photo:
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Even some of the larger rocks would move when I put weight on them and the pie-plate rocks all moved when stepped on.

The next problem was the cliff beyond the small lake. I went left through the trees and down a very steep slope to the trail. There's probably an easier way, but longer. Thanks for the comment!
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"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by Don Nelsen » August 15th, 2020, 10:35 am

TwoPaw wrote:
August 14th, 2020, 8:19 am
A truly amazing day hike!

Were there folks already camping near/at Goat Lake? Are the four tents in your Goat Ridge pic near the lake? Been a few years since I've done Goat Rocks - your TR argues for a return.
Yes, those tents were about three or four hundred feet from the lake. Here's a pic from another angle. The outlet stream from the lake is in the far right right and the lake is a few feet off-frame:
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"Everything works in the planning stage".

erbombla
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by erbombla » August 16th, 2020, 2:58 pm

Great TR! I was out there last week. I did the same loop. Instead of Old Snowy, I went up to about 7,200' at Hawkeye Point. The bugs were terrible but I had a wonderful time! Below is a link to a few photos.

Photo album

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retired jerry
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by retired jerry » August 18th, 2020, 5:59 pm

Same here, I was up there at the same time, could have passed you. I hiked from berry patch to past goat lake on Aug 12.
I've tried to do that off trail from goat lake to old snowy for years. (Not very hard though:). That whole area is great, lots of off trail possibility.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by Don Nelsen » August 19th, 2020, 5:52 am

retired jerry wrote:
August 18th, 2020, 5:59 pm
Same here, I was up there at the same time, could have passed you. I hiked from berry patch to past goat lake on Aug 12.
I've tried to do that off trail from goat lake to old snowy for years. (Not very hard though:). That whole area is great, lots of off trail possibility.
Jerry,
Amazing coincidence! I wonder if we passed one another? I reached Goat Lake at 5:03, left ten minutes later, got to Berry Patch TH at 8:04 and took the equestrian trail back to the Snowgrass TH where I parked at 8:24.

dn

PS: I think the off-trail towards Old Snowy would be easier in the uphill direction. You can see the cliffy parts easier that way and can re-route as necessary to avoid them.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Goat Rocks, Old Snowy Mt. and Goat Lake loop 081220

Post by Don Nelsen » August 19th, 2020, 5:57 am

erbombla wrote:
August 16th, 2020, 2:58 pm
Great TR! I was out there last week. I did the same loop. Instead of Old Snowy, I went up to about 7,200' at Hawkeye Point. The bugs were terrible but I had a wonderful time! Below is a link to a few photos.

Photo album
Great pics! Thanks for the link.

Funny about the bugs. I didn't have to deal with any, but then, it was an unusually cold day on the 12th.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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