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firemedic498

Goat Rocks

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Some friends and I were considering a short holiday in Washington and hoped to get in a week of scrambling/climbing and were considering Goat Rocks. Specifically Curtis Gilbert had come to mind. I don't know anything about the area other than what's in Beckey's CAG and was hoping someone could let me know what weather conditions and trail access we could most likely expect the first part of May. Any other destinations that would be appropriate for some newbies would be greatly appreciated.

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I was there in May two years ago, and there was a ton of snow. We tried to come in from Snowgrass, and we had to park 3 miles from the trailhead. The east side would be a better bet, but it would be a long ski if there was alot of snow. The area is gorgeous though, both approaches are nice. Conrad lake is a real pretty place to camp, but getting in there with snow could be a little tricky.

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The Goat Rocks are kind of boring. No real great climbing objectives. I would recommend the Enchantments although they would likely still be a lot of snow in May.

The Tetons have a lot of excellent scrambling and easier climbing. May would still be very snowy.

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As pointed out, in May expect a lot of snow. This year so far is looking above average. Also this is a very common area for late spring storms. If Curtis Gilbert is your objective and you are going to be out for a week I would suggest going in thru the North Fork of the Tieton. The standard South Fork/Surprise Lake approach is more direct if you just want to go in "tag" the summit of Gilbert and head out. The standard North Fork approach with a camp in either McCall Basin, if weather is questionable, or near Elk Pass if the weather is good. A high "base" camp in Elk Pass gives you great sunrise and sunset views of Rainier. There is also a really fun and direct alternative high traverse from the summit of Bear Creek to the Devil's Horns that puts you into the Devils Washbasin, but in May you normally cannot get to Section 3 Lake and the trailhead.

Like DPS pointed out, there are no real great climbing objectives. If you just want to scramble through I would suggest looking at the Big Horn standard route (class 4), Goat Citadel (also class 4) and if time permits a short trip over to the Devil's Horns (class 3/4). The traverse from Elk Pass across Old Snowy, Ives Peak, The Horns, Goat Citadel and onto Gilbert is also a lot of fun but not to be taken lightly. It takes the average joe a full day "camp to camp" with a pretty early start if you stay on the crest proper and tag a few summits along the way. If you approch Gilbert from Old Snowy and stay on the north side of the crest crossing snow fields and eventually the Tieton Glacier be sure to take a rope,axes and crampons. Depending on the number in your group a light 120' rope should do.

Do you guys ski? If so, you will have a real kick ass time. As far as goverment BS, the North Fork Tieton and Section 3 Lake trailheads are in the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area and fall into the "Fee Demo" crap, make your own decision as to whether or not you buy a forest pass. The trailhead on the South Fork of the Tieton (Conrad Meadows) is on private land and I can not say enough good things about the landowners that within the last few years rebuild the parking lot with an outhouse. This approch does get a lot of horse packer traffic and a lot of heavy use. They did a great job. No "Fee Demo" BS to deal with, just park you car and start hiking. In May livestock is still pretty minimal.

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