Goat Peak


A long but easy hike leads to Goat Peak's exposed summit ridge.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Tom bailed (for work!), so it was just three of us. Michael showed up right at 4, so we woke Mariel from the rest stop on Hwy 75. She was almost ready, so we were walking from the upper Hyndman trailhead at 7:15.

The first three miles are on good trail heading for Pioneer cabin. Then at a switchback, a climber's trail (filled with sticks) continues up the valley. After another bit, we followed our noses, and an occasional tread, game trail, or other path, eventually climbing above tree line. It was still cool, but a little hazy from the smoke.


After walking through sage brush and wildflowers for a bit, you climb into the upper valley with a view of Florian's Nudl on the ridge, center.

Upper valley

There is a little red mark showing the location of Pioneer Cabin. Michael is attempting to pick the little aliens out of his socks- these weed seeds were pervasive and annoying, as you can tell from his intense posture.

Looking back at Pioneer cabin

As you reach the end of the valley, there are lots of options. We were able to continue on grass well up this section. Eventually, you have to ascend a boulder field to the right of the hump, but it's a fairly short stretch.

Route through the boulders

Once above the boulders, the walking is again pretty easy, with patches of grass amongst the smaller rocks. That's the double-summitted Handwerk Peak on the right. Johnstone Peak is centered above the valley, and Baldy is in the smoke between them.

Also, we found water all the way to 11k.

Handwwerk Peak
We were making good progress, but watching the weather with a wary eye. NOAA for Ketchum said a 10% chance of thunderstorms after noon... and where we were there was a much greater chance, plus it was after 11. There was a big cumulus off to the southwest, and it seemed to be moving our way. Upper basin

But it still looked clear above the false summit, so we kept moving.

False summit

From the saddle between Florian's Nudl (left) and the false summit, it is again easy moving, with improving views. That's Old Hyndman and Hyndman on the horizon, with Duncan's Ridge in the right foreground.

At this point, the wind was picking up and it started feeling almost cold- good for me because I run hot, but somewhat of a concern, since Mariel had gone extra-light. She borrowed one of my tops and was happy.

Final ridge

When we got to the false summit, the traverse looked very intimidating. As steep as this side of the ridge looks, the other side is steeper and more exposed. We all knew it was supposed to be Class III, but it certainly didn't look like it. So as a precaution, we dumped our packs so did not get summit shots. This is Michael and Mariel completing the traverse back.

We got to the true summit around 12:30, for about a 5-hour ascent. It's a little hard to tell what is the real summit vs. the white gendarme on the ridge, but if you click for the bigger version I have marked the actual summit rock.

From the top, I thought we could see some little dots on Devil's Bedstead East (the shaded peak in the background)- John and George were climbing there. We also read the register, seeing names of friends and acquaintances- including the famous mountaineer B. Troutner. The last names entered were almost exactly one year old- our same friends John and George on August 3, 2007.

Traversing back from the summit


From the false summit, you will need to lose some elevation to get to the saddle between the two summits.

So to describe what we did... start by dropping off to climber's left (where they are in the above picture) and then pass through the notch to climber's right just after the red rock. After the notch, we stayed pretty high, which seemed a little exposed and thin (compared to our return route). From right above the saddle, we downclimbed back (away from the true summit) in a series of grooves and dropped well down, maybe 30-40 feet, onto a broad red ledge that is comfortably hiked. Follow this ledge system on a slight rise to the saddle. From the saddle, drop down to the left under some loose and sharp red crap, then go up and to the right on good rock leading to a series of ledges. The climb up to the true summit is easy and does not involve much real exposure (if you are on route).

On the way back, from the saddle we followed the broad red ledge, but then stayed lower as we did a gradual ascending traverse, then a short scramble directly to the notch between the red and white rocks in the picture. This seemed easier and less threatening, although there was a bit of loose rock to deal with (one at a time).


When we got back to our packs, we had a rest and some food, then started down. I couldn't resist a picture of hiking in the snow in August.

We took a few more rest breaks, then did a slightly different descent of the valley, getting in the Loop Tour. It's really beautiful, if you can get around the smell and sight of tons of sheep shit. Good fertilizer, I suppose, and luckily the wind continued so we didn't have to deal with the flies (just the sock aliens again!).

We had various additional stops for eating, pictures, etc. We also followed a trail at about 10,300' for a bit, but it seemed to be heading for the valley to the west (and uphill). When we finally hit the Pioneer Cabin trail Mariel took over the pace setting, So we finished fast- with Mariel in front, we were just short of jogging.

Descending on snow in August

Mr. Natural Home | 2008 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski