Old Snowy and Ives Peak
Goat Rocks Wilderness
Southern Washington Cascades
July 21-23, 2017

(All photos link to full resolution versions.)

Some latent craving for Cascade wilderness awoke within my good friend, Evan.

It's a good thing, that pull toward the mountains.

Evan invited three of his friends, myself included, to join him on a hike into the Goat Rocks wilderness.
We were well-prepared after our meeting at the 3 Magnets brewery a week prior to launch.
I had met Nate and Trevin a few times before, but had never hiked with them. They are both great guys.

Alas, Nate was not able to come, due to last-minute noble deeds that he had to perform as a pediatric surgeon.
We often imagined him hiking along with us, and we all hope for another opportunity to spend some time with Nate in the wilderness.

The Goat Rocks wilderness is just south of White Pass on Highway 12.
It is a subalpine paradise situated between three volcanic giants: Rainier, Adams, and St. Helens.

Trevin is very familiar with the Goat Rocks. He and Evan had been scheming on this for weeks.
They had planned a scenic loop hike from Snowgrass Flats, up to Goat Lake, past Old Snowy and Ives Peak, and back.

Day 1

Subalpine views broke out after we ascended through the last bit of forest.
The trail leads to Goat Lake, which is beyond the saddle and around the corner to the right.

Up and up.

Cresting a small saddle, a volcano caught my eye.
(Evan's photo above is worth expanding. Check out that reflection!)

Mt. Adams

We hauled ourselves up to the frozen basin containing Goat Lake, at last.

The lake didn't look like a hospitable campsite.
We were set on camping in the green subalpine meadows that lay ahead on the trail, beyond the lake (right side of above photo).
We would camp above trail, below those craggy grey peaks speckled with snow on the right of the above photo.
That grey and white-speckled craggy horizon is crested by Old Snowy on the left and Ives Peak on the right.
(This above photo is awesome, you should click on it and see it in full resolution)

The trail dropped below the lake and the snow thinned out.
We descended the trail for a short while, and soon found a goat track of a path on the left the main trail that climbed the mountainside.

After some searching, we found a peice of meadow that was both snow-free and fairly level. It also had a great view.
Ahhh.. Camp.

Old Snowy was visible to the northeast, the summit peaking over the ridge above our camp (above).

Mt. Adams dominated the view downvalley, to the south.
We watched the Sun set, Venus(?) rise, and the stars emerge.
We saw meteors. Oh man, did we see some meteors.
One especially spectacular meteor broke into two pieces as it blazed northward across the western sky.

Day 2

We had a leisurely morning at camp. After breakfast we started climbing toward Old Snowy.

Full of energy and with light packs, we scrambled up the ridge toward Old Snowy, taking in the new views.

Mt. Rainier!

The view of Elk Pass, downridge to the north.
White Pass and the highway are over there somewhere.

Evan was stoked to get onto the PCT.
He and Nate would really like to walk some of this epic trail someday.

We left a few rocks on the mega-cairn at the PCT junction, including one for Nate.

There's the route up to Old Snowy. An alpine stroll.

Getting close now!

Summit shot!

This ridge is composed of a foliated volcanic rock that splits into these platy blocks, almost like slate.
It made for some pretty diffcult travel, when we had to walk over the talus fields on the steep slopes.
In many places, the talus consists of these loose plates of rock, which are a little unstable at times.

Like this.
(Click and expand the picture to see Evan and Trevin picking their way over the talus.)

...and this.
The bedrock knobs made for useful handholds and footholds.

The snow was a blessing wherever we found it.
I love snow, have I mentioned that? It is the safest, easiest, most gentle of surfaces to travel.
At the end of one especially long talus traverse, Evan kissed a handful of snow. He was relieved to be off of the loose rock.

In order to get to Ives Peak (far right of above photo), we'd have to climb hundreds of feet up, back to a similar elevation as Old Snowy.
We'd also have to traverse and climb through a lot more talus and scree, though most of it was pretty stable.

Evan just climbed his second mountain today. He is ready to sit down and chill for awhile.

I was too, but first I had to go tag that summit.
Just climb up this thing, go around that thing, and...


Vaingloroius summit shot. Sorry, the volcano made me do it.

The way down from Ives started with steep talus and scree with intermittent bedrock knobs.

Then we hit the snow!

The video player is not working.

Evan's standing-glissade/boot-ski technique is improving quickly.

After some time, we descended the remaining snow and talus fields, and eventually reached the subalpine meadows and the PCT.
That was plenty of alpine for one day.

Back to the sweet subalpine.

After awhile, I took this photo panorama of the alpine ridge that we had traversed.
That is Old Snowy in the center-left (above), and Ives Peak on the far right.

A colorful array of gorgeous wildflowers were in bloom everywhere across the subalpine meadows.
With the climbing behind us, the perfect weather, the flowers in bloom, and the lack of bugs, we were feeling some bliss.

I loved this slowly expanding mound of volcanic rock.
These rock plates were like hills of blades sticking out of the earth.

Finally, we stumbled our tired bones back into camp. It was a welcome sight.

We enjoyed a second evening of leisure and conversation as we gradually added layers of clothing and watched the sky turn to night.

Day 3

The hike out mostly consisted of strolling through a paradise.

We had views...



and some good conversation along the way!

What a great weekend!

The End