Goat Rocks Extravaganza - Mount Curtis Gilbert
May 26-28, 2007

The 'A' Team: Gordy, Amanda, Steve, Christy, Josh, Bayhoe, Kurt, Robert, John, Hannah,Teresa, Emily, Jessy, and Jason 

Photos and story by Jason Hummel

It was Friday night and I wasn't getting far. Between delusional visions and sudden wake‑up calls on the road, I was soon finding myself pulling over whenever I got too worried about my driving. After one such round, I promised food and drink in Packwood (that day I'd climbed and skied Mount Rainier). I really needed water for the day to come and food to recoup from that days efforts. Well, I came out of the store with several things to drink. 1. The chocolate milk was good 2. the juice was better and, well, 3. the water finally did me good. But, DANG IT I was hungry, too. Where the hell's the food? Looking around in my bag I soon concluded I walked out of the store with nothing to eat. Allegorically, I felt like a dog sent chasing a thrown stick, who halfway there sees a rock and brings it back??? While my memory was slipping so was my sense of direction (many wouldn't say THAT was slipping but had long since slipped ). This surely added to my frustrations of the night.

My misdirection began after turning on South Tieton Road, where NORMALLY there is another turn before long. This turn was quickly missed and surpassed by 15 miles. Finally realizing the ditch to the left wasn't a river, I turned around and backtracked. The actual road follows the South Tieton River.

The trailhead is at a gate near the end of the road, but a nice parking area is situated before that. In the same area is a horse camp which is where I assumed the others were camping. In a quick search horses became agitated and were making noise, so I turned around and spent the night in my car rather than tromping around the horse camp and waking everyone up.

In the morning I found the others about 20-ft beyond where I stopped looking. My little brother Jessy followed me to my car while the others finished packing. I should have left him. I remember complaining, "JESSY, don't add anymore fooooood!" Over the past few years, I've become used to carrying only what I need. I surely didn't need cheese dip (in a glass container) and chips. Disclaimer: this was actually this was prettttty frickin' good.

At least I'd eat well, or so I had thought (There's more to this) ?
We soon began, our group fracturing into 3 groups. Several miles up the way we lose track of one. "Hannah, this way!!! HANNAHHHHH! HANNAHHHHH! This wayyy."  I'd thought she heard me and so I traipsed through the forest with Amanda until we returned to the trail.
"Them Damn IPODS," I found myself cursing (I've used one since on ADAMS and really liked 'em).

We figured Hannah had found her way, but she didn't. Gordy, who had his radio on hears her telling him that she is misplaced somewhere in the forest near where I'D left her. Oops. Her dad John and I reverse course and return back down the trail. The radio her and her father had came in really handy for tracking. We'd yell, then ask on the radio if Hannah heard us. After repeating several times, we found her and led her back to the trail. You'll have imagine the hilarity of this: two fools yelling as loud as they can and then quietly listening the radio, "Did you hear us?"

Soon we were back on course, headed back in the right direction. After awhile I broke off from the others and continued up the mountain. Eventually I arrived in the million-degree sauna of camp where I poured all my food and cloths out, quickly proceeding the eat everything I could get my hands on, beginning with my chips and dip.

Later, the remainder of our crew arrived. Teresa and Emily where new to hiking for their turns and these local White Pass girls had quite an adventure which teresa tells about on her blog (Goat Rocks ROCKS).

DAY TWO: A couple summits and some skiing

The next morning there was no excuse not to climb and ski. In particular I was enjoying the relaxation. A day climb of Rainier with skis isn't easy and the hike the day before was enough of an excuse to not climb the day before, but I had run out of excuses now. Plus my brother Jessy would lynch me if I stayed (Pirate Flag).

The climb was wonderful as the basin is spectacular with giant walls of rock above and to the side both of which hem in the snow slopes and confine your view. Where normally your view is expanded it was obscured. Fog obliterated sights of Adams, Saint Helens, Rainier and the rest of the Goat Rocks. This was too bad, because they are great!

Jessy, Christy and I continue on to the summit. The snow was very thin and there wasn't enough for skiing. Many years ago I was able to ski off the summit, but not this year, not even close. On the way up, a few mountaineers were coming down. They kept questioning where my crampons were (we left our packs at the pass). The mountaineers are often difficult to watch climb, but it is better to get out than stay home. The final climb is exposed over the NE face (ski descent). We all posed on the summit and then returned back to the pass where the others were waiting for us.

The ski down was wonderful. We didn't spend time taking too many photos.

At camp once more, Josh and Christy decided to return home and after a time Jessy and I went back up, but instead of climbing Gilbert, we climbed a sub-peak to the north of it. On top, winds were honking and were nearly blowing us over, but we overcame them and topped out before greeting the snow and calmer winds below the top. By then, the snow had formed an icy crust making for a terrible ski, which was too bad. A few hours earlier it would've been spectacular!

Further down we were able to find a nice chute that everyone from camp could see. They enjoyed our entertaining antics.


That night the weather deteriorated to blustery wind and snow, such as I've come to expect of any memorial weekend forecasted to be 70 and sunny. So much for that. The storm was truly wonderful, and it appeared Josh and Christy's exit had been timed perfectly!

DAY THREE: Time to go home

I woke up early for some photos, but had the incorrect settings on as I did for the entire trip which was unfortunate. Of course morning was a beautiful day and plenty warm to make the hike out a sweaty, bug-ridden hoopla. Everyone made their own way down and between several groups, we each found our own interesting routes. Terresa and Emily joined my brother Jessy and I. We found a perfect way through the cliffs after a long traverse and instead of following the trail proceeded cross country until a few miles later we met the trail. I remember telling the uninitiated (Teresa and Emily), "We can follow the trail or go straight. I warn you though, this could be an adventure." They had been told to never follow a hummel. This time they had a good experience as Jessy and I led them directly to the trail. We even managed to cross less logs than had we been on the trail Ironically, they seemed magnetically attracted to it!

Nice meadows were followed to the end of the trail where we met the family who owns Conrad Meadows. I told them how fortunate they were, and they agreed. They knew they were!

My adventure weekend was at an end. Three peaks in 4 days and enough skiing and adventure to make me happy to return to work and my warm and comfortable office. The Goat Rocks are a special place and even after dozens of trips, I'll always return to its evanescent slopes and sheltered glaciers, to its pointy summits and wide-open views.

>>>>If you like this trip, check out my brother Josh's TR: Goat Rocks 2006

Thanks for coming,

Jason Hummel

Alpine State OF Mind. Or CONTACT ME. If you enjoyed your visit, tell us about it, go to the GUESTBOOK.

>>>>Go to Chronological