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May
19
2015
Goat Rock - West Ridge
Posted in Chugach Range & Mountaineering Tags: eklutna  


Looking across the valley at (left to right) Goat Rock, West Twin, East Twin from Thunderbird Ridge.

Mid May is transition season. The snow is too sloppy and unstable to ski and rock too wet to climb. Ice routes have turned into giant snow cones and rivers and lakes are undergoing breakup. Choices are limited, but a good bet is the southern aspect routes on East and West Twin above Eklutna Lake. I had previously climbed East and West Twin but had never been on Goat Rock (the point West of West Twin) so when a sunny day presented itself I convinced Jake to skip work for a day and go climbing.

Goat Rock is normally climbed via either the East Ridge or the West Ridge. The East Ridge (approached from the Goat/West Twin col) is a rock route that Ben Summit, in his Western Chugach Alpine Guide, says is "2 pitches of 5.4 and 1 short pitch of 5.7 rock climbing just below the summit." He goes on to say that "the climbing is moderate but very exposed and protection is scarce." The West Ridge on the other hand is moderate 4th class. There has been at least one ascent of the steeper South face and the North face has a series of steep snow and ice gullies that would be fabulous winter routes.


Jake just below treeline; Goat Rock on the left.

Moss campion after a long slumber.

Always happy when we're able to use a rope.

Jake and I climbed the West Ridge. We scrambled up the col, pulled out the rope and then Jake started straight up the West Ridge where we found 30m of fixed rope dangling from an anchor. The route, steep, loose and wet was a bit too exciting for us so Jake downclimbed and scrambled up a gully just right of the col. The gully was easy 3rd class with a short 4th class step to exit the gully and reach the upper slopes. From there it was an easy scramble to the summit pyramid which had another short section of 3rd class just below the summit. To descend we reversed the route and rapped twice to reach the col.


Jake starting up from the col. Note the fixed rope.

Me following the first ramp pitch. Note the col in the bkg. Photo by Jake Gano.

Just below the summit.

Jake leading the last rock step to the summit.

Selfie on the summit. Note the Glen Highway/ Knik bridge far below.
Bold & Bashful on the left. Benign on the right. Baneful in the middle.
The X Couloir and Eagle. Two amazing days in the Chugach.


Goat Rock summit register.


Jake coming down with the rope on his back. It looks worse then it is but you wouldn't want to slip.


Jake halfway down.

It was a tad early to head home so we packed up the gear and traversed the fun mellow east ridge to the summit of POW/MIA and then dropped straight down the south face to the road for a fun loop back to the car.


The Twins and Goat Rock as seen from POW/MIA.

On the summit of POW/MIA next to the shrine. Jake took a shot of the whiskey and poured libations into the tundra.

A wonderful day with great views and weather. The route is a highly recommend short spring route to get you ready for a season of Chugach choss.

Route Notes

To reach the West Ridge, park at the curve pullout (just before the ice cream shop) and bushwhack/side-hill across to the base of Goat Rock. It takes about 2 hrs to reach treeline and then another half hour to scramble up the approach gully to the base of the route. The West Ridge is mostly 3rd class with a very short section of 4th class. A rope is nice for the descent and if you opt to use it for the ascent you'll only really want it for the first pitch. Basically head towards col west of the summit. About 30' below the col you'll see a ramp heading up climbers right. The ramp leads to a short 4th class step which then deposits you on a large sloping scree field. The scree field makes a corkscrew curve up and to the right around the peak. Go up and traverse right whenever it gets steep and eventually you'll reach the summit. To descend reverse your route and when you reach the large scree field downclimb to the cliffs where you'll spy a rap anchor at the top of the cliffs. 2 30m raps will get you down to the col. We belayed the 4th class step and simul-climbed everything else - but then downclimbed the route up-roped once we figured out it was mellow. I would suggest throwing the rope in the pack once you reach the scree field.

Season: This is a great spring route since it dries out earlier then surrounding peaks. Likewise the brushy approach in spring is totally mellow. You could do it all summer / fall but there are multiple other routes that are in shape as the season progresses. A winter ascent would be exciting.

Time: Round trip from the col it took us 3 1/2 leisurely hours. To make a day a little longer combine it with a scramble up POW/MIA.

Gear: A 60m rope will enable you to rap straight down the west ridge (2 raps, questionable anchors). For gear I used a single #1 camalot right at the 4th class step. I would suggest carrying a #1 and a #2 camalot and a couple longer loops of cord for anchors.


First rap station. This anchor is pretty good.

Second rap station. This rap anchor is ... interesting.

Trash we hauled off the route. Someone had left 30m of rope tied to the last rap station. Totally unnecessary. Please clean up your mess.



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