Michael and I hit the trail at 5:15am. We knew it was going to be a long day. We hiked up to Suprise Lake and I spotted a crawfish in the lake while I was fetching a liter. We left the trail at 5400 feet above Surprise Lake and hiked up to the main ridge crest / Klickton Divide. Followed goat trails on the ridge, we reached the Meade Glacier. Michael walked on the top of the glacier just for the fun of it. We both realized it's days are numbered.
first view of Gilbert
Tieton south face
Michael on the Meade Glacier
Michael below the first scramble step
just below the summit
There were two short steps of class 3 below the summit of Gilbert. Wow, nice views! This cleared up a failed attempt for me because I once tried the “7000 Foot Traverse” route from Big Horn with Redwic and Greg Slayden. Also it's number 75/100 for me on the Smoot List.
Tieton and Conrad Glacier
We descended to Warm Lake where Michael took a swim. Not living up to it's name, it was cold! I went to fetch some more water and noticed a dead rat on the lake-shore. Yuck!
Seeing as there was plenty of daylight left we decided to give Tieton Peak a try. It's the 4th highest in the Goat Rocks with over 400 feet of prominence. We followed a creek drainage north past several pretty waterfalls until we intersected a trail. The trail took us northwest to Conrad Creek. We crossed the creek and climbed from some meadows up to a bowl at 6700 feet on the south face of Tieton Peak.
Tieton south face above
this view of the southwest ridge intimidated us
Gilbert north face
in the bowl
I've looked a Tieton from a number of summits in the Goat Rocks and it has a gentle sloped appearance with a reddish gradient color scheme, which I interpreted to mean that it's a loose rotten choss pile. Sure enough. Plenty of loose scree, sand, and talus to make footing tricky and annoying. Anyhow, we eventually reached the southwest ridge below the false summit.
summit and false summit above
Michael coming up
Tieton summit seen from false summit
Following the ridge up, it became increasingly rotten and exposed. From the valley bottom we had our doubts if the route would go because it appeared to be blocked by one or more cliff bands. But from the false summit we could see there were multiple loose possibilities. Dropping down from the false summit was knifey and a bit sketchy, but getting up to the actual summit block was even more serious. There was one large cliff band guarded by a prow, but we worked around it on the left.
in the saddle with false summit behind
cliffs and prow above
Michael working the ridge
Adams and Gilbert
Goat Citadel and Big Horn east faces
We scrambled up very loose class 3 and crossed more than one knife-edge section of ridge. On the summit we had a spectacular views of the main crest of the Goat Rocks. No register was present. We decided to descend the east ridge to get back to Conrad Creek and this turned out to be a great choice. Much safer with no real exposure, although still loose. I found an awesome quartz crystal along the way.
looking back up the east ridge
During the hike back to the car we encountered two large toads in the trail and I accidentally kicked one, but thankfully didn't step on him, and he appeared unfazed. We got back at 9:40pm for a round-trip time of 16.5 hours. I estimate that we did 26 miles and 6500 feet of gain but it could be slightly more.
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