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Goat Mountain & Pt 7558: A Bear Of A Traverse 2/13/17

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Beauvais Jeanmard
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Goat Mountain & Pt 7558: A Bear Of A Traverse 2/13/17

Post by Beauvais Jeanmard » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:29 am


Waterton Canyon TH
Goat Mountain 7797
UN 7558
At least 10 miles
Time: 7 hrs, 15 min?

This all started at the Gathering last month when I met Gary. He expressed an interest in hiking in Waterton Canyon, so we set up a tentative date and a simple plan to do Goat evolved into this epic traverse. It was an overcast gray day in the 40's, gentle winds, but otherwise a good day for a hike. The 1+ mile walk on the canyon road went fast and we went up the only way you can, up the long SE/E ridge, a climber's trail atop the ridge as it undulates and rolls to the summit far to the west, about 2+ miles of this ridge. It was a typical day for us! At the summit by 11:30 AM, we talk about doing the next part of the adventure, something I always wanted to do, but could never commit to do solo.

After a short stay at the top of Goat, we start down and plan our descent, picking out a couple of ridges leading into the 1,400' deep gorge below us. At 12 noon we drop down fighting the nasty scrub and linking up open spaces here and there. We didn't exactly follow the plan, but we got down the best we could and sometimes the scub made us detour a little. The deep bottom was very narrow, maybe no more than 50' wide, a little ice in the creek bed and a game trail following the creek littered with huge piles of bear scat. I point at one and say, "This is why I could never do this Gary!" I always knew they were down here and never wanted to face meeting one alone.

We walk a few yards west and finally pick a tiny little ridge and start up the 1,100' climb, passing more bear dens along the way, I mean the scat was everywhere. We fought through the thickets, the forest and wandered all over the place. You really didn't know where you were, but just knew you were grinding up the slope. We tried to take the path of least resistance, following game trails, but the scrub was the boss of this world and we knew it and acquiesced! We got a glimpse of the summit once and measured our success by looking back at Goat, it was slow going.

We finally got into a clean forest, but it was only for a few brief precious minutes, then more thickets. We cross a ridge and continue up as it was clearly the way to go and see the final summit looming still 200' above. That was a relief to us, but a small rockband separated us from the top. We easily scaled the rocks and more steep forest ahead to go. Finally I spot something I've seen before, a crescent of rocks below a tree, sorta a semi circle, but made by someone. I was elated that we were almost there. "Just a little more Gary". I was so relieved to be on the top on Pt 7558, the cairn in view, the little clearing I created 3 years ago still there.

Wow, I was tired, Gary looked like he wanted to do Turkshead Peak off to the south across another deep gorge! Not too many hikers brave the scrub of Waterton to climb this lonely, trail less point. In the almost 7 years of the summit register, only myself and Steve Knapp and surprisingly Brian Kalet have ever been up here, with me doing the bulk of the trips. Another name added, and I confidently believe we are the 1st to do this traverse from Goat to here. We laugh at the thought of doing a repeat. Why would you, a one of those 'You must be out of your damn mind' thoughts! It was about 2 PM, it took us 2 hours + to get here, not really that far, but hell to pay to earn that real estate.

We descended down to Waterton on the east ridge of 7588, slow going too, more thick scrub, but some of it was it had been a long time and the memories were coming back slowly. Weaving back and forth along that ridge, the canyon in view now, wishing I was there type of thing going on. I suggested a different route down into Bear Creek, but dismissed it. Just follow the ridge and let's get this over with. At the ridge terminus, we encounter some boulders and cliffs, I had Gary worried for a minute, but reassured him it was passable and we scramble through and follow a good bighorn trail to the river road and enjoy a nice rest at the picnic table at the mouth of Bear Creek. That took an hour, but it seemed longer, it is what it is in Waterton! I'm thinking that ridge was between 1 and 2 miles long, but for whatever reason, it seemed to drag on, did I mention I was tired!

Gary got the best guided Tour of Waterton I can think of, what a tremendous effort on a couple 7'ers. We casually walked the 3+ miles out of the canyon, trying not to get run over by mtn bikers.

Thanks Gary for coming out, hope you and the wife enjoy Goat! It was a very good day hanging out with you, love that plaid shirt! Goes well with a Cajun who wore baggy jeans for a good scrubbing!
Last edited by Beauvais Jeanmard on Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:12 am, edited 4 times in total.

Beauvais Jeanmard
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Re: Goat Mountain & Pt 7558: A Bear Of A Traverse 2/13/17

Post by Beauvais Jeanmard » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:46 pm


I googled Goat Mountain and really didn't find much, a couple of sites did mention the distance and climbing elevation, but little else besides it's treeless and can be hot in the summer. No trip reports, but I actually found a 14ers post I did on 3/16/15 looking for partners to do the climb we did in reverse. Derek Freed responded but was unable to go. Forgot all about that and was cool to refresh my memory on what happened that day. Tired and sore and only did 7558, got blisters walking back to TH! How do you like that?

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Gary Neben
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Re: Goat Mountain & Pt 7558: A Bear Of A Traverse 2/13/17

Post by Gary Neben » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:04 pm


That's interesting stuff. Great write-up. Thanks for the fun day and the intro to Waterton mountaineering! :beer:

Beauvais Jeanmard
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Re: Goat Mountain & Pt 7558: A Bear Of A Traverse 2/13/17

Post by Beauvais Jeanmard » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:03 am


Also found something on Lockheed Martin, They started building launch vehicles in the 1950's, but they merged with Boeing and moved all rocket building out to Alabama in 2005. Research and Development/Administration is what's left in Waterton. Here's the last tidbit of trivia, Gambel Oak is a clone type species of tree similar to Aspen, who knew? Right? The road in the canyon used to be an old railroad grade for the Denver, South Park & Pacific RR. This RR went all the way to Gunnison area via the Alpine Tunnel, but the RR didn't last too long and was closed by the 1930's. You have now completed your Waterton Canyon education! Learn today, Lead tomorrow! :lol:

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Jeremy Hakes
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Re: Goat Mountain & Pt 7558: A Bear Of A Traverse 2/13/17

Post by Jeremy Hakes » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:59 pm


That's brutal terrain, but rewarding in a punishing way.

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