Goat Lake


An attempt on Thompson Peak gets stormed, turning into a hike in the snow above Goat Lake.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Todd, Bob, and possibly several others invited me to attempt Thompson Peak over the coming weekend. As sometimes happens in the spring- as the day drew near, it was apparent that the weather wasn't going to cooperate. I told Todd I would go anyway, but everyone else bailed.

The weather man was right for a change, so we walked up to Goat Lake in an intermittent drizzle. We were wet and cold in a down-canyon wind, so we quickly got the tent up, where Todd dove into his sleeping bag. See him peaking out?

After continued night-time squalls, the next morning was sleeting lightly and foggy. Braving it, we headed out anyway. Our objective was the upper drainage, accessed through the notch in the rocks just left of the tallest tree.

The going wasn't too bad- ankle deep, newer slurpy-snow. However, it hadn't consolidated with the old snow underneath, so anything with angle to it was treacherous. Getting across the hillside and up to the gap doesn't appear to have any angle, does it?

In places, the snow was a little deeper. We took some circuitous routes to avoid the obvious avalanche chutes.

After several hours, we got into the upper drainage. The rocky ridge on the left is Williams Peak, and the saddle to its right is where we wanted to go. However, it had been snowing steadily, with no sign of letting up. We decided Thompson's summit was many hours away, even if there had been no avy danger in getting up the chute to its summit.

In the upper basin, there was no place to hide from a very cold wind. We had a very brief lunch, which ended when we started to shiver.

It was a slow trudge back to the tent, even though we found a few places to butt-glissade on the way down. In the narrow portion of the canyon, thunder boomed in our ears. I jumped, thinking it was an avalanche above us.

On our return to the tent, we found several inches of fresh snow on the nylon. We packed up and headed back to the car. As we dropped elevation and the day warmed, we were escorted by another light drizzle.

Remember: You can only have good weather if you also have bad weather.

Mr. Natural Home | 2004 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski