High Divide and Goat Mountain

High Divide: Welcome Pass to Excelsior Pass with a bike shuttle

Last week I drove up to Highway 542 (Mt Baker Hwy) with the hopes of completing a traverse of the High Divide. The original plan was to ride my bike from Damfino Lakes trailhead to the Welcome Pass trailhead, and then finish the loop by traveling on foot from Welcome Pass trailhead up and across the High Divide, ending up back at Damfino Lakes. That would’ve been good for approx 30 miles of biking and approx 8 miles on foot, which sounded perfect to me – I’ve been neglecting my bike and this seemed like a great excuse to get some time in the saddle. Unfortunately, the road to Damfino Lakes is closed. I knew it was closed, it’s signed as closed, but for some reason I thought the closure was after the Damfino Lakes trailhead. It is not. Neither the Damfino Lakes nor the Canyon Creek trailhead is currently accessible.

Luckily, there was an easy and obvious back-up plan. Instead of starting at Damfino Lakes, I parked at the Excelsior Pass trailhead, rode my bike to the Welcome Pass trailhead (approx 5 miles), and then finished the loop on foot (approx 12 miles). Even though it wasn’t quite the route I’d hoped for, it was still very scenic. It was also one of the first days that the skies were smoke-free again, after nearly two weeks of haze from BC wildfires in early August. So really, I was just glad to see the mountains again!

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Planned and actual routes. (Is it possible to manually move the labels around in CalTopo? Automatic placement wasn’t great for this map.)
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Welcome to Welcome Pass
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Cruising along
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Wildflowers galore
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Mount Larrabee
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Singletrack along the top of the Divide
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Valley views
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Storm moving in

 

Goat Mountain:

After finishing the High Divide loop, I headed to Hannegan Pass trailhead to meet Lindsay. She and I both camped in our vehicles that night, and the next morning woke up early-ish to check out Goat Mountain. Maps show a trail only 3.5 miles up Goat, but beyond that there is still a very well-established boot path all the way to the false summit. Reaching the actual summit involves crossing a tiny glacier and then doing some Class 3ish scrambling. Lindsay and I were both perfectly content on the false summit. We ate PBJs, looked at maps, and then took pictures (me) and a nap (Lindsay).

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Lindsay taking in Shuksan

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Cool clouds forming over Sefrit and the Ruth Creek valley
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Flying through fireweed
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Close up of Baker
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More climbing
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Mini glacier on Goat Mountain
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Views from the top of Goat
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PBJ and map time…
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…followed by nap time
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I learned a new terms: orographic lifting
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Starting our descent
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Looking up the valley towards Hannegan Pass. Fun to see Hannegan, the Pickets, and Ruth after going up Ruth with Lindsay and Jenni earlier this season.
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Enjoying the views on the descent
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Running down the ridgeline
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Mt Larrabee up front, American Border peak in the back

 

 

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Back down through the fireweed, with Mt Sefrit in our faces

 

 

 

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