Down climb around 100 ft steeply to the right from the saddle, through loose rock, leaving the ridge and large pylon; then traverse NE through scree above a boulder-filled meadow back to the wider ridgeline again with some grasses and a few trees. There is one more brief scramble, down workable rock on the ridgeline, before you traverse right of the crest again by old snags and tree roots. It’s somewhat rough just as you see the main trail below in the nearby larger meadow to the right. Work down to it slowly to finish the loop and turn left (NE) to the TH on Trail 1130.
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Absolutely glorious look past the highest peaks within the Goat Rocks Wilderness to Mount Adams from the boulder-strewn summit of Bear Creek Mountain.
ELEVATION: 6473 ft, with vertical gains of about 2800 ft, and 2000 ft for Sheep Lake.
DISTANCE: 62 mi up, 131/2 mi round-trip; 42 mi to Sheep Lake, 91/2 mi round-trip; add less than 1 mi round-trip for Nannie Peak too.
DURATION: 3V-4 hours up, 6-8 hours round-trip; 2 hours or so for Sheep Lake, 4 hours round-trip.
DIFFICULTY: Mix of very challenging to Cispus Pass (quite long, scree, snowfields, possible wildlife encounters, steady steep) and strenuous to Sheep Lake or Nannie Peak (switchbacks, ups/downs, narrow).
TRIP REPORT: Travel to Sheep Lake or even Nannie Peak for a more moderate day in the shadow S of Old Snowy Mountain, Ives Peak, and Goat Rock’s highest summit in Gilbert Peak (8184 ft). Or continue up Nannie Ridge where you will revel within copious numbers of wildflowers and an increasingly brilliant landscape to Cispus Pass. Remember Goat Rocks Wilderness holds snow until late in the summer. Check ahead as always for road and trail conditions (www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recarea/? recid=31462). Northwest Forest Pass required, and restrooms are present.