Bear Creek Mountain 7337′, Goat Rocks Wilderness, WA.
2019 has been a very unsettled year for weather in Central Washington with tight weather windows and quickly passing high pressure so I had time for quite a bit of map reading and weather watching and while I like to head North into the mountains of the Pasayten, Glacier Peak, and Sawtooth Wilderness those areas have seen alot of cold temps, snow/rain, and thunderstorms so when I found a possible trip with a TH elevation starting around 6000′ and a few days of mostly sunny weather forecasted I was able to talk my backpacking partner into a slightly longer drive down into the Goat Rocks Wilderness to take advantage of it. Why the bulk of our explorations have been in North Central Washington we had been to the Goat Rocks before and done Mt. Curtis Gilbert / Warm Lake from Conrad Meadows and Old Snowy and Ives peaks hitting both trips with great weather, expansive mountain views, wildflowers, and water flowing everywhere. I tried to get some information from the Forest Service but they were in a transition period and had no information on roads or trails, but we decided to give it a go and made it to our destination the Section Three Lake TH which had a nice gravel road the entire way. From there we backpacked the Pinegrass Ridge trail through intact forest and meadows and eventually gaining elevation through sub alpine meadows to the Summit of Bear Creek Mountain. I had read where this vantage point might give the best views in the Goat Rocks Wilderness and it would be hard to argue with that. We then backpacked off trail a class 1/2 ridge which could be a little ragged and broken up at times to the saddle below Devils Horn peak ( not recommended) the mostly sunny day never materialized and once again it was stormy and unsettled around us and in the saddle I told my partner we don’t really need to do this as he had verbalized “I don’t like this one bit” referring to the terrain. Our thoughts were with the crumbly loose rock and extremely steep side hilling required to get this far we wouldn’t want to come back this way in wet conditions and while the hardest part was behind us we would not want to face it again under worse conditions and with this years forecasting we had zero faith tomorrows weather would actually improve so we did turn around and scrambled the ridge back to just below the summit, we initially dropped down following the Bear Creek Mountain summit trail continuing on the Pinegrass Ridge trail then followed a seasonal stream up to a high pass where we found multiple old campsites and spent the night there. The next day we followed the open ridge high as it lost elevation and practically merged with the trail. Once again we hit the area at the perfect time with wildflower and water filled meadows and basins and spectacular views near and far, we gained some great beta on the terrain which would come in handy several weeks later when we did another trip from Conrad Meadows which may have been one of the most spectacular wilderness experiences I have had. Happy Hiking and enjoy the photos.