Conrad Meadows – Tieton Peak – Devils Washbasin – Cold Lake, Goat Rocks Wilderness, WA.
With high pressure firmly entrenched around the Arctic Circle this year whatever weather system was in the Pacific seemed to eventually move through Washington State making for quite a few periods of unsettled weather in the form of clouds, rain, thunderstorms etc.. , but a fair weather window did emerge and after changing our plans several times we found ourselves heading back down to Washington’s Goat Rocks Wilderness once again. Over the last few years we had visited the Goat Rocks several times during the Spring enjoying wildflowers, meadows, peaks, expansive views, waterfalls, and blue sky days. This trip would be much the same. We started at the Conrad Meadows TH, visited and fished Surprise Lake before backpacking through the beautiful meadows just to the West of the lake and heading up the primitive and eroding trail to the sub-alpine bench below Klickitat Ridge. From there everything opened up and we headed West on the bench fording Conrad Creek whose waters come from seasonal snow and glacial melt from the Conrad Glacier where we made our camp for the night. The next morning we were up and on the go early deciding to take a head on approach up the East slope of Tieton Peak 7760′ which was steeper and looser than our initial thoughts, the ascent was a grind versus the once planned route from the North. The summit had tremendous views and we followed the summit ridge North and descended through cliff bands down to a bench and made our way through multiple picturesque basins to Devils Washbasin a lake below Devils Horns peak where we had lunch and fished for a short time. We left the lake and headed back to the initial Pass dropping down to a bench which took us all the way out to Cold Lake which was an incredibly scenic glacial lake and from there backtracked to our camp. That was quite a day of hiking and I don’t know if we would have accomplished so much if it was not for the cooler temps and partly cloudy skies so everything was as perfect as you could wish for. The backpack out was uneventful we did locate the horse route up to the sub-alpine bench from the lollipop loop at lower elevation but it was just a matter of maintaining a determined pace for 10-11 miles most which was through forest which provided some awesome shade. The three day whirlwind trip ended up being 31 miles and 9200′ of elevation gain. Happy Trails !