Goat Mountain, Marion Peak, State Peak

30-Jun-90 (Private Trip)

By: Larry Hoak


This report covers a private climb of State, Marion and Goat or June 30th through July 4th, 1990. The trip originated Saturday morning at the Road end wilderness permit station in Kings Canyon National Park east of Cedar Grove. Since the permit station doer not open until 7:00 AM, earlier departures from the trailhead are not feasible. We got underway about 7:30 AM and backpacked to Granite Basin arriving about 4:00 PM. There are ample camp site at a stream crossing at approximately 9,920 feet.

The second day, a planned easy day, began about 7:00 AM and finished at 11:30 AM at the stream crossing in Glacier Valley near State Lakes. There are ample fine camping sites near the stream crossing. We elected to camp at Glacier Valley since State and Marion appeared to be feasible from that location.

The third day we climbed State and Marion. In our opinion, this two peak climb is a very major undertaking. Only those who are highly motivated, in excellent condition, and capable of moving in a quick sustained manner over a terrain featuring a mixture of second and third class rock climbing and snow climbing, depending on the time of year, should participate. After hiking up to State Lakes drainage we turned right near the unnamed lake at 11,000' and climbed a broad chute up the northwest face of State directly to the summit The beginning of the chute is moderate class three followed by much class two climbing.

A traverse of the northeast ridge of State brought us to a low point on the State Lakes drainage headwall. At this point, it is possible to down climb into the State Lakes drainage in a loose class two chute. This chute should be kept in mind as it will be used on the return from Marion to regain the State Lakes drainage. At this low point, we dropped about 100 feet and traversed right about 200 yards to the low point on an east - southeast tending ridge. We call the basin this traverse covered as the 'first" basin. It is important that this low point be hit as the descent into the 'second' basin to the north is on class two and three ledges mixed with snow fields. There does not appear to be any other feasible points of entry into the 'second' basin. After an easy traverse of the 'second' basin, we then climbed an east tending ridge via an obvious rubble filled class two chute near the north end of the 'second' basin.

The 'third' basin, adjacent to Marion, is subdivided into three parts with the third part, nearest the peak, being the largest and containing most of elevation loss. One must pick a route which will maximize the use of joint systems in the country rock to facilitate travel across the third part. When looking at Marion from the east tending ridge overlooking the 'third' basin, one will see a scree bank on the south flank of Marion to be traversed form the left to right to gain the chute to the summit. The northwest tending chute to the summit is a broad second class nibble filled affair on the south face. It leads directly to the summit.

The return trip retraces the route through the three basins to the low chute in the northeast ridge of the State Lakes drainage headwall. This detailed description has been provided to reduce false starts and uncertainty about the route since the climb will take 12 to 13 hours under ideal conditions.

The fourth day we backpacked from Glacier Valley to Granite Basin in about four hours. The summit pack was the assembled and Goat was climbed. The route went northeast from Granite Basin up the drainage to the headwall beneath peak 12,076'. At that point a chute of class two rubble with ledges below leads southeast to a saddle. The saddle, which is quite broad and gentle, leads to the north ridge of Goat and, ultimately, the summit. The north ridge is a mass of boulders and evergreens which produce a route finding exercise of easy to moderate difficulty. The ridge is traversed on the west side. The east side appears to be infeasible. The climb was completed by 3:30 PM and took about four hours.

On the fifth day we hiked out to the car from Granite Basin in about three and one half hours at a very fast pace.

Geoff Glassner and Larry Hear climbed State and Marion. Larry Hoak climbed Goat.


SPS Archives Index | Sierra Peaks Section