Three of us set off for Goat Mountain just outside of the small town of Clark Fork, Idaho. It was a perfect morning as Landon Otis, Cathy Schuller, and Don Otis set out after fueling up at Starbucks. We left the trailhead at 8:15 and started up the relentless ridge, losing the trail a couple times because of deadfall across sections of the trail. If you go, be sure to keep close to the ridge to the north. The climb was steep but manageable to about 5,000’. From here there is a less-steep section where there is significant deadfall. After you cross this you will reach the forested slope that reaches a high saddle and your first views of Goat Mountain (we put on snowshoes here for the rest of the trip). If you make it this far, the views become worth the trip and the worst of your journey is over. This is a good place to take a break before descending 200’ and then re-ascending the final ridge to the summit. It looks further than it is so remain vigilant. The summit is 30-45 minutes beyond this point. We reached the summit by Noon and although we were in shirt sleeves, there is less protection from the wind. The views of Scotchman Peak’s North Face are worth the effort. You are looking directly across to it. From Sandpoint, Goat Mountain is often difficult to spot because it looks like it is part of Scotchman Peak.
The descent is painful on the knees so expect it until you reach the sign at the TH – 4,000’ vertical below the summit – this is more than the Scotchman’s trail even though Scotchman’s is 600’ higher. We’ve done this as a traverse and come down the Scotchman’s trail which makes for an epic day but is easier on the quads and knees (you need two cars for this). Watch for ticks as they are prolific on this trail early in the season. Lastly, bring plenty of water since there is none close to the trail.