Cole Butte Benchmark + West Peak by Goat Peak via Easton / 柯爾孤峯

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Cole Butte Benchmark and the west summit by Goat Peak rest on the cirque south of Easton. Meanwhile, the seven-mile, u-shaped ridgeline stretches above Cole Creek headwaters, adorned with many roads. The shortest way to these peaks comes from the north.

The final stretch on Cole Butte Benchmark
The final stretch on Cole Butte Benchmark

See more trip photos here.

Goat Peak at a Glance

Access: NF-41 @ Easton Reload Sno-Park (Info)
Round Trip: 14 miles
Elevation Range: 2280′-5504′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
Route Info: Greg Henriksen, Xiulan Hu
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface

I parked by the sno-park because of a few leftover snow patches. Then the first part involved walking through the Yakima River Unit of L.T. Murray Wildlife Area. After a short stretch of the dry path, continuous snow soon came.

I wished to have had time to make it here in the summer. The road walk could be pretty tedious, especially during the winter months. But when snow-free, one can drive higher up in the basin and enjoy a much shorter hike.

Boulevard of snowy dreams
Boulevard of snowy dreams

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Cole Butte West

The path slowly dipped and cleared of snow before crossing Cole Creek at mile 1.3. Then the snowy, uneven roadway was unpleasant to walk on. After putting on snowshoes in deeper snow, we left the road at mile 3.7.

We crossed a few spur roads en route to the minor ridge. Meanwhile, more days-old ATV tracks showed up all over. Then at 5000′, we traversed the upper basin below Point 5449 to reach Cole Butte West’s south saddle.

This way to Cole Butte West
This way to Cole Butte West

See more trip photos here.

Cole Butte West Summit Views

From the pass, it’s another .25 mile to the top. Meanwhile, we steered clear of the cornices on the east and soon reached the woodsy summit. Even with tall trees, I spotted Stuart Range through a tiny opening.

After a short visit, we left for Cole Butte Benchmark, taller by two whopping feet. But we first went to the opening farther down the north before leaving. I got a random view of Mount Daniel and Mount Hinman there.

Goat Peak
Goat Peak

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Cole Butte Benchmark

Our two goals were only 1.78 miles apart on paper. But because of the curved ridge, it took double the distance of 3.5 miles to traverse the crest. We went over several bumps during this while enjoying views on the saddles.

Goat Peak Trail started on Point 5464’s west saddle, where we saw fresh snowshoe prints. We used the trail before leaving it to stay on the woodsy crest. But we’d see the tracks at times as we traversed over the few bumps.

Goat Peak Trail to Cole Butte Benchmark
Goat Peak Trail to Cole Butte Benchmark

See more trip photos here.

Cole Butte Benchmark Summit Views

Beyond the treed crest was a wide opening that led us to the summit with dropoffs on the west. It had a panoramic view with trees lining the east. But we could still see Big Creek Valley and the unfamiliar peaks.

Views here were very different from the west peak because of the curved ridgeline. The entire landscape to the north gave sights to places like Amabilis Mountain, Kachess Ridge, Kachess Lake, and Cabin Mountain.

Northwestern panoramic view
Northwestern panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Outro

We followed the same tracks down the northeast ridge on the way out. Soon, above the cliffs, we dropped onto the northwest, where the summer trail would be. It looked like people had come through here via Goat Peak earlier.

After dropping 400′, we bypassed more cliffs and went into a broad gully. Meanwhile, we aimed northwest for another 1200′ to reach the road below. Then we crossed Cole Creek to the main roadway and retraced our steps back to the car.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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