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Goat Island Mountain

Mount Rainier National Park

The amazing and terrifying North Swaths of Goat Island Mountain

Ski Touring Severe

12 km
1.1 km
1.1 km
5-6 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2.2 km
Goat Island Mountain Map

The numerous North facing Avalanche Swaths are the first thing you see when at White River Campground. Being directly across the valley how could the 3,000 foot fall line runs not grab your attention. While they look amazing these are some of the scariest lines within the lower slopes of Mount Rainier National Park. Being that they are avalanche swaths the moment you drop in you are committed and if they slide then it is game over. It is super important to treat these lines with respect and don’t even attempt them unless there is minimal avalanche danger. While I’ve done this route via numerous different approaches below I will write up what is possibly the longest but safest way to get to the summit.


Leaving the snow park at the base of Crystal Mountain Boulevard snowmobile the 16 miles up to the White River Campground, if it is spring make sure to get up to there the moment the road opens. Leaving the Campground make your way up the Glacier Basin trail and right before you go under the first avalanche swath drop down to the creek, you will be following the Emmons Moraine but expect that it will be buried in snow. Now you need to climb up and over the moraine before descending to Ghost Lake and start heading towards the Emmons Glacier.

Being on the west side of the Emmons outflow make your way up onto the Emmons glacier and start a long traverse to the Southeast. Immediately you will spot numerous chutes running off the South ridge of Goat Island Mountain but make sure you keep space between you and there bottom in case they slide. Keep heading South until you are off the glacier before climbing west onto the low section of the ridge. From here it is a scenic route as you gain elevation making it all the way to the Summit of Goat Island Mountain.

If time allows it is worth dropping into the North basin but it ends in a cliff down low so you need to make your way back up to the sub summit. From the moment you drop in heading North it is both amazing and incredibly terrifying. You are now on the upper face of the Swaths and not a spot you want to hang around for long as there are cliffs once again below. Start traversing a bit skiers left over to a small ridge and from there on it is fall line all the way down to the White River. In my experiences the upper face normally holds great snow but the bottom section is littered in avalanche debris.

Once in the valley try to traverse to a safe spot before switching over to skinning for possibly the shortest exit within the White River. Start heading east down the river and before long you will a bridge that crosses over the river. Use this and just keep heading north for a few minutes and you are back at the White River Campground.

To see my trip in the area and more photos check out this link https://www.whereiskylemiller.com/mt-rainier/goat-island-mountain/



Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between January and April


  • Bowl
  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area