Mount Curtis Gilbert-Meade Glacier

The Goat Rocks are about halfway between the Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier is certainly the coolest area between them. The gem of the area is Mt. Curtis Gilbert, the highest mountain in this wilderness area. There are several routes to its summit, all are long. We chose the Meade Glacier Route.

The Meade Glacier route is approached from the east on trail 1120. The approach is long, flat and dry for about five miles to the Suprise Lake Loop. It is shortest to take the right fork of the loop trail and follow it for about 2.5 miles to its high point of 5600'. From the high point ascend west into a basin at about 6000' (a path may lead to the basin but I was unable to confirm this due to snow) and cross it aiming to the left of some large mounds. A short descent leads to the foot of the Meade Glacier.

The glacier can be climbed by many possible routes to gain the SSE Ridge that leads to the summit of Curtis Gilbert. The route we chose was near the center of the cirque and right of the major rock band that separates the upper and lower sections of the glacier. Once on the upper section we ascended to the right of the snow dome and easily gained the ridge. There were no crevasses encountered on the glacier, but reports indicate that there likely will be later in the season.

Once on the ridge, ascend it on its west side. The route was obvious and required only easy scrambing to a small saddle near the summit. The true summit lies to the west of the saddle and can be easily climbed (class 2-3). The view from the summit is great. The northern glaciers and ridges of Mt. Adams and St. Helens, as well as the south sides of Mt. Rainier and Little Tahoma are on full display.