Mountain Goat Climber

The Bleat Goes On

I finally found the perfect hiking partner. He is capable and confident in the mountains, doesn’t talk too much, and is nice to look at. He even smells good. He is a mountain goat.

By Karin Teague July 1, 2015 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2015 issue of Aspen Sojourner

0715 bleat climber ftk4ha

On a recent Pyramid Peak climb, a young male mountain goat followed me for over an hour down a long stretch of steep, loose rock from the summit, stopping when I stopped, continuing on when I did, until I reached a flat saddle. Apparently satisfied I was safe, he took his leave.

Unlike the awkward bipeds that we humans are, mountain goats are singularly well suited to amble along craggy mountainsides at 14,000 feet. Their pliable hooves spread for balance and have rubbery pads that grip like climbing shoes. Powerful forequarters make them strong yet nimble enough to jump twelve feet in a single bound.

And mountain goats are less shy around people than other local wildlife are, such as elk or bear. One of the most reliable places to see them is on Buckskin Pass—as with any wildlife, though, to keep you and the goats safe, maintain a healthy distance and do not feed them.
Do, however, look for a piece of their fur tangled in a nearby bush—its musky, wild scent can serve as a reminder, come winter, of a perfect summer day up high in the mountains.

Filed under
Show Comments