How hard on the YDS scale can goats climb?


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San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 16, 2013 - 03:32pm PT

...Anyone have an informed estimate. Looking at some of the pics on the 'Goats.' thread and from other sources and it seems to me that in at least a few photos the goats were rocking 5.8 terrain. LOL.

Anyone taken a photo or seen a goat on top of a mountain or pinnacle in which the easiest route to the top would give us an idea for their range?

I know this is a ridiculous topic but I'm actually curious. B/c if it turns out they crank harder than I do (which wouldn't be saying too much) I'm thinking of trying to develop some artificial hooves for my next outing!

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Oct 16, 2013 - 03:52pm PT
This is a great question. It's at least 5.10!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 16, 2013 - 04:23pm PT
Galen Rowell took a picture of a goat in the Cirque of the Unclimbables mantling past Galen's rappel anchors. 5.9+.


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 16, 2013 - 04:28pm PT

. . . JE, I was going to refer to that. . .

and they don't use ropes!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 16, 2013 - 04:34pm PT

Galen showed us slides of that in a talk in Berkeley in 1972 or 1973. He admitted that he chased it up the mountain, hoping it would do exactly what it did. The AAJ later published the picture, but not Galen's story of how he got the picture. It obviously made a rather strong impression on me.


San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
John - Thanks for that answer. That's wild! I'll have to try to track down a little more on the Rowell story. Thx again - Al
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Oct 16, 2013 - 04:40pm PT
That Galen shot of the goat was in one of his Books.

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Oct 16, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
But they climb choss. JK I've seen them do some amazing stuff here in the Wasatch. As well as drop a rock on my head at the gate buttress. That smarted. I now wear a helmet.

Sport climber
Oct 16, 2013 - 05:45pm PT
Custer State Park just released some in the Needles area. Didn't take them long to start climbing...
Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Oct 16, 2013 - 05:49pm PT
I bet these suckers can do solid 5.6 maybe 5.7....

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 16, 2013 - 05:53pm PT

Just another data point.
5.9 on that alternate start to Outer Space on Snow Creek Wall in Leavenworth WA. And that was one of the kids that we didn't chase up the route. We were going to do the route, but we backed off because we were scared we would drive the kid off the ledge. It started raining shortly after that anyway.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 16, 2013 - 06:08pm PT
As I recall, Galen Rowell also noted goat skeletons at the base.
They don't have a magical protection against mistakes, either....

San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2013 - 06:26pm PT

The below link was sent to me by a friend this morning, which was the main motivator for starting this thread.

My comment back to that person was, 'Wow, pretty incredible, but I take it at least three of these goats died moments after these pics were taken.'

And Dave - 5.6 was my original guess, but I guess the bar is substantially higher! Pretty amazing stuff.

And it also just goes to show that 'going up' is instinctual after all...

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Oct 16, 2013 - 06:32pm PT
I've seen bighorns in Josh walk across slabs up by the Cowboy Crags (above and right of Saddle Rocks.) That had to be 5.8 terrain, and they were just strolling around all casual.

San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2013 - 06:42pm PT

Exhibit A

Would love to know how he climbed out of that jam...

Sure looks pretty technical to me.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 16, 2013 - 10:16pm PT
Well, yeah. Those cars on the ground!

The Granite State.
Oct 16, 2013 - 10:19pm PT

Gimme a sec, I saw some pretty astounding goat photos today. I'll try to upload them.

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 16, 2013 - 10:25pm PT

Seriously, they can dyno far beyond what we can. That's understatement to some power of ten.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 16, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
That image of the goats mounted in a tree is famous. There are many others however as well. It is not likely photoshopped.

They are in an Argan tree. Native in Morocco or Algeria and now grown too in Israel. The tree has a fruit with a really hard nut in it which is rich in important and luxury Argan oil. The tree grows in forests actually in this region, covering 8,280 square kilometers. The Union has designated this as a UNESCO Bioshpere reserve even.

The goats poop out the nuts and that is one of the original ways the nut is brought to market. The fruit is pretty tough and nasty, apparently, and goats handle it pretty well.

Here is another less spectacular image. All this from Wikipedia:


Social climber
Colorado Plateau
Oct 16, 2013 - 10:34pm PT
for Locker, some Goat Bong stoner goat rock:
[Click to View YouTube Video]
Bong more goats at

Not gonna lie, pretty sick of the goats climbing thing web trend.

Still, they do pull some crazy moves. I once watched a Bighorn ewe lead her very, very wobbly-legged new to the world lamb/kid up above an overhang on an Entrada slickrock slab that had to be 5.5 or so. The ewe led it fine but the youngster balked.

I watched a lone Bighorn ram trundle a 75lb or so boulder down a talus slope, seemingly intentionally sending it towards our trail crew.

I wonder if the goat/Bighorn sheep burl on the rock is related to their massive cojones?
Now is that what dude meant when he said I should just carry a bivy sack?

These dudes call it a 'church bell.' And they eat the goat nuts for their climbing prowess. They 'feel called to do it.'[Click to View YouTube Video]

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