Humble Sunny Leavenworth TR

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Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
Apr 14, 2018 - 07:59am PT
Love me some Icicle Canyon! (My avatar pic is from up there, from X-C skiing last winter.)

Was thinking about Ghost's pic of Mari rapping down to the welcoming goat, and wondered what kinds of experiences y'all have had with them up there. The most number of "up close and personal" encounters I've had with them were up at the Pearly Gates routes. I find myself a little skiddish, after the full on agro-goats killed that poor hiker up at Hurricane Ridge. We had to suspend all our gear we weren't using at Pearly Gates so they wouldn't lick/eat our approach packs for the salt.
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Apr 14, 2018 - 08:15am PT
Nice morning experience. Sort of like a wake-me-up first pitch but without fear, until that last image brought some out of the past.



added:


Goats seem to like being around people.




Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 14, 2018 - 07:26pm PT
Was thinking about Ghost's pic of Mari rapping down to the welcoming goat, and wondered what kinds of experiences y'all have had with them up there. The most number of "up close and personal" encounters I've had with them were up at the Pearly Gates routes. I find myself a little skiddish, after the full on agro-goats killed that poor hiker up at Hurricane Ridge. We had to suspend all our gear we weren't using at Pearly Gates so they wouldn't lick/eat our approach packs for the salt.

That photo was from a day at the Pearly Gates. But, funny as it looks, it was the aftermath of a seriously frightening experience.

I think it was about fifteen years ago. Pearly Gates, a cliff band half-way up the trail from Leavenworth to Snow Creek Wall, had recently been developed, and we went up for a look at what was being trumpeted as a crack-climbing paradise.

The Snow Creek Wall goats are widely known for their human-tolerant behavior. Mostly it's nannies and kids looking for urine. Other than that, they don't interact with humans much -- or at least I haven't heard stories of anything other than them watching and waiting for the humans to pee. But at the Pearly Gates, we learned where the males hang out. I think we first met Lester in 2002. He was fully grown, but still young, and already pretty much the dominant goat dude at the Pearly Gates.

There were two other people there that day, a couple of young guys who had arrived before us. Lester checked us all out, at first from a reasonable distance. He'd come near for a look, but not closer than thirty or forty feet, then go back to browsing. After a while we assumed everything would be fine, but on his next check he became extremely aggressive. Mock charging the two young guys. Who promptly packed up and left. We stayed, but stopped doing much, and were prepared to leave. But Lester seemed to believe that he'd done his job, and lost interest. Wandered away, browsing as he went, but getting further and further from us.

So we started climbing again. It's mostly one-pitch routes, so one of us would be on the ground while the other climbed, then vice versa. Everything seemed fine, but a couple of hours later, with Mari half way up something, Lester came back. He didn't act aggressive, but he kept getting closer and closer, to the point where I could literally have reached out and touched his nose.

What you have to understand is that the creature whose nose I could have touched was twice my size, and had horns that... well, let's not go there. Suffice to say that I was thinking it might be time to become religious and hope that my death would not be too painful.

Of course as he got closer I had started yelling (_very_ quietly so as not to show any fear, or startle the goat) at Mari to plug something in and tie off, so that I could untie and move away if that's what Lester wanted. Or run away in blind panic. Or have Mari bring me up out of his reach.

But, before she could do anything, and as I was slowly turning to stone, he lay down at my feet, chewed his cud for a bit, then zoned out.

Yeah, went to sleep on the ground beside me.

What do you do? Since it seemed that we'd passed whatever test he felt determined who was welcome in his house, Mari continued climbing, and I continued praying. Eventually she reached the anchors, and set up a rap. Which was fine, until she was almost down and Lester woke up. More heart attacks for me, but it turned out we were still on his okay list, and all he wanted to do was say hi to Mari as she returned to the ground.

It was at that point that I finally unfroze enough to get out the camera. Photo repeated below:

Ropes? What do you need ropes for?
Ropes? What do you need ropes for?
Credit: Ghost

But that was not the end of our friendship with Lester. We returned to the Pearly Gates six years later, and Lester was still running the place, but on that day he was well down the hill, hanging with a young buddy, and paying no attention to the humans fooling about on the rocks above.

So we did some climbing, and then, needing to pee, I dropped down into the boulders below the cliff. At which point I heard Mari calling "He's coming toward you!" I looked up just in time to see him falling out of the sky right on top of me. Except of course that he was aiming for the lip of the boulder above me so that he could get a better look. But from my perspective, it was more like he was going to land right on top of me.

This is not something I recommend for the faint of heart. Ten years later, I can classify it as Type II Fun, but at the time it was terrifying. Somehow I managed to get my camera out as I backed away...

Dude! Great to see you again!
Dude! Great to see you again!
Credit: Ghost

And, just so you know that this isn't overhyped silliness, here's Lester at touching distance. This is the biggest goat I've ever seen. He was the size of a small horse, and those horns are...

You tell me how you would have felt about meeting him this close:

Hey, great to see you again too!
Hey, great to see you again too!
Credit: Ghost
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
Apr 14, 2018 - 07:55pm PT
Great story, David! And yeah...those suckers are big! I don't know if it was Lester I met, but it was a sizeable goat. It would require no big effort for one of them to do you in, as the situation at Hurricane Ridge demonstrated, and as it looked like you might experience. I'm more of a "respecter" of animals than one who is afraid of them. Still...

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/mountain-goat-kills-man-in-olympic-national-park/
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 14, 2018 - 08:04pm PT
In the Olympics (not those Olympics) I used to let them lick my sweaty legs. They knew
who the boss was so it was mainly a male bonding thang. Sometimes ya gotta be magnanimous.
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Apr 14, 2018 - 08:46pm PT
What do you do?


One idea which I have seen used effectively: pick up a big rock and throw it at the goat.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 14, 2018 - 08:52pm PT
One idea which I have seen used effectively: pick up a big rock and throw it at the goat.

There are few climbers I respect more than you Andy, but your suggestion about throwing rocks at a monster just a meter away from you is making me reconsider that.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2018 - 11:56pm PT

WRT: "what can you do about the goats?"

Use them as an excuse to back-off. Anon-ST-studd and I were going up to do the more difficult start to Outer Space the first time he or I tried it. But there was mother goat and kid on the rock between us and the route. We figured if we started up, they would just outflank us back down and head off to the woods. The little "dears" kept climbing higher and and higher and we envisioned plummeting mammals. About the time rain drops started falling and thunder pealed, I said said "No T-man we can't drive them to their deaths!". We climbed it the next day.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 15, 2018 - 07:56am PT
Leavenworth- Love it. Probably the ONLY thing that would entice me to step foot back in Washington before the(eventual) Mother-in-law's funeral.


Goats- Yeah- YOu don't want to encourage them to hang out. Isn't there some park that is now stringently enforcing a "No-Selfie-With-The-Goats" and "NO-let-them-lick-you" rules after the goat attacks were getting out of hand?
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
Apr 15, 2018 - 08:06am PT
Those little suckers are pretty much a mass of solid muscle (much like myself) with sharp, pointy horns. Won't be throwing rocks at them any time soon...
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Apr 15, 2018 - 08:27am PT
your suggestion about throwing rocks at a monster


Wasn't my idea.



Credit: MH2
Credit: MH2
Credit: MH2


I'm the one trying to keep the belay device between me and the goat.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 15, 2018 - 08:33am PT
And you wonder why world peace is so elusive? Havenít you knuckleheads tried talking to
those guys?
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 16, 2018 - 06:45pm PT
And you wonder why world peace is so elusive? Havenít you knuckleheads tried talking to those guys?

Well, there are probably situations where talking to one of them could be the right thing to do. But then, in other situations, talking to one of them could get you killed.

Lester on a ledge partway up some route he free soloed.
Lester on a ledge partway up some route he free soloed.
Credit: Ghost
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Apr 17, 2018 - 07:44am PT
Great stuff. Climbed there back in Olden Times when I lived in Bellingham and during my many trips up into O' Canada. That goat shot of Prusik is classic. Doing the Beckey 5.9 on that was one of my great ascents right out of high school. The approach up from the Icicle was brutal!

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