White Goat

This week I climbed Paget Peak, a mountain in Yoho National Park.  It’s a 45 minute drive west of here but with the recent heat this week ( I’ve been wilting with high 20’s) I felt like being up in the snow and the main range is where I’d find it.

Some routefinding errors found me treading water in some loose and steep rocks.  I was rather frustrated but grunted my way up after several stops to relax and gather my senses.  Only on the way down did I see where I should have gone that was less steep and more solid. Above: my incorrect route over a short wall.

Eventually I gained the summit ridge and traversed to the true summit.  From this vantage point you can view the icefields stretching out north, the braided Kickinghorse River flowing west to the Pacific Ocean, the Lake O’Hara valley to the south and the Bow valley to the east.Above: summit view west and north with Sherbrooke Lake at the bottom.

Above: At the summit with the Lake O’Hara peaks looming.Above: Finding the summit register, last entry and my entry.

Above: from the summit, a view north into the Waputik Icefields. The top of Takakkaw Falls, the 2nd highest in Canada  starts at left and falls 384m down the “back” of the picture.Above: Takakkaw falls from the bottom from a previous trip.

The weather was so perfect and stable, I spent more time on this summit than any other one I think.  Each direction had so much to study and enjoy and my topo map got some good creases in it as I tried to identify all the surrounding mountains.  A tough place to leave but the watch said it was time to go to have enough daylight to get down safely.

On the way down, I was cresting a vertical ledge into a very strong headwind that muffled my sound.  As I crested, underneath me was a snow white mountain goat!  I’ve never been so close to one and in the time it took me to get the lens cap off and turn my camera on, he had bounced nearly 100m away on a very precarious slope!  I ended up with one very blurry “Sasquatch” style picture.  He must have thought I was a cougar about to pounce on him.  Wiki says they live on cliffs where predators can not reach them, but I definately had the drop on this one, perhaps I missed my chance to git him!


Above: mountain goat dashes away from my blurry telephoto lens.

The goat disappeared from sight so I thought I would trace his path and perhaps catch sight of him on the next ridge.  As he was gone from sight, I didn’t think I would be harassing him which I didn’t want to do.  Picking my way across the steep and loose rock, I became even more impressed just how fast he made it across.  When I reached the skyline ridge and peered down the face, he was gone!  Amazing dexterity and speed I could barely imagine had I not seen it so close.  A great experience and an animal I have been waiting a long time to see up close.  I guess now I’m waiting to get that “postcard” shot of one. (wiki page for mountain goats)

Above: My GPS waypoints layered onto GoogleEarth

detailed GPX file of route found here.




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