Goat recovery on a rope...

GrantK

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Since we are rolling into the offseason here and Randy and Wllm’s goat hunts are fresh reminders that goats live in some terrible spots I thought this adventure I had a couple of years ago could be some good entertainment, I feel like there's lots of speculation about "that spot is so bad you would need ropes to get a goat out" but I've never actually seen anyone go to the point of actually getting a rope out, except this one...

Interestingly it was a goat hunt in this unit way back in 2008 that got me interested in climbing and as it turned out, radically change my life, I solo backpacked for 18 days and spent a lot of time watching goats in places I had no chance of accessing, combining that with getting myself into a couple of tough spots and having to do some real climbing to escape I had the realization that although I thought I was pretty good in the mountains there was a whole realm of skills I didn’t possess that could be a real asset for hunting that kind of terrain… I also thought I’d be drawing that tag again in 3-4 years (ha, to be young and dumb again, I still haven’t pulled it a second time)
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GrantK

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Fast forward to that winter, I decided that because I lived just down the valley from the Ouray ice park that Ice climbing would be a good intro to the vertical world, little knowing that pretty much nobody starts that way… as it turned out I had a knack for it and dove in headfirst, I think before I was even up the first climb I was completely hooked, looking back on it I think a lot of those of us with the climbing or hunting bug are the same way, the only thing that has resonated with me as much is chasing elk…

That first day launched me down a journey that has included so many wild, beautiful experiences I couldn’t have imagined when I started, from expeditions to the Alaska Range, Patagonia, and Morocco, to competing in the ice climbing world cup…but underneath it all is still the part that I started this to be better at mountain hunting, as it turns out the once in a while a goat actually ends up in a place that climbing skills are necessary…

all you Bozemanites get to look at this one all winter long...
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GrantK

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Enough gratuitous climbing photos... on to mountain goats!

the goat recovery started when I had been out elk scouting for the day and got back to service to find my phone's voicemail totally full, my brother had a goat tag for the same unit the year before and had been contacted by one of the tagholders for info before the season, he had mentioned in passing that if the tagholder was to get a goat that landed in an unrecoverable spot that I could probably figure out how to get to it, well the tagholder had shot a billy that had made it just far enough to drop into a steep chute splitting a 300’ cliff, they were able to walk around the top and spot the goat dead but stuck about 50’ from the bottom, some further recon revealed that the basin was entirely cliffed out from the bottom so a recovery from below was out.

fortunately, the goat was in one of the easiest to access from town basins and we made plans to meet in town early the next morning and attempt to get to it soon enough to salvage the meat if possible, I was able to get a couple of my climbing partners to come along with the promise of an adventure with ropes that wouldn’t be easily repeatable.
 

GrantK

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Aug 30, 2018
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307
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Western CO
The posse started up early, with the climbers rapidly leaving the tagholder at the bottom of the hill, we were eager to actually lay eyes on the goat as we suspected that what was described as “impossible” would in fact not be steep enough to justify a rope, we were pleasantly surprised to spot the goat hung up where it appeared that a rope would actually be helpful, and also steep enough that the rope wouldn't be knocking too many racks down on us...

if you look very carefully the goat is visible in this photo...
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GrantK

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After taking some photos to make sure we headed down the proper gully we walked around the top of the cliff, dropped off a ton of gear, helmeted and harnessed up, and found a large boulder to anchor to…
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the top of the gully the goat had dropped into, I need some lessons from @wllm1313 to capture how steep it actually was...
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GrantK

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We arrived to find the goat stopped in an improbable spot, head down on a tiny spot where the gully eased in angle for a couple of feet, it was flat enough for us to get off the rope and move around a bit but we were worried that the second we touched the goat it would fall all the way to the talus slope below the cliff, adding a bunch of work to get it back to the top...
Fortunately, we were able to find a spot build an anchor in a crack about 15' up and secure the goat.
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We decided that as the terrain was steep, but not steep enough to easily haul the goat up whole that the easiest way to get it to the top would be to skin and quarter it where we were, then put quarters in a haul bag and ascend the rope with the bag on our back to get out… I can say that skinning a goat in full rigor mortise for a full-body mount while it is hanging on a rope and you need to be careful not to trip on your own shoelaces is interesting

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TEEPEECREEPIN FREAK!

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You guys are f'n! Nuts! That is absolutely incredible! Couldn't you guys find any other ones or just wanted a challenge? That's awesome! Thanks for sharing.
 
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