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Mountain Goat

Oreamnos americanus


These large animals have a shaggy whitish coat, short curved black horns and powerful limbs. Their hooves have a hard rim, but a soft, tennis-shoe like sole, all the better to grip slippery rock surfaces in the cliffs they inhabit. In late fall, these animals grow incredibly warm coat of hair and survive bone-numbing temperatures and high winds for a very long winter.


Mountain goats typically live high above the treelines in mountains. They prefer steep, rocky cliffs where they find refuge from large carnivores such as bears and mountain lions.


These animals are amazing mountaineers. They will climb out onto a rock face gripping tiny rock protrusions and nibble on tiny plants and lichens. A misstep could send them hurtling thousands of feet, yet they are seemingly at ease with heights and precarious footholds. They leave me, sometimes, gasping and sweaty-palmed.

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Gordon Dietzman
Gordon Dietzman 11 years ago

That would be great. I'm afraid I don't get out there very often, but who knows? Also, if you ever get to Minnesota, let me know... Still have some critters in the Glacier photo catalog that need ID, then I'll upload them to Noah. If you've got time, see for our Glacier adventures.

Yasser 11 years ago

Gordon, it was incredible and I'll definitely be visting again, hopefully in the near future. Next time, I'll drop you a line beforehand and maybe we can glass some slopes together!

Gordon Dietzman
Gordon Dietzman 11 years ago

It's a very cool place, isn't it? We found grizzly activity as well, but only spotted a brown-colored black bear in heavy brush so no photos. We spent several hours looking for grizzlies by glassing the slopes, but no luck. So we must have been there at the same time! Would have been much fun to have met up. Just posted a bunch of trip photos to my website, but still need to link them in to the navigation. Tomorrow maybe....

Yasser 11 years ago

Hey Gordon, I was just in Glacier National Park this past week for my very first time! It was incredible and I caught a glimpse of these amazing goats on my hike to Iceberg Lake. I had the same reaction as I watched them cross a large and dangerous rock face. What an incredible experience. There was some Grizzly activity as well, but all I came across were droppings and a partial paw print, which was probably a good thing as it was a mother with her cubs. Can't wait to visit again.

Gordon Dietzman
Spotted by
Gordon Dietzman

Montana, USA

Spotted on Jul 25, 2011
Submitted on Aug 3, 2011

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