DI012 The Climber

Most people have witnessed the spectacle of rock climbers as they scale verticle walls of rock with rope and little else. The Rocky Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus) puts on his own show, however, high among the lofty alpine ledges of North America's western mountain ranges. In fact, the verticle cliffs where goats live discourage most predators from pursuing them. Only the eagle has an advantage on the younger goats, or kids as they are called.

Biologists claim these white goats are in fact antelope that migrated during the last Pleistocene period over 18,000 years ago. Closely tied to the ebb and flow of glaciation, the goat's occupied habitat has shifted north and south with time along the Rocky Mountains as suitable forage and climate became available.

Mountain goats are presently found as far north as Alaska, and south into Utah and Colorado. Many of the goats transplanted throughout the west came from Olympic National Park, where park officials sought to reduce their impact on a fragile environment.