Goat wall is a 1500 foot wall that rises up above the Methow River, just off of the valley floor, right here in Mazama. The rock is a metamorphosed, sedimentary rock and while it doesn’t fracture into clean crack systems, it does offer an abundance of edges that make this rock supremely climbable.
The approaches are short, and all of the climbs on the wall are bolt protected and offer rappel descents. The user-friendly nature of these climbs makes them great venues when the weather is poor in the high mountains, or when you want to spend all day climbing with a minimal approach and descent.
Prime Rib, is likely one of the longest, moderate sport routes in America. With 12 pitches of climbing in the mid-fifth class range, the climb is characterized by lots of 5.6 – 5.7 climbing with short 5.8 cruxes interspersed throughout. There is one small 5.9 crux on the final pitch (which is optional). The route provides great views of the Methow Valley and as you get higher, sweeping panoramas of Silver Star and the North Cascades.
The approach is relatively short and typically takes between 20-30 minutes, gaining a few hundred feet. After parking at the Mazama swimming hole on the Methow River, we hike past an old sorting station for the Mazama Queen mine, and up to a boulder field that leads to the base of the wall.
Once at the base of the climb, we switch into rock shoes and climb pitch after pitch of fun, moderate face climbing. Most of the climbing is between 5.6 and 5.7 and in general, the crux sections are short. If you have a small pack, you can climb with it to carry a water bottle, a windbreaker, and some snacks. If not, your guide can easily stash those things in their pack so you can enjoy the climbing unencumbered. From the top, its many (around 14) rappels back to the base to where we cached the rest of our gear. After a quick hike back to the car, we often end this day with a dunk in the river. This, of course, is optional, though on hot days, highly recommended.
- Climbers should know how to belay and be comfortable following mid-fifth class rock.
- We generally leave packs at the base of the climb.
- Previous experience rappelling is helpful, though not required.
Generally, Prime Rib takes the better part of a day and it's very unusual to have energy left for more climbing afterward. That said, there have been a few occasions where we have finished the day out with a few pitches at Fun Rock for climbers wanting to end the day with a pump. After climbing Prime Rib, many folks like to get up into the mountains for a climb like the Beckey route, or SW rib of SEWS. For another day of multi-pitch face climbing that is just a bit harder, consider checking out the Methow Inspiration route, also on Goat Wall.