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.
Established by several NCMG guides, Sisyphus has become a local favorite on Goat Wall. The climb offers 9 pitches of 5.8 – 5.10 climbing with one short 5.11a crux that can be aided through by pulling on quickdraws. One of the things that make the climb so enjoyable is that the pitches are quite variable, offering different types of climbing throughout and every pitch tends to be fairly sustained at its grade. Not quite a testpiece, Sisyphus is a challenging and highly rewarding route.
The approach is relatively short and typically takes between 20-30 minutes, gaining a few hundred feet. The approach has one small section of fourth class, aided by a fixed line, where your guide will secure you with an additional belay.
Once at the base of the climb, we switch into rock shoes and start up the first few moderate pitches. the third pitch is the first crux and provides exposed, technical climbing for a full rope length. Several more moderate pitches bring us to the true crux; a thin steep slab with well protected balancy moves. A few more pitches bring us to a giant ledge 2/3rds of the way up Goat Wall where the route ends. From here, its many rappels back to the base to where we cached the rest of our gear.
- Climbers should know how to belay and be comfortable following rock up to 5.11.
- We generally leave packs at the base of the climb.
- Previous experience rappelling is helpful, though not required.
For another day of multi-pitch face climbing that is just a bit easier, consider checking out the Methow Inspiration route, also on Goat Wall. If you are comfortable climbing in this grade range, some of the must-do routes at Washington Pass include the Direct East Buttress on SEWS, and the West Face on NEWS.