Type: Sport, 1300 ft, 11 pitches, Grade III
FA: Bryan Burdo, Scott Johnson
Page Views: 51,594 total · 656/month
Shared By: Bobby Hanson on Aug 1, 2012
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

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Prime Rib is an incredibly cool easy-moderate sport climb overlooking the Methow Valley. Solid rock, ample protection, easy access, and a wonderful location add up to a classic and fun romp up this massive wall.

Although there are 5.9 cruxes on this climb, they are all very short and very well-protected. Overall, the route is extremely generous in its bolting.

Pitch 1: Begin at a small fir tree. Head up easy 5th-class ledges to a large ledge with a bolted anchor next to a large fir. (5.4)

Pitch 2: Steep face to an anchor. (5.8)

Shift the belay to below a left-facing dihedral.

Pitch 3: Up the dihedral. You will pass a rappel anchor. Continue up to the anchor on the ledge with the large blocks. (5.7)

Pitch 4: Climb the face above through three steep cruxes. Juggy pockets just where you want them keep the grade moderate. End in the Notch. (5.9-)

Pitch 5: Climb the straight-forward face above. Belay at a tree. (5.7)

Shift the belay to the large fir by the wall. The top of the gully is here. It is my understanding that you can descend the gully from here. It might be an unpleasant "pinball" experience down the scree. Beware loose rock from above.

Pitch 6: Climb a nicely exposed face with a slight left-to-right traverse. (5.8)

Pitch 7: This pitch begins with a bouldery crux off the ledge. There are a couple more bouldery moves on this fun pitch. (5.9-)

Shift the belay again to below the juggy slab. There is a large fir tree here showing scars from the frequent rockfall at this spot. Beware, especially if there are parties above you here.

Pitch 8: Climb the fun juggy slab to a semi-hanging anchor. (5.8)

Pitch 9: This pitch follows a short, exposed traverse to the right. (5.4)

Pitch 10: Traverse back to the left. You will reach a 2-bolt anchor. It might be preferable to continue up to the beginning of the next pitch and belay off of the first bolt. If you opt to belay off of the 2-bolt anchor, be sure to shift your belay before starting Pitch 11. (Easy 5th-, 4th-, and 3rd class)

Pitch 11: The money pitch. Begin by ascending a short leaning pillar. Stem over to the main wall, and thrutch up a somewhat awkward set of features. Beyond, the awkwardness eases, but the difficulty remains consistent. (5.9)


Park at the swimming hole parking area, on Lost River Road, north of Mazama. The trailhead is 100 m north of the parking. Follow the trail up to the talus field. Cross the talus to gain the trail up and back to the left. The route begins at the foot of the buttress, just south of the cascading Goat Creek (on the south side of the next gully south of the creek, actually).

A more detailed description of the approach and the route itself can be found in Bryan Burdo's guidebook, or by asking at the Goat's Beard climbing shop in Mazama.

You can rappel the route with a single rope. Alternatively, you can park a car (or bike) shuttle on Goat Creek Road, and hike to the top and drive back down.

If opting for the car shuttle, drive up Goat Creek Road; turn left at the Y (hairpin). Follow the road up past 2 (?) cattle guards. At the second cattle guard, the road will begin descending. Park here. The trail should be on the left side of the road, just north of the barbed-wire fence.

To return to your vehicle from the top of Prime Rib, the key idea to keep in mind is that you are north of the barbed-wire fence, and there is a trail that runs all the way along the fence to the top of the wall.

From the top of Pitch 11, continue up 2nd- and 3rd-class ledges until you reach the forest. Continue uphill, aiming to stay on the ridge. If in doubt, go right (south). It is impossible to go too far right. Eventually you will find the fence. Follow it back to the road. Allow 30 minutes.


15 quickdraws. A single 60-m rope. Helmets. (Even though the climbing is on solid rock, there is an abundance of loose scree on ledges throughout the climb.)
davebright   Tacoma
A great first multi-pitch. The belay ledges are big, easy to communicate between leader and follower, and just great fun. Mar 19, 2013
Adrian Lazar
Adrian Lazar  
Park the car close to the winding road sign. As you hike up the horrendous scree slope, you'll notice remnants of an old mine train track.

Communication is impossible if it's windy and Goat creek is in full flow, i.e.: spring time.

The pass is now open, and conditions on this route are good. Apr 22, 2013
jeb013   Portland
Not sure what pitches we did this on (5 or 6) but we used a couple intermediate anchors and turned this into 13 pitches on accident, not a big deal just costs you even more time. I suggest getting the topo from goats beard gear shop, it's slightly better than the one on here (that does not show pitch 9). Aug 19, 2013
Tonasket, WA
applewood   Tonasket, WA
A fun route, but the grading is very soft - only the last pitch was as hard as 5.7 (no way a 5.9!, and in the Gunks it would probably only be a 5.6), the lower pitches were mostly easy 5th class with a few moves of up to 5.6. The rock quality is only so-so, with lots of loose rock (wear a helmet and be careful with rappels), but the exposure and views are very fine. Nov 6, 2013
Did this as a party of three. Bad idea on a busy labor day weekend. It was still fun nonetheless.

We got seven pitches in. Some things to note that hasn't been said in the route description and comments:

  • Pitch 1: Some people skipped it by heading left of the first bolt and working their way up a small chimney. We didn't do this so can't tell you how that goes.
  • Pitch 2: There's rap anchors about 10-15 feet belay the actual belay anchors. If it is not hangers, then don't belay from there. Save yourself some time.
  • Pitch 4: Use several alpine draws and extend them. You'll be going all over the place on this pitch. Once you're near the rap anchors (not the belay anchor), you'll feel like you're hauling a bus (over-exaggeration).
  • Pitch 7: Had an OK boulder start, nothing to write home about. My favorite move on the route was in the middle where you had a right handed pinch. You match on the pinch and extend your right to an undercling. At this point, you'll then switch feet and backstep with your left and flag out with your right to a positive foot hold extending your left hand to a positive crimp. Great exposure while doing a sweet move.

Don't worry about grades and just go out and enjoy this really fun route. Sep 3, 2014
David Carrier
White Salmon, WA
  5.9- PG13
David Carrier   White Salmon, WA
  5.9- PG13
This climb was so much fun we did it twice, partly because it was a great backup plan when Washington Pass was cold and wet. Definitely worthy of classic status. I found the cruxes to be right on grade at 5.9, though overall the climbing was 5.6-8.

In general the spacing of anchors is set up for single rope rappels, so we were able to combine several pitches. If you do this, take lots of draws unless you're going to skip bolts, and be sure to extend them. We used 22 draws on one pitch, and there was some rope drag.

We set up a car shuttle and had difficulty finding our way up Goat Mtn., but it was still faster than rappelling. Here are more specific directions: from Mazama store, go southeast on 9140 Goat Creek Rd. a couple of miles until you cross Goat Creek (caution: this same road is called Lost River Rd. to the northwest of Mazama store). Take a left on NF 52. Follow this up Goat Creek, cross the first cattle guard, and take a left at the Y intersection onto NF 5225. Follow this road several miles as it winds its way up Goat Mtn. Just when the road begins to descend the other side of Goat Mtn., you'll come to a cattle guard with a barbed wire fence. Park here- this is the fence you'll look for after topping out on the climb. Sep 22, 2015
Serge Smirnov
Seattle, WA
Serge Smirnov   Seattle, WA
48.6257, -120.4517 Oct 6, 2015
Chris Blodgett
Chris Blodgett   seattle
Great route, not going to argue the rating. Just a quick note, just walk up the skree to the route. The book will have you trying to right up into the Talus. That trail no longer exists or if just barely. Have fun and note the difference between belay anchors and rappel anchors, I believe that is where some people went wrong. Oct 18, 2015
  5.9- PG13
  5.9- PG13
Jon Nelson
Redmond, WA
Jon Nelson   Redmond, WA  
Thanks Harrington for posting that picture.

Anyone who trusts their life, or just limbs, to a single bolt should take a good look at that picture. Oct 27, 2015
Nick Sweeney
Spokane, WA
Nick Sweeney   Spokane, WA
Has the bolt in Harrington's photo been replaced? Apr 14, 2016
Redmond, WA
dantesupertramp   Redmond, WA
Just climbed this last weekend (9/3/16)! Great climb! Took us ~5 hrs (for a pair that has never done multipitch before)

@Nick Sweeny no, the bolt has not been replaced. This is the bottom of the last pitch and quite annoying since it's an exposed scramble up from the anchors at the top of the "scramble pitch"

Couple tips:

- There's an unofficial campground up the road (we camped here: 48.65616013,-120.52390142 ). Wouldn't navigate it in a car that isn't meant for off-road as the "road" through all the campsites is VERY uneven

- Park here: 48.618435, -120.451121 and start hiking at a small, gravel road just North on the main road (you'll should see a climber guestbook stand within about 100 ft down that gravel road)

- The approach is goddamn annoying. Steep uphill for about 3/4 mi or so, but every step is loose gravel/scree. Quite frustrating and exhausting. As @Serge Smirnov said, the base of the routes are here: 48.6257, -120.4517 and the first bolts will be about due East of you in a small "canyon" (not a great description, but close enough)

- As others have been saying, grading presented here is pretty true.

- We followed all pitches exactly, clipped every single bolt (but no quickdraws for anchors) and used no more than 15 draws (one pitch I think we used exactly 15). Note that on the 2nd pitch you'll get to two bolts next to each other and think "wow, this pitch was VERY short!". Just keep going past it and climb to the next set (those are for rappel on the way back down). [NOTE: by skipping this "anchor" spot, this makes the 11 pitches listed here (including the scramble) and not 12]

- There are some spots where rope drag was VERY (can not emphasize enough) bad! I found myself leading a pitch where the last 5 bolts or more I would have to stop, pull up rope with all my might (as if I was pulling up a full pack on the other end), get about 2-3 ft of slack in the rope, then make the next move. This was WITH extending draws and all that. There's maybe 3-4 pitches like this. Can't tell you how annoying and exhausting it is.

- Know what you're doing for the scramble between pitches 7 & 8 (you can find some GoPro captures on YouTube). There's a small trail, but it's easy to miss. The general beta is up for a bit, then to the left, and look for a big fir tree. The first bolt is about 10 ft up and there's no anchor bolts to belay from (just girth hitch a tree root).

- Finally, instead of rappelling down (which could probably take a while) you can park a car at the top beforehand (parking lot is here: 48.622813, -120.435467 ). There's a trail you can find at the very top, hike it maybe a mile or less NE to the road (stay on the West side of the fence), then follow the road up to the parking lot.

- Oh, and if you want to camp on the route it's definitely possible between a few pitches but probably not with a tent. Bivvy - MAYBE (I would just suggest a hammock if you insist on camping on the route).

Feel free to message me with any questions Sep 8, 2016
Steven Higdon
Rhododendron, OR
Steven Higdon   Rhododendron, OR
Hey everyone,

How's the quality up on Prime Rib this season? Any beta on snow conditions and route finding to the start of the climb?


Steve May 15, 2017
Kyle Elliott
Everett, WA
Kyle Elliott   Everett, WA

Prime rib is in condition. a little patch of snow on the huge ledge before pitch 8, as of last weekend (probably gone now). all goat wall routes are in condition with the exception of Restless natives, which was still seeping (as waterfalls do).

crux of prime rib is the impossibly loose scree field. my recommendation is to cut right onto larger boulders once the trail opens up onto the scree until you are at the base, then traverse left and up to the start of the route. May 16, 2017
Bowen island, BC, Canada
GTD   Bowen island, BC, Canada
Just climbed prime rib and it was fantastic, all dry and good. We had also decided to attempt the walk off from the top rather than rapping down. Not sure if anyone has posted this yet, but here is our time line if anyone wanted to try this, it was very long but a fun trip.
Left truck at 10:30am, goat wall by 10:45, climb took us till 5:38with a lunch break, scrambled to the top 6pm, found the fence and walked to the road 6:08, down to goat creek bridge 8:54, lost creek road 9:30, Mazama store 10:15, truck 11:15pm. 21km walk off.
If this is helpful feel free to repost it. May 21, 2017
Nick Sweeney
Spokane, WA
Nick Sweeney   Spokane, WA
Rope drag was not an issue for us- bring A LOT of alpine draws. We brought 6 and I was wishing for more. The climbing is not sustained at 5.9, and the bolting is extremely generous. Fun climb, and makes for a really good first multipitch for the aspiring alpine rock climber.

NOTE: There have been two rappelling deaths in the last two years on this wall. There's no excuse - double check your own system and your partner's. Take your time rappelling. Tie knots in the end of your ropes. Use a backup for the first rappeller, and then give the next person a fireman's belay. Consider using a car shuttle or bike shuttle from the top - it is much easier and faster than rappelling. Stay safe out there. May 22, 2017
FYI, the belay anchor (not for rappelling) is still missing from the bottom of the last pitch. You can easily back up the single bolt with a double shoulder length sling around the attached rock (there is a detached rock near the belay station too)... or just begin the next lead by clipping the first (easy) bolt and come back to the belay station.

I really enjoyed this route since the climbing is relatively easy and well bolted which makes it a good introduction to multi-pitch climbing. Just be sure to allocate enough time for this one, we started at 5AM from the parking lot both of us where at the top by noon. We didn't get back to the car until 5 or 6PM (can't remember exactly since my brain was fried). I know we could have gone faster, but our multi-pitch skills where a bit rusty.

Note that if you decide to rappel down, you will be down climbing some 3rd-4th class terrain and you will be doing a LOT of rappels. Coming down the route was only slightly faster than going up for us... and walking off would have probably been faster. Jul 24, 2017
Serge Smirnov
Seattle, WA
Serge Smirnov   Seattle, WA
One can park at 48.618435, -120.451121 as dantesupertramp indicated, but for this route better parking is 48.6224, -120.4548. The difference is ~5 min walking along the road. Sep 12, 2017
Belle .
Belle .   Everywhere
Watch out for half camo half striped rattlesnake. Great climb to learn multi pitch, and the approach is completely under estimated. Its 2 hours of straight vertical 3rd class, all on scree. Again, perfect for new climbers who aspire to the classic peaks of the world someday. Coming down is brutal, but much better with a partner to lean on. Definitely recommend for those whose spirit is willing and flesh is weak. May 27, 2018
Charles Yang
Phoenix, AZ
Charles Yang   Phoenix, AZ
Trip Report Below:

Woke up at 4am to be first. Success!

Simul climbed the whole thing. Linked 1-2, 3-5, 6-7, 8-11.

1 liter of water, cliff bar and apple jacks, thirteen 60cm alpine draws, fourteen 17cm draws, 70m 8.9mm rope, rain jacket.

High of 65F partly cloudly. Good t-shirt weather while moving. Cold while not moving.

Trail head is 100 ft down the road (away from Mazama store) on the right side. Super obvious. If you pass a small bridge you went to far. Follow the trail trending up towards the scree field. You'll do a little switch backing and pass an old concrete structure. Looks like somebody camped at the base of it. Keep going up and you'll get out of the forest and arrive at the base of the scree field. The trail becomes harder to follow here. Head up the bigger rocks. There's a bunch of branches/logs that point you in the right direction. It is loose watch your step. Once you get to the base of the wall, head left along the based and go up a gully. Trail is somewhat more obvious. Keep going up the gully and look to your right for the first bolt, about 15ft off the ground.

5:02: started hiking from parking lot
5:32: arrived at base, rested and got ready
5:46: started P1
6:23: started P3
7:19: started P6
8:11: started P8
9:07: summit in 3.5 hours

Other tips:
1. P1 and P2 was hard to communicate due to the nearby creek/waterfall. Bring walkies. You won't be able to see each other for most of the route if linking pitches.

2. Bring a helmet you get showered by small rocks rappelling.

3. Comparing the approach to Flyboys, the trail is less developed through the talus field and more talus-y. Flyboys is easier to get to.

3. There's a couple minutes of a scrambling/walking between some pitches. We kept our climbing shoes on. They were short.

4. Skipped the occasional bolt on easy terrain to reduce rope drag. You can also clip the next bolt on some parts and remove the draw from the previous bolt because some are less then a body length apart.

5. If you're rapping the route, use a back up! Jun 4, 2018
Leave a car at the top or 2 bikes and use the road to get down. 1000X safer and easier than rapping. Jun 5, 2018
Andrew Helwer
Seattle, WA
Andrew Helwer   Seattle, WA
Prime Rib is great, it's getting down that gives you the most trouble. Options are:

- Stashing a car at the top beforehand, then getting to the base with a second car, a bike, or on foot
- Walking off the top then hiking (or biking, with a stashed bike) 12 miles back to the base
- Rappelling

We opted to rappel, although strongly considered stashing a bike at the top. We later heard someone's stashed bike had been stolen.

If I were to do it again, I would only rappel with a 70m rope. Rappelling from the pitch 10/11 chains with a 60m rope puts you in the middle of a steep wall several meters above the pitch 8/9 chains! (since pitch 9 and pitch 10 are traverses, we skipped rappelling them - cutting straight down the zip-zag) We had to make an anchor of last resort on a sketchy half-dead tree then down-lead to the pitch 8/9 chains - definitely a no-fall scenario, even though you can clip a bolt on the way. Also, a 60m rope isn't long enough to fully rappel down pitch 8 or pitch 2, requiring a few meters of unprotected (although easy) downclimbing to the large ledges.

We linked most of the early pitches (plus pitches 8 & 9) and brought 22 alpine/quickdraws; never ran out.

There is no belay anchor at the bottom of pitch 8 as it's a very large ledge; when you're hunting for the route, you'll have to look for bolts. Ignore the path leading to the right along the wall up into a chossy couloir, there's nothing there.

There are several USFS-maintained campsites near the base, for $8/night. We stayed at Early Winters campground, although saw several people camping on the side of the road near the Goat Wall parking lot. Jul 2, 2018
Anthony M
Bellevue, WA
Anthony M   Bellevue, WA
Fun on the way up, not so much on the way down. This was the first long multi-pitch for both my partner and me. We definitely lost time on the scrambles hunting between pitches, especially looking for the beginning of P8. Otherwise, decent climbing, but great views and great exposure. Didn't see any missing bolts at the anchor, so that must have been repaired. We didn't have too much trouble with loose rock, except on P8 where my partner went a little off route trying to find the anchors (they were right in front of her) and showered me a bit.

A few comments (and the climbing shop) mentioned biking down as an option. We opted for it, so rented two bikes, stashed them in the woods up top, and then shuttled the car back down to the base of the climb. It's approximately 13 miles from road at peak back to the parking turnout, with around 8 of those being very bumpy downhill. If you can car shuttle, that is definitely preferable. Jul 7, 2018
Nick Lenn
Nick Lenn  
Did this 7/15. Lots of good GPS way-points listed in other comments for parking at both bottom and top if you're doing the walk-off. We van-camped right at the parking area. Off the main road look for a little gravel road with a visible climbing register to find the trail. Still a great climb in the summer just start early to beat the heat. We started at 4:30am and even with a slower partner did the entire climb in the shade. What I really didn't find mentioned in other beta was to find the first set of bolts to belay from you have to scramble up a gully at the top of the scree field and onto a ledge. The trail is fairly well worn in and obvious, but if in doubt scramble up. The bolts will be off to the right out towards the road. There's only a couple 5.9ish (even that's debatable) moves on the route. Fun cruxes and very well protected. Trail for the walk-off was easy to find. We marked a GPS spot to find our bikes that we stashed the night before. It's 14.5mi ride back to the trail-head. The ride wasn't bad but a bike with at least front suspension is mandatory as the road is quite bumpy. Jul 16, 2018
Junjie Guan
Shenzhen, CN
Junjie Guan   Shenzhen, CN
A long sport climb that can be enjoyed by climbers with different experience. Bolts are so generous. You can skip some bolts base on your comfort level. Cruxes are short. Rappel station hunting was adventurous. A topo from the local supply shop helps a lot! Approach/descend trail is terrible. Bring approach shoes!

Linked 6 - 7 pitch unknowingly with 70M rope (another party with 60M rope seem did it too). Glad that I skip as much bolt as possible when climbing, so I have enough draw for the link.

Note that the bolt at the base of 11 pitch is still missing. This is not a huge concern since pitch 10 is mostly scrambling. (I slung a rock for anchor. Saw people build an anchor with one bolt. ) Aug 4, 2018
Climbed as a 3, and rapped down with 2 70m ropes. Was a long day, 12 hours car 2 car, but we didnt have to wait, even on a Labour day weekend which was nice.
With 2 70m ropes you can get down in 5 raps which speeds things up, this wouldn't be possible with 2 60m ropes however. Most of the loose rock in the rap lines has been cleared, but be super careful pulling the rope if there is someone below! If the route is busy (which doesn't seem to be the case now that Fly Boys gets all the traffic), you'll probably be getting in a lot of peoples way as well.
Pitch 11
Pitch 10-8 (at rope stretch) - Loose rock to lookers right, which is also where the wind seems to blow, so be very careful throwing and pulling the rope here.
Pitch 7-5
Pitch 4-3
Pitch 2
Scramble down the gully next to pitch 1 as there is too much loose rock to safely rap this one. Sep 7, 2018