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Prime Rib of Goat 

YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Sport, 11 pitches, 1300', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Bryan Burdo, Scott Johnson
Page Views: 37,075
Submitted By: kBobby Hanson on Aug 1, 2012

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Fog on Prime Rib


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.)

Photos of Prime Rib of Goat Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: mid route
mid route
Rock Climbing Photo: Finally made it to the top of P11. Spooky finish!
Finally made it to the top of P11. Spooky finish!
Rock Climbing Photo: The Au Cheval rap anchor view July 2016
The Au Cheval rap anchor view July 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the Methow River Valley below.
View of the Methow River Valley below.
Rock Climbing Photo: View of Pitch 5. The photo has been taken from the...
BETA PHOTO: View of Pitch 5. The photo has been taken from the...
Rock Climbing Photo: View of Pitch 1 from the base of the route.
BETA PHOTO: View of Pitch 1 from the base of the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: This is a good view of the 8th pitch which starts ...
BETA PHOTO: This is a good view of the 8th pitch which starts ...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is a Google Earth overview of the climb which...
BETA PHOTO: This is a Google Earth overview of the climb which...
Rock Climbing Photo: Fall colors from the top of P9
Fall colors from the top of P9
Rock Climbing Photo: Great exposure
Great exposure
Rock Climbing Photo: Somewhere on P5ish.
Somewhere on P5ish.
Rock Climbing Photo: topo

Comments on Prime Rib of Goat Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 12, 2017
By davebright
From: Tacoma
Mar 19, 2013

A great first multi-pitch. The belay ledges are big, easy to communicate between leader and follower, and just great fun.
By Adrian Lazar
Apr 22, 2013
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

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.
By jeb013
From: Portland
Aug 19, 2013

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).
By applewood
From: Tonasket, WA
Nov 6, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

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.
By Quy
Sep 3, 2014

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.
By David Carrier
From: White Salmon, WA
Sep 22, 2015
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c 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.
By Serge Smirnov
Oct 6, 2015

48.6257, -120.4517
By Chris Blodgett
Oct 18, 2015

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.
By Harrington
Oct 27, 2015
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13

Rock Climbing Photo: One of the anchors is gone at the bottom of the la...
One of the anchors is gone at the bottom of the last pitch (#11/12 depending if you count the easy scramble)
By Jon Nelson
From: Bellingham, WA
Oct 27, 2015

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.
By Nick Sweeney
From: Spokane, WA
Apr 14, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Has the bolt in Harrington's photo been replaced?
By dantesupertramp
Sep 8, 2016

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
By Steven Higdon
From: Portland, OR
May 15, 2017

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?


By Kyle Elliott
From: Everett, WA
May 16, 2017
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c


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.
From: Bowen island, BC, Canada
May 21, 2017

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.
By Nick Sweeney
From: Spokane, WA
May 22, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

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.
By Brian Maher
Jul 24, 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.
By Serge Smirnov
Sep 12, 2017

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.

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