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Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby Vermont Mike » Sun May 26, 2013 5:36 pm

Saw half a dozen goats on the cliffs above Love Meadow south of Princeton a couple days ago. Not sure if they wander further up the slopes of Princeton very often, but they're definitely in the area. Also a sizable group of bighorn ewes in the same meadow.

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby boudreaux » Sun May 26, 2013 10:26 pm

I don't know if it's the best place, but I've seen goats on Squaw Mountain in Clear Creek Co west of Evergreen on Hwy 103. That whole area is a ridge that extends from the Evans massif, many rocky points that are easily accessible.

I would say Quandary Peak is one of the top spots along with the Blue Lakes Dam area in Monte Cristo Creek. Even the road above treeline is good, they love rooting for salt along that road. If your parked car is crusty enough from the winter mag chlor, the goats will absolutely love your car.

Chicago Basin is very good too! They came down one evening and licked my poles real good. I was sleeping in the tent and heard this noise like someone was setting up a tent nearby, noise sounded like putting together tent poles. Got up to look and my poles once standing, now were on the ground, but when I picked them up, the handles were all slimey and disgusting. I had to laugh, but even had to hang those up in a tree! Who Knew!
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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby chinookhead » Mon May 27, 2013 8:51 am

Thanks everyone for the info........very helpful.


It now sounds more likely now that I'll "suffer" :-D the crowds of Chicago Basin in order to see mountain goats. I think I'll first climb and explore the Ruby Basin area for a week and then if I don't get my "fill" of goat viewing there, I'll buy a ticket and go to Chicago Basin. IS the Chicago Basin area even crowded in July on weekdays around the Columbine lake and Hazel lake areas? I do realize that the drive into Ruby Basin will still be quite a "schlep"........but at least there is not the 90 dollar ticket and fixed schedule with which to contend with.


Also, D Baker, those pictures are amazing. Do you mind telling me in what area of Ruby Basin and at what time of year you spotted those goats?

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby dehrlich101 » Mon May 27, 2013 9:55 am

chinookhead wrote: I do realize that the drive into Ruby Basin will still be quite a "schlep"........but at least there is not the 90 dollar ticket and fixed schedule with which to contend with.


Sorry to break it to you but you'll still have to buy the train ticket to get to Ruby Basin, or hike the extra 18+ RT miles to get there from the Purgatory trailhead.

Here is chicagotransplants Summitpost route description with how to get to Ruby Basin.

http://www.summitpost.org/north-ridge/638725
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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby chinookhead » Mon May 27, 2013 11:41 am

Dehrlich101, I thought that D Baker was referring to the area around Ruby Lake at the end of the Lime Mesa Trail as "Ruby Basin". I did not realize until now that there is another Ruby Lake in the immediate area.

What a let down.......I was excited about there possibly being goats at this Ruby Lake that connects with Emerald Lake just East of Overlook Point. I guess now it is even more likely that I'll hike into Chicago Basin.

That hike into "Ruby Basin" that you linked to looks like a serious navigational challenge, but it could be fun. I imagine with its navigational challenges that it shouldn't be too crowded. Are there any class 3 and under fun peaks in Ruby Basin? Monitor Peak (North Ridge) looks a bit too sketchy for my comfort to try alone. Also, anyone see or catch any fish in this "Ruby Basin" Ruby Lake?

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby d_baker » Mon May 27, 2013 6:03 pm

Chinook, I don't know about the fishing up around Ruby Basin. I'm sure you would be fine hiking Turret & Pk 12. Pigeon too, maybe. I don't know what that route is like in summer conditions though.
I wrote a report from my trip in there last summer -- which we did Pk 15, Pk 12, and Pk 11. Also Glacier Pt.
The goats were in our camp everyday we were there, and within feet of our tent. Neat experience!

If you're interested, here's my report: This One Goes to 11

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