Prime Rib of Goat, Mazama, WA
Rob, Gerry, Ben, and I headed out to the Winthrop/Mazama area on the 4th of July and took the whole weekend off, giving us 4 days of climbing and hiking! We decided to do Prime Rib of Goat that Friday, which we had been wanting to do for a while, since we figured it would be a nice rest from the alpine start we had the day before and would be less crowded than on the weekend. We woke up in our luxurious Winthrop cabin around 8am, planned to be on the road by 9, but of course took longer than expected and were on the road at 9:30. Having done our homework we heard that the car drop was the way to go, that took about an hour (maybe longer with my honda civic.) After we shuttled out car we parked and were on the approach trail slightly after 11:30.
The approach trail was not too long, but it was hot out! Going up the boulder/scree field right before noon was less than pleasant, and when we finally reached the base of the first pitch we were cover with sweat and fighting for the tiny bits of shade. One thing we hadn’t read about in either the book or another site was that there was a waterfall next to the beginning of the route, which was beautiful but also loud, thankfully we had brought radios and were able to put them to good use!
We paired up into teams, Rob and myself, and Ben and Gerry (hehe), Rob had a camera and I didn’t, so that’s why most of the photos are from Rob’s point of view. I led the first pitch, which was super easy, and was thankful that the chains at the top were in the shade of a nice tree.
Rob lead the 2nd pitch, which was a nice 5.7 that past a set of rappel chains. I enjoyed standing in the shade while belaying him 🙂 From the 2nd to the 3rd pitch there was a short scramble/walk. The 3rd pitch was a 5.6+, mostly easy but I got a little sketched out at the first few moves, not that they were hard, just awkward with a high potential to deck.
Rob then lead pitch 4, that ended in a saddle with anchors on both side. he chose to go with the nearest anchors, which created a bit of rope drag for my 5th pitch.
If we were to When we do this again I would go to the further set of bolts to create less drag on the 5th pitch. Out of all my leads that day the 5th pitch was by far my favorite. A very moderate 5.6 with some fun moves and no “scary” moves, just pure climbing bliss.
Rob then lead the 6th, 7th and 8th pitch at my request (I didn’t feel up to leading anything over a 5.7 that day), which were all hard pitches! The 7th pitch has a boulder start move, but once you find the juggy handhold it wasn’t so bad. There was a bit of a walk between the 7th and 8th pitch. I would recommend coiling the rope in between these pitches for easier going, we didn’t and regretted it. The 8th pitch is to the left and under a nice big shady tree, which we used to take a “shoes-off” break and eat some lunch before getting back to business.
I lead the easy 9th and 10th pitches (hey, I have to pull some weight after Rob lead all the hard stuff.) The 9th pitch was mostly a traverse, with very easy climbing but kind of a head game because it was super exposed. The 10th pitch you have an option to climb to the left or scramble to the right, obviously we chose to climb! I could not however find the anchor for the base of the 11th pitch and ended up using the rappel anchors slightly lower. Ben and Gerry couldn’t find them either, but figured the bottom was ledge-y enough and the first bolt low enough that they didn’t need it.
Rob lead the last pitch which was by far the hardest and the only one that we wish there were more bolts on (could have used another 2-3 bolts). The wind was picking up, the sun was going down, and we were all happy to be done! We snapped some pictures, waited for Ben to reach the belay station, finished our water, and then left.
At the top of the 11th pitch we kept our rock shoes on (which I would recommend unless you have approach shoes) for the first few 100 feet and head up. We kept going up until it leveled out a bit then headed a bit to the right until we hit a barbed wire fence. We followed the trail next to the fence until we hit the road at the cow gate. From there the parking lot was only a few hundred feet up the road. In total the walk off took at least 30 min. We got back to the car at 9, so that whole climb with the approach and walk off took our group of four 9 1/2 hours.