Mountain Goats have been seen on El Capitan and are common visitors to the higher slopes in the Sawtooths. According to Douglas H. Chadwick's "A Beast the Color of White", Idaho was one of the first states to recognize in the 1950's that the goat population was dwindling. After instituting hunting limits, the goat population more or less stabilized, unlike many other areas. It is currently believed that there are 2200 to 2500 white climbers left in Idaho. Chadwick's book on Mountain Goats is virtually the only complete text on this wonderful animal. Although quite scientific and slightly out-dated, it should be a standard read for mountaineers. After all, climbers probably see more goats each year than any other group. Most people will never get to see the Mountain Goat in it's true, high elevation setting.
El Capitan was first climbed in 1935 by the Underhills and Dave Williams. Williams was a local jack of all trades, owning a butcher and bake shop, delivering mail, mining, mountain goat hunting, and apparently one of the first mountain guides in the region.
Here are the routes on El Capitan:
1) East Ridge (Class 3) - Just northwest of Alice Lakes at the 8600 ft level, leave the trail and head southeast up into a bowl on the north side of El Capitan. Find your way up to the east ridge, occasionally dropping down on the northeast side to avoid harder terrain. The summit ridge is magnificent as you can peer over the vertical north face.
2) Northeast Ridge (II 5.2) - Start just northeast of Alice Lakes on a bench and make your way up a series of ledges via short chimneys until you reach the steep headwall on the northeast side. Aim for the notch between the north summit and the true summit. Make your way south onto the true summit. Use the East Ridge to descend.
3) North Face (II 5.2) - Find the east face of the north tower (utilize the NE Ridge directions). From the notch described on the East Ridge, continue out onto the north face via a series of ledge systems. Climb the ledges via easy, but often loose rock.
Note: This trail is part of an amazing 22 mile loop possibility; Good trail run or backpack. Loop starts and finishes at Pettit Lake and passes many backcountry lakes: Toxaway, Twin, Farley, Alice
Maps: USGS Snowyside Peak Quad (43114-H8-TF-024), EarthWalk Sawtooth National Recreation Area Map (overview of the whole range)
Nearby Stanley, Idaho Climate Data:
|Average Max. Temperature (F)||27.0||33.7||42.5||50.3||59.9||68.4||78.7||78.4||68.6||56.6||38.1||26.0||52.4|
|Average Min. Temperature (F)||-0.5||0.3||9.7||20.3||28.3||33.9||36.0||34.0||27.2||20.6||12.0||-0.8||18.4|
|Average Total Precipitation (in.)||1.64||1.33||1.02||1.02||1.17||1.16||0.59||0.59||0.78||0.92||1.46||1.55||13.24|
|Average Total SnowFall (in.)||16.9||13.2||10.2||3.4||0.9||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.4||1.7||10.4||14.6||71.9|
|Average Snow Depth (in.)||18||20||15||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||8||6|
Latest Avalanche Report (Sawtooth Area)
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