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Goat Triggers Avalanche, Takes ‘Significant’ 1,000-Foot Ride in Big Sky, Montana

Yes, this really happened.

mountain goatA mountain goat emerged unscathed after taking a 1,000-foot ride on an avalanche in Montana's Gallatin National Forest; (photo/Shutterstock)
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For those living in the mountains, triggering an avalanche is the ultimate fear — unless, perhaps, you’re a mountain goat.

Big Sky Ski Patrol reported two natural avalanches on Dec. 15, one of which seemed to be caused by a goat, they wrote in a report for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

Investigation of the snow slide showed goat tracks leading into the “crown area” of the avalanche, according to ski patrollers. Their investigation showed that the goat had “taken the full ride in the slide that it triggered,” the report said. Patrollers found a depression in the debris pile where the goat ended up after its surprise ride, as well as hoofprints leading upslope for a long walk to rejoin its herd.

Judging by the report, patrollers clearly had a sense of humor about the goat emerging unscathed from the experience.

“There was no blood, and the tracks looked usual, with no obvious sign of broken legs,” they wrote. “It is unknown if the goat was wearing an airbag or if it was deployed in the avalanche.”

An image of the avalanche location, where the mountain goat walked back to its herd after a “long ride;” (photo/Big Sky Ski Patrol)

The goat’s “significant ride” lasted for about 1,000 feet, likely at a high speed.

All jokes aside, avalanches represent a real danger, and we humans should remain cautious when entering. Yes, apparently, even if you are as nimble as an alpine-trodding goat.

“Choose terrain carefully,” the avalanche center wrote in a Dec. 17 follow-up forecast. “Consider the consequences of an avalanche if you travel on or below slopes steeper than 30 degrees, and thoughtfully evaluate the snowpack for the potential of an avalanche. Clear signs that you should stay off steep slopes include cracking, collapsing, recent avalanches, or poor stability test scores.”

After all, we’re not all mountain goats. We’re humans, with access to avalanche forecasting, slope angle tools, courses on avalanche safety, and much more.

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