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for people who care about the West

Photos: The elusive & iconic American mountain goat

A biologist documents the natural history and lives of the North American quadrupeds.


Veteran U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Bruce Smith turns the lens on one of North America’s most elusive quadrupeds, the American mountain goat, in this photo-driven tribute. From a goat enjoying a gentle snooze in a summer patch of snow to one tackling a tenuous foothold on a sheer Glacier National Park cliff side, Life on the Rocks blends images from some of North America’s most remote and breathtaking landscapes with Smith’s accounts of his adventures in search of this icon of the high alpine cliffs and meadows — and also the longtime mascot of High Country News.

For readers more interested in the biology and behavior of mountain goats, the author weaves in details about natural history, as well as information about current threats to the animals’ habitat, including increased backcountry access for motorized vehicles, logging and mining, and climate change.

Life on the Rocks: A Portrait of the American Mountain Goat
By Bruce Smith, 192 pages, large-format hardcover: $34.95. University Press of Colorado, 2018.