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is for anyone interested in:
  • Biology and conservation of the mountain goat and other seldom-seen wildlife of the alpine zone
  • The harsh beauty and magic of North America's wildest wildlands
University Press of Colorado 2014
Hard cover: 192 pages, 107 color photos, $34.95
ISBN: 978-1-60732-291-7
Revised soft cover edition, Lyons Press 2020; $27.95
ISBN: 978-1-4930-4866-3

     Life on the Rocks serves up a look at perhaps the greatest mountaineer the peaks have ever known.  In large, full color format are dozens of stunning photographs of North America’s mountain goat and other unique animals and panoramas of the West’s alpine zone.
     These images are accompanied by a readable description of this evolutionary novelty that roams the rugged high country.  Beyond a natural history primer, Life on the Rocks explains the conservation challenges facing the mountain goat and other alpine species across the U.S. and Canadian West’s great mountain ranges. Woven throughout the text are my experiences living in Montana’s Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area where my affection for this shaggy cliff-walker began.

What others are saying about Life on the Rocks:

“What’s it really like to be a mountain goat, living higher and steeper year-round than any other mammal in North America? And what does a warming climate hold in store for shaggy wild climbers shaped by the extreme cold and deep snows found among the peaks? Bruce Smith’s blend of photography, natural history, wildlife management, and tales of personal adventure is a delightful source of answers.”  —Douglas H. Chadwick, author of A Beast the Color of Winter

“The noble mountain goat is exquisitely adapted to place. As this fine book makes clear, though, people are changing those places, and fast. Here’s one more face of creation asking implicitly that we back off some.”  —
Bill McKibben, environmentalist and author of The End of Nature and Deep Economy

“Life on the Rocks presents to the general public an overview of the biology of one of the least understood but highly charismatic animals of North America. In both text and stunning images, Bruce Smith reveals his own experience with mountain goats and uses his passion for alpine environments and nature to raise attention for conservation needs of the 21st century.”  —
Steeve Côté, Professor of Biology, Laval University, Quebec, Canada

“Life on the Rocks expertly weaves together the ecology and magic of North America’s most unique mountain dweller. With prose as vivid and inspiring as the dramatic photos of mountain goats in their stark, tilted world, Bruce Smith shares his love and knowledge of an animal few will ever see in the wild.”  —Chris Smith, Western Field Representative, Wildlife Management Institute


Awards Received for Life on the Rocks


Life on the Rocks:
A Portrait of the American Mountain Goat

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