In a death-defying manoeuvre, a mountain goat stretches to reach a mineral lick. Joel knew it was a favourite lick and had stationed himself at the other side of the gorge in Glacier National Park, Montana. When this female arrived, he watched as, slowly and methodically, she first balanced on all four feet on a single, tiny ledge and then pushed out with her front legs and wedged herself into the crevice, her rubbery hooves spread out for maximum grip. 'They never rush,' says Joel. 'They have to be so careful about where they put their feet, testing each foothold, because every step could be their last.' When she'd finished, the mountain goat reversed the move, carefully balancing again on the tiny ledge and then slowly turning around so that she could climb back up the mountain face and rejoin the rest of the herd.
Nikon D3 + 200-400mm f4 lens; 1/500 sec at f4 (-1.3 e/v); ISO 2000.
Glacier National Park, Montana, USA