Nov 10

Mountain Goats

Ibex, Steinbock & Chamois

Here’s the question: what’s the difference between an ibex, a steinbock and a chamois? Here’s our quick answer:

Ibex & Steinbock

The ibex and the steinbock are the same thing. The scientific name is Capra ibex, a species of mountain goat that thrives in the high places of the European Alps. It’s common name is Alpine ibex.

English speakers call him an ibex.
Germans call him a Steinbock.
Italians call him a stambecco.
French call him a bouquetin.
Slovenians call him a kozorog.
Astrologers call him Capricorn.


Characteristics: His enormous backward curving horns give him away. The horns of a male ibex can reach lengths of more than three feet. Males commonly grow to about three feet tall and weight between 150 and 200 pounds.

Habitat: Steep, rocky terrain at snowline.
Check out our Gran Paradiso Trek for an opportunity to get up close with these majestic animals. The Gran Paradiso National Park boasts a herd of more than 4,000 ibex.

Chamois

A chamois is an entirely different animal. Referred to as Rupicapra rupicapra, a chamois is a goat-antelope species that, while originally native to the mountains of Europe, now roams as far of New Zealand.

English and French speakers call him a chamois.
Italians call him a camoscio.
Germans call him a Gämse.

Characteristics: Chamois have short, somewhat straightish horns, which hook backward at the tip. A fully-grown chamois reaches a height around 2 and a-half feet and weighs an average of 45 to 65 pounds, considerably smaller than an ibex.
Habitat: Steep, rocky terrain at moderately high altitudes.
The chamois is a popular game animal in Europe, highly prized for the taste of its meat. Chamois hides also produce a soft cloth with exceptional absorbant qualities. This is where chamois leather, colloquially known as ‘shammy’, comes from. If you’ve hiked with us in Europe, then you’ve probably seen chamois horns adorning the many beer stubes and mountain huts that dot the Alps.
Images: Steinbock, (Kozorog), in Slovenia’s Julian Alps. Courtesy of Slovenia Tourism, Tomo Jesenicnik. Chamois in the Val di Rhemes. Courtesy of Val di Rhemes Tourism.
You Might Also Like...
While the world is slowed to a stop, at Ryder-Walker we have been reminiscing about
Quarantine Routine with Babsi Glanznig The intention of this short sequence is to ground and
Six Yoga Postures for Hikers, Backpacker’s & Stay-at-Homers Easy but very effective yoga asanas (postures)
The Health Benefits of Hiking When you are thinking about how to keep healthy where
Five Reasons to Choose a Guided Group Trek If you aspire to experience an unforgettable
4 reasons singles should book a guided Ryder-Walker trek! For years, Ryder-Walker has attracted couples,
Ryder-Walker’s Tips on Trekking Poles, Boots and Hiking Techniques Do you ever find yourself questioning
The Advantages to Booking Early for Your Ryder-Walker Adventure You might not be thinking about
The Perfect Holiday Gift This holiday season give the gift of a life-changing vacation with
Training For A Hiking Trip As you are preparing for your next Ryder-Walker hiking trip,
  Trekking Poles So, you are getting ready to embark on your Ryder-Walker hiking trip
Building Artificial Glaciers for an Agricultural Future in Ladakh Climate change continues its grim march

Travel and the Coronavirus for Ryder-Walker Guests

Ryder-Walker is monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and acknowledges that there is growing uncertainty about the safety of traveling right now. Currently, our guided and self-guided treks are on schedule to run. Should travel restrictions be implemented by local or global authorities we will post updates on this link.

For more information please visit the websites of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.