December 11-15, 2013
I returned to the Bozeman Icefest again this year, once again for work–slightly less doe-eyed than last year however. Many of the climbing luminaries I met last year were present as well as a few new ones. It was great to meet Ines Papert, Jay Smith, and Dave Macleod, Sam Elias.
Unlike last year I drove up to Montana. Matt and I headed up in the Subie with 172,000+ miles. Weather was expected to be clear for the weekend so no major snowstorms to worry about. We left the morning of Dec. 11 for the 6.5 hour drive. Overall it was a pretty easy drive except for going through a pass at Island Park were it was snowing a bit and the last 60 miles where there was some packed ice on the roads. Nothing too worrisome but did slow our pace from the posted 70mph limit (thank you MT!).
I stayed with Kathy and Frank Coyle for the weekend who were the best hosts. Breakfast, coffee, furry friends-Sharma and Lotse greeted me each morning. Staying with the Coyles was also great because of the location at the mouth of Hyalite Canyon. I was definitely in the shower at the end of the day before everyone else could even get into town.
Similar to last year there was a flurry of work, climbing, eating, and drinking to be done. For being a relatively small town there is a great number of choices to eat and drink in town. This year some of the highlights were Ted’s for a Number 11 bison burger, Montana Ale Works for bacon wrapped bison meatloaf, guacamole mole burger at Copper, as well a numerous drinks at all of these fine establishments as well as many others. Not the least of which was Jack Tackle’s house. While no 25 year Macallan was opened, there were some fine malts opened. Jack makes a mean martini as well.
I wasn’t able to get a rope gun for any routes like Cleopatra’s Needle this time. I thought I might be joining Belcourt for a trip up Winter Dance (WI6 M8), but Ines Papert paired up with him for a blast up the ill-frequently forming route. Ines made the route onsight and was the third female ascent up the route. Belcourt likely made the second FYOA, fifty year old ascent behind Conrad Anker.
It was another great time and I’m hoping to get up there again next year.