January Bozeman Ice Climbing

Corey rapping down from our quick shot on Dribbles.
Corey rapping down from our quick shot on Dribbles.

January 29-31, 2016

After getting up at 4:00am to catch a flight out of Vancouver I landed in Salt Lake at 9:00am and caught a cab back to the house.  A few hours of unpacking, repacking, showering, laundry, and napping, brought me to my next adventure.  Berry picked me up after he finished up the work day and we headed north to Bozeman to climb and visit with Harley–well I guess we went to visit Corey and Liz, but Harley was obviously the main attraction ;-).

To keep the streak alive, our drive through Island Park was snowy.  Being dark and windy didn’t help, but the tractor-trailers that wanted to pass us also didn’t make things any easier.  Eventually we got to Bozeman at midnight and that concluded my Vancouver to Bozeman travel day, all 19 hours of it.

Friday morning Matt and I headed up canyon to check out the Unnamed Wall.  We were able to get on The Good Looking One (WI5), which Matt crushed.  The conditions looked a bit scary from the ground but the ice proved to be more solid and spongy than anticipated.  Matt crushed it so it was my turn to step it up.  I headed up The Thrill is Gone, which similarly was in baked, but better than appeared conditions.  While the ice was pretty good for sticks it was disbonded and I was never all that psyched on the protection, even the couple of knifeblades and rock pro I was never jazzed about.

Meeting with Corey and Liz that evening we had some drinks food and caught up on the new life they have in Bozeman, which is sounding pretty sweet.  Harley of course is doing just fine.

Saturday Corey, Matt, and I made the trek out to Dribbles (WI4), with the intent to head up to Responsible Family Men (WI5) after that.  Luckily we spotted Doug and his partner just a pitch ahead of us on Dribbles and they had the same plan.  Unfortunately the turned around because of windloading that occurred in the gully getting to the upper climb.  When Doug says the avy danger isn’t worth it, you listen.  We headed back to the parking lot and up to the Unnamed wall again to work on a mixed line well right of Bingo World.  Matt did a great job putting it up and I flailed around on it for a bit on TR.  Corey got in the fun as well and had just as much luck as I did, getting shut down at the six foot deep roof.

Sunday we made the long trek out to Alpha and Omega area to do some ice and mixed climbing.  I lead Omega and while the angle wasn’t too hard, the ice was baked and due to the drop in temps overnight, was very brittle.  I knocked off a lot of garbage on the surface to get to the good stuff underneath.  Our day got cut short unfortunately when a piece came off when Corey was climbing.  He ended up splitting his lip and needed to a trip to the Urgent Care.

A great weekend, especially following up on the ski trip in British Columbia.


Bozeman Icefest 2013

Climber reaching the top of the Scepter (WI5).

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.

Topping out the route with no trouble.

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.