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Hyalite Ice Conditions

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Palisade closed up well. Has some mushrooms, and thin at the top. our left side of Killer was only wet for the first 20 feet.

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I bet code red is in good shape if Killer pillar looks that fat...


Do they have a Code Pink? Cause I think I want to start on something in my league.


If you come out you could hang the rope on some WI5's for us.

Edited by Plaidman

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Vern gettin' after it on Horsetail Falls



First pitch is a mediocre 3, this route is similar to Palisade Falls in that it is very high volume, so top outs are always a little spooky.


The pillar above was rad, brittle ice, and the whole thing reverberated when a tool was swung into it. The last few feet of ice were glass clear and the water flowing over the lip could be clearly seen inside.


Like Wayne said, Palisade is in great shape. The whole thing is frozen, but not very thick in the middle. negotiating the cauliflowers is really interesting. A 80 meter rope allows for an easy rap, otherwise bring two cords.


I hear that the East Fork Road is gated after January 1st. We'll report back if this is true tomorrow night.

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Fork gated at 8:00 this morning. Met the Forest Service truck half way up the fork to Palisades giving me a tricky reverse for half a mile :)


However, -5F at trailhead so walk in needed to warm up and easy. Palisades in perfect condition today and the sky was blue. Best day in Montana so far for me and the Mrs as GlacierNat Park was perma-grey last week. Shame its home to The Netherlands on Friday....

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PS if anyone wants a free used but never abused, Petzl Elios white helmet size 2 PM me tonight. Can be collected from Days Inn later but will also take to Hyalite grotto car park tomorrow and leave on roof of a black Wyoming plated 4runner. Feel free to take it if you will use it. Doesnt fit me well so bought a Mammut one here and have too much stuff to lug home. Swear on my mothers life that it has never taken a fall or been hit... But of course all future injuries while you are wearing it are at you own risk...so dont bother telling me if youre broken. I dont want to hear...

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Went up to Alex in Wonderland today with Vern and Wayne. We ran up Silken Falls as there were several parties on Dribbles and none of us had climbed this fantastic route before.


Wayne leading the second pitch



I led the first pitch of Alex in Wonderland (it's the climb above dribbles in the Winter Dance guide, but that name is unimaginative and shitty). It wasn't too hard, M4ish, but very little pro and decomposing rock. Wayne and Vern froze at the base and we bailed. Second pitch looks hard right now, ~15 feet of drytooling out to a brittle and steep 60 foot icicle.


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Apparently, Hyalite TRs are not welcome on CC any longer, as those must be getting too much to read.


So, below is another “update” on the ice conditions we had over the last few days while in Hyalite.


Taking a short break from Yosemite climbing, my dear friend Vitaliy took a flight from the Bay area to PDX to hit proper ice with me in Hyalite for a few days. We drove from PDX through the night straight to the canyon and warmed up on the closest to the parking lot G2 and Hangover.






Vitaliy on the left side of G2:




Anita on the right side of G2:




Myself on the Hangover:






Next day we climbed the Dribbles and the Thin Chance in Amphitheater.



Dribbles from the approach:




Myself getting to the headwall:




Vita leading the Headwall pitch, left side, felt harder than Scepter that we climbed a couple days later:





Myself on the last pitch:



On the way out, Vitaliy got on the Thin Chance:



Cool stemming off the tree:





As it occurred to us that we might have a fetish for adrenaline, Vita and I decided to get on another Hyalite classic, the Cleopatra’s Needle. What an amazing line, and no human being had been on it for the last two weeks, as we were breaking out the chest deep trail to the base and knocking off tones of shedding untouched ice.


Vitaliy at the base of the Cleo’s:



Alpine-like “approach” pitch:



It got very cozy behind those curtains on the traverse to the base of the pillar:



The pillar is looming above and barely touching down:





The ice on the pillar was very “interesting” and confidence boosting:




Yep, that’s right. It’s me, just like after a bar fight:



Vitaliy threading the Needle:



Vita on the top of the pillar:



Vitaliy starting out the last winding section of the least resistance to the tree:



Just below the tree:




The Responsible Family Man seen from the top of the Cleo’s:




Next day was supposed to be a rest day so we climbed in the Mummy Cooler.

I led the MC2 while Vita led the Scepter which was a solid WI5 with the run out suspect pro.


The Scepter and the MC2 seen from the Unnamed wall:



Myself starting up on the MC2:



On the MC2 topout:





The Scepter:



Vitaliy on the low part of Scepter:



Vitaliy higher up:




Before our drive home next morning, we finished on another Hyalite’s classic, the The Thrill is Gone. The thrill was not entirely gone. At least for Vitaliy who enjoys bare rock just as well.


Vitaliy on The Thrill is Gone:




















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Hyalite is in good right now, but leaner than average overall.

Some routes like Black Magic, may not make it in this time. Plenty else to occupy many days though.

Here is my update on 8 days worth of climbing there. Hyalite 12/13






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Scepter is now in WI4 shape, uber fat and good, Mummy 2 had chandeliered ice on the lower half and upper steep pitch before the belay. Easy climbing but you either have to run it out or take the time to clear ice for good screws. Currently it is dumping, it's well on the way to a foot of freshies outside my front door, more in the mountains. Be careful in the gullies and avalanche paths of Hyalite.

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It is FAT! That's all I am saying. Just sayin. Sick would be another really good word for the conditions we just left on our trip. Got to get our TR written. I am still all aglow. That last lead I did on Hangover was awesome. Here is the video:




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I talked to a friend today who climbed scepter during the cold spell last week and said that it was brittle chandeliered ice and screws were worthless, so your experience may vary, I thought it was a WI4.


I'm guiding a friend who has never ice climbed before for the weekend, we went up and did thrill is gone, which is in fun shape.


My buddys Justin and Kevin joined us to work Northwest Passage (M11) in the bingo world cave. Justin went up for his first burn and made it to the lip, he's getting damn close to sending



Kevin went next and unfortunately screwed up his shoulder big time on the first big move out the cave, where you do a big reach to a good hook with your left, and then swing onto it with one arm before matching and throwing a fig 4 to clip from. Kevin tried to clip while hanging from his left hand and felt a grinding and tearing in his shoulder. Fingers crossed for a fast recovery and not a season ending injury.


I gave a go but I lacked the courage to throw my left leg over my forearms without stabbing myself and went home. Gonna do lots of sit ups and return with fruit boots.

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Washington has lost all it's ice. I'll kick this back up to let everyone know there's still stuff to be had over here.


Stuff that isn't in:


Black Magic :( Maybe it'll just appear overnight.


Good Looking One


Slot corner doesn't look to have any ice on it, but I haven't gotten that good of a view, so I could be wrong.


The start of Responsible Family Men appears to be sublimating away into nothingness, get on it soon, and bring pins.


The crux pitch of Avalanche Gulch isn't looking good. Best case scenario it's a big hanger, the much more probable shape it's in is a utter lack of ice.


Upper Mummys are devoid of ice


Zack Attack also is bone dry.


I think that covers it for climbs that aren't in, if it's not on the list there's ice on it. Feel free to ask about specific routes for more info.


gotta throw a picture in here.


here's a shot of my buddy rapping off code red, his first ice climb ever. Taken 2 and a half weeks ago. It's in huge, best part is the stem rest in between the pillar and the back of the cave.


also, if you have the time, read my buddys blog post. He's the guy hanging from one arm in the picture above. He's in Romania competing in the world cup and I'm uber stoked for him.



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Come and Get It is in great shape, ran a TR lap after class today and probably will go work it again all day tomorrow (cause I really don't want to fall off it). Incredible climbing, long route, and the final ice hanger is steep and mega exposed. Get on this one! I post holed all the way from the top of Fat One to set up the TR, so it should be casual for any other suitors.


I forgot my camera, but here's a shot of Alex on it sometime in the past.


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I managed to send Come and Get it yesterday, I had worked it up in my mind as a really big and hard line that would be really scary on the sharp end. It felt super solid and the gear, while being spaced out in a couple spots, is totally bomber, plus the climbing is so good and positive it's hard to get very gripped. Still, I placed a few extra pieces to make myself feel better. Incredible climbing, wild position, and the final ice hanger adds to the already fantastic route. It'd be damn hard/scary to onsite a couple spots would result in dusted ankles if you screwed up.


Get after it!

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Here’s a quick TR/conditions report: Kris, Dan, Svenja and I took advantage of the long weekend and made the drive out to Bozeman in search of ice. Hyalite Canyon is said to have some of the most concentrated ice in the country and sure enough we had more ice than the time to climb it (not a bad dilemma to have).


A few tips for those interested in a Hyalite trip:

We stayed at the Ramada. It’s inexpensive; the four of us split a huge room for $82 each (stayed three nights). We got a free continental breakfast (saved time in the morning). We got a ground floor room with an exterior door (there’s a ton of gear to dry out every day). There’s a hot tub and a 90’ water slide. It’s silly, but oh so fun after a day of ice.


Take the “red-eye” drive out. We left Seattle at 1am Friday morning and were in Bozeman at noon (10hrs + 1 hour time change). We were in the Canyon to warm up on the ice our first afternoon there. With 4 people to split the drive, it wasn’t bad. We drove home Monday at 1pm (after a morning ice session) and with the time change in our favor now, we were back in Seattle at 10pm.


Have a post-climbing beer at the Bozeman Brewery. No food, but great beer.


Climbing (lots of moderates are in fat condition right now):

Lower Green Sleeves:



Hangover (photo by Kris):



Final pitch of Hangover:



Fat Chance:



Thin Chance (photo by Dan):



G1 area:



Steep WI5 pillars on G1:



This was my first trip to Hyalite and I definitely want to head back next year. It’s much easier to get to than I had originally thought. There is a much greater climb to drive time payoff than anything that I’ve done in WA. Cool place!


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