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[TR] Montana Ice 2/2 through 2/8 - 2/2/2014


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Trip: Montana Ice 2/2 through 2/8


Trip Report:

I met up with Peter on Sunday morning in Spokane and we headed to Montana for a week of ice. Temperatures were forecasted to be cold, but we figured we could still get some climbing in. The plan was to sleep in the back of his truck at the trailhead to Hyalite Canyon and climb a lot of ice. Monday we got some mileage in by climbing G1, G2, Hangover, and both right and left flows of Upper Green Sleeves. The next morning (Tuesday) dawned clear and cold.....-25F cold!! We took our time before heading up to try Scepter, hoping the temps would improve. The hike kept us warm, however stopping to rack up and actually climb the route proved to be too much. The temperature was still hanging around -20F, so we turned tail and ran. Back in Bozeman we mulled over options. The next day was only supposed to be colder in Hyalite so we turned our sights west to Missoula.


It turned out to be a great choice, as Wednesday we enjoyed a stimulating hike up the beautiful Blodgett Canyon. With temperatures around zero, we climbed Blodgett Falls under sunny skies. The lower steep section was great ice, although the upper section contained some thin and rotten ice.


With the worst of the cold over, we drove back to Bozeman on Thursday and gave Scepter another attempt. The ice was great and the sun was out. The only problem was that even in -5F the afternoon sun melted enough of the ice to make the climbing similar to climbing in a shower. This lead to frozen jackets, frozen pants, frozen hands, frozen screws....frozen everything! It took quite a bit of running the truck that night to dry things back out.


Friday was the best day. We hiked in to the East Fork of Hyalite Canyon with hopes of finding Alpha and Omega. Peter had been to them before but without a well broken trail it took awhile to find our way up to the climbs. The trail breaking was well worth it however, as they turned out to be in excellent fat condition. Both the climbs spill over the cliff then turn into vertical free standing pillars with a neat cave behind them. The ice was terrific and the sun even came out to smile on us for awhile. In the afternoon we hiked over to Palisade Falls for a quick lap before heading back to the truck.


Saturday morning we got out just long enough to climb a couple of easier climbs at the amphitheater in Hyalite canyon. I led Fat Chance which was my first ice lead! Then went on to climb Thin Chance and Switchback Falls. Even though it was fairly early in the day we started the long drive back to Spokane, because I had to be at work by 8am on Sunday. And now on to some pictures.



Peter leading a line on the Genesis 1 wall with the slopes of Elephant Mountain rising far above in the background.



Breaking trail on the approach to Blodgett Falls near Hamilton, MT



Peter leading the lower section of Blodgett Falls under sunny blue skies.



Peter surveys the route above after making the initial move onto the front of the pillar Omega.



Me climbing the stellar pillar of Alpha on a sunny day in the East Fork.



Approaching Palisade Falls in the East Fork of Hyalite.



Peter mid way up Palisade Falls.




Approach Notes:

Snowshoes for any of the climbs in the East Fork of Hyalite (except Palisade Falls).

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Looks like a fun trip, except for the -25 temps, that's a bit much... Good pics especially the first one.


Good to see you getting on some real ice Marlin.


You gotta stay in shape so you can pull me up some more rock routes this summer!



Edited by dougd
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