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[TR] Hyalite Canyon - G2 and the Amphitheatre 2/14/2014


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Trip: Hyalite Canyon - G2 and the Amphitheatre


Date: 2/14/2014


Trip Report:

We started out at the obscenely early hour of 11am. Chris, Eric, and I jigsawed our gear into the back of the Subaru and we were off. But first we had to swing by the bank for a loan and to get our 4th crew member Cameron. With the papers and legal mumbo jumbo out of the way we headed east towards the more frigid mountains of Montana. What we sought from this trip is what we had found very little of this season in Washington. We were after blue gold. And we were sure we would find plenty of it chandeliering off the mountains and cliff faces of Hyalite Canyon. After 9 hours on the road and plenty of mountain passes later we finally arrived at Belgrade where we set up shop at a friend's house. Stories, laughter, and liquor were shared for some time before we decided to get into our bags and get some rest for tomorrows activities. This day we got a much better start, at 6am we were packed and cruising to the canyon. We arrived at the parking lot shortly after and decided to head for G2. After a 15 minute approach we arrived at the beautifully fat flow. We slapped on our crampons unsheathed our tools and got the rest of our gear ready. I decided to lead the ominous and steep right side which the book calls WI 4. Having only climbed water ice a few times I threw caution to the wind, and thought hey, why not, its just ice right? Correct, it is only ice, but 15 feet off the ground I regretted being so bold as I struggled to get the squirrely screw started in the dense blue ice. I fumbled for what felt like forever, and then finally the teeth bit and started to tunnel into the frozen water. My biceps felt like fire as I got the screw clipped and the rope through the biner. I had Chris take in the slack as I hung out and rested. I wondered what I was doing trying to lead WI 4 when I had only followed WI 3 once in my short ice climbing career. My biceps felt good enough to get going again and I knew if I was going to make it I would have to move efficiently and get the screws in fast and only where I truly needed them. I set off and climbed over the short crux and thankfully it was smooth swinging to the top. I set up a belay around a tree and brought my partners up. We then decided to set up two top ropes and get as many pitches in as we could. We spent all day at G2, surprising enough we didn't see another party on the route. We packed up at 4pm headed out for a quick snack at Buffalo Wild Wings and then enjoyed a trip to the local hot spring. We washed up, relaxed, and became recharged as the waters soothed our aching muscles. Then we were off to eat again at a local brewery in Belgrade. We arrived back at our base house and started making plans for tomorrows outing. We decided on Dribbles, and then promptly bundled up in our bags and passed out. 6am came around and our team suffered quite the debacle. Argument erupted, tempers flared, and sour words were said. After everything calmed down Chris decided that he would stay and keep our host company for the day. Cameron, Eric, and I set out for the Canyon. The mood was somber and you could feel the tension fogging up the car. Determined to not let this ruin our day I bought us coffee so we could chipper up and get some energy for the big climb. We arrived at the canyon at 7am just as a light snow started. We thought little of it as we set out on the main trail and headed for Dribbles. After an hour we arrived at the snow field below Dribbles. Oddly enough our trail that we had followed had disappeared and the snow pack changed from light and fluffy to hard and stiff. The furry white stuff had really started to come down as well. We gawked at the tantalizing five hundred feet of frozen cascading ice. Not to be distracted though we took into consideration the conditions. Very recently there had been an avalanche on the snow field that separated us from the start of the climb. We could see the Crown at the top of the steep hillside and the snow was really barreling into us now. I set my pack down for just ten minutes and there was already three inches of fresh rounds on it. After we took it all in we decided the risk was just to great, and we could come back another day. So we bailed and headed back down the trail and decided to climb at the Amphitheater. We got on a nice flow of WI 3 ice which satisfied us for the remainder of the day. We then packed up and drove out of the canyon. We all regretted not getting on Dribbles to some degree, even if we didn't verbally suggest that we did. After we were out of the canyon we met back up with Chris who had a great day going around town with our host. The five of us went out to eat and gorged ourselves on two immense meat platters and beer. When we could stuff no more food into our engorged bellies we drove back to the house. Sorted and dried our gear. Then it was off to bed to get some rest. For the drive back to Washington in the morning would be a long one. The next morning we awoke and set off at 6am. Bad road conditions and slow Montana drivers stood in our way. So naturally I blazed by them through the driving rain and slushy roads. The worse the conditions on the road the more the challenge, and the more fun the drive seems to become. We made it back in Ellensburg around 2pm. Unpacked Cameron's stuff and loaded our gear back into Chris' Subaru. Another hour of driving brought us home to a well deserved respite in our own homes. We made it but we have much to finish back at that canyon. I know that we will get back there someday, someday soon.


The Approach to G2


The G2 Flow itself


The short crux



Belay Tree / Cave





Gear Notes:

Ice Screws


Ice Tools


Plenty of Layers



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