Bozeman Ice-Fest with Taylor

Posted February 04 2015
Here at Sea Level Sucks we get pretty jealous of SLS adventurer Taylor. He gets to play in some beautiful places. This time he traveled to Bozeman, MT for the Ice Fest. His write up of his trip is below. You can also follow Taylor's adventures at

"I was fortunate to be able to attend and climb in Bozeman, Montana during the Bozeman Ice Festival this year. The festival involved various world class ice and mixed climbing competitions each night. Watching the world class athletes show their skills was an amazing experience, they are making a push to have ice climbing added as an Olympic sport. However, the real reason I made the trip was to get on some ice in Hyalite Canyon. I'd never climbed there before. It's almost entirely back country climbing with each route usually requiring a long, and sometimes, difficult approach and several hundred feet of elevation gain just to get to the ice. I met up with my friend Darcy in Missoula who was more then excited to join me for the weekend and we went for it.
When days start like this I can't help but be excited.

The first day the weather cleared and it ended up being warm. Ice climbing in a Sea Level Sucks t-shirt is something that I probably shouldn't get used to. The warm weather also made for soft and slushy ice. This made for easier climbing but made protecting each route with ice screws placed in soft ice more treacherous.

The weather turned more wintery after that first day. We ended up getting around 8 inches of snow while we were up there. The colder temps also turned that slushy ice into a whole different kind of beast. Instead of being soft and slushy it was now hard and brittle. Several pick swings were required for a good stick with lots of dinner plate sized chunks falling on Darcy as I led each route. However if I found a good spot for an ice screw, I felt much more secure with my protection. 
Darcy on approach
This was my favorite lead of the trip, a route called Hangover.
Placing a screw before moving up.

It's hard not to smile while you're ice climbing.
I had some free time mid route...

Darcy following and cleaning my route on Upper Green Sleeves
Hyalite Canyon was a great start to the winter season. Hopefully I'll have 3 or 4 more trips to get on some ice this year. The Ouray Ice Festival is next on the list after the holidays."