Falls Between is a WI 3 with harder WI 4 and mixed opportunities on its right side. The ice is delicate as the gully rarely sees the sun and maintains a constant wind gust. We climbed the route with a 70 meter rope and 7 screws until reaching the larger tree at the top. There are anchors around rocks immediately at the top of the route, but we did not opt to use them as the snow cover made it hard to check their durability. The tree anchor can also be difficult to reach as it sits a top a rock face with zero protection.
Allenspur is located in Paradise Valley, south of Livingston, MT. This climbing area is adjacent to the Yellowstone River and offers many sport climbing routes predominantly ranging from 5.9 to 5.11. To get to Allenspur, head east on Highway I-90 from Bozeman and exit into Livingston. Turn left onto US-89 S towards Gardner, MT. Head south 5 miles until reaching Carter's Bridge fishing access, cross the bridge and park in the parking lot on the left. Allenspur climbing access is very sensitive as it is accessed by crossing private land. Always make sure to follow the climber signs and be respectful of the property by picking up all trash and staying on trails. Allenspur is a wonderful climbing destination we want to continue to frequent!
The trail begins by ascending steep stairs often traversed via "hike-a-bike." Do not fret, once a top the initial stair section and down through a jagged rocky section the trail opens up and begins to ascend smooth single track. In early summer, there is a small creek to cross but soon dries up. This trail rides best in fall or in the cool hours of the morning and evening as there are many bugs on the lower section of Sypes Canyon. After gaining a section of switchbacks and tree rooted trail, gain the false summit and take a left. This trail will meander further up the ridge to a lookout bench and further to large panoramas of Bozeman.
If you are looking for classic trails to ride with vast views and moderate climbs, Helena is the place to be. The trail systems here can be reached right from town and linked every which way. The trail systems here are similar to Lake Tahoe's Rim Trail with views of Canyon Ferry Lake, the city of Helena and rolling mountain vistas filled with wild flowers. Dylan and I left Bozeman on whim searching for a car camping mountain bike adventure. This trip began with little to no planning. A couple quick txts and a rack of beer in the cooler and we were off after a Friday's work. Once arriving in Helena, we stopped at "The Garage" for some quick beta and direction. We were pointed to the Mount Helena Trail.
Once above the first buttress, continue on the trail to the base of the Skyline buttress and hike to its right until finding a short exit towards some low class 5 scrambling left. Here you will find yourself on a prow with the first pitch starting on the left and heading up a small, flared chimney to a short face. The first pitch ends at bolts. Rappel from these bolts to the right 5 meters to a small ledge. The second, and most involved pitch heads up an open chimney and finishes with a tight squeeze.
Looking for some new ice and to get out of our traditional stomping grounds, Dustan and I began researching Ice Climbing in central Wyoming and specifically the Wind River range. We came across Lake Louise Gulley in Dubois and decided to pull the trigger. Located in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness area, Lake Louise Gulley (WI3) and Golden Tears (WI4) are two classic multi-pitch, alpine style climbs ascending from Lake Louise. We slept in our cars and carried bear spray on our approach to Lake Louise. The terrain is beautiful - a vast high desert feel winding through smooth rock and timber. From the parking lot, we followed the trailhead up and right slowly switchbacking up the ridge. After about 1 mile we crossed a bridge and continued 2.5 miles to a bluff overlooking the lake! Once reaching the base of the climb there is an initial chimney-esque pitch leading to low grade couloir ice. We geared up here and lead the first pitch.
Probably the most popular ski touring destination in Hyalite Canyon, and maybe even the Bozeman area, History Rock is a go-to ski tour for beginners and experts alike. This area is often a first for skiers interested in getting into touring as well as learning how read terrain and assess avalanche conditions. The terrain is fairly low grade but can be an avalanche hazard. Because of its popularity there is almost always a skin track leading from the parking lot to the upper most meadow - don't plan on getting first tracks. Upon entering Hyalite Canyon, travel on Hyalite Canyon road until reaching a large plowed parking lot on the right with a History Rock trailhead sign. If you have reached Hyalite Reservoir, you have gone too far.
Once geared up, cross the street and head through the woods up the closed forest service road and follow this road as it winds through meadows and thick trees. After about two miles take a left onto a small trail heading towards large a steep meadow. Follow the switchbacks up the meadow until at the very top. From here, you may ski off the backside for steeper terrain or comeback the way you came. Towards the bottom, skiers often link a x-country trail to exit onto the road.
The Matrix hangs over a huge cave that keeps you out of the elements and is a great lunch spot with a view of the Fat One across the valley. Begin with a short steep bulge and then an easy ramp up to the crux. The Crux pitch is often thin and sparse - bring stubby screws. Once above the crux there is mellow snow/ice to a tree anchor. This route has an M5 rating as sometimes the ice doesn't always reach the ground nor fill in all the way. IF this is the case, this climb is a totally different beast.
The Amphitheater Corner Climbs are a great beginner or warm up destination for area ice climbers. Beginning at the Grotto Falls parking lot, stay on the main trail for about 20 minutes of hiking. You will come into a wide opening where the ice flows will be obviously apparent and up to your left on a cliff band. Follow the climber trail to the climbs. The Amphitheater Corner Climbs are a very popular destination - you can expect to find other parties here climbing.
The Unnamed Wall is one of the best crags in Hyalite Canyon with many ice flows ranging from moderate to expert and is only a short distance further on the approach than the popular Genesis Area. To get to Magically Delicious, continue along the rock band right past Come and Get It, Jeff's Left, and Fatty Access Ice. Magically Delicious is tucked away behind a rock corner and in a steep gully. The route is a mixed route with many places for gear. Bring a full rack and a few stubby ice screws. There is usually a small curtain of ice at the top leading to a tree anchor. Rappel the route with a 60 meter rope.
The Unnamed Wall is awesome and only a short distance further than the popular Genesis Area. From the Grotto Falls parking lot continue up the trail until the first small meadow. There is usually a climbers trail here. Head right crossing the creek and up the mountain side. From here, Bingo World Cave will come into sight. To get to Elevator Shaft head left (up the canyon) along the wall past Thrill IS Gone, The Fat One and a large rock ban. You will dip into a small timber amphitheater and emerge in front of the Elevator Shaft.
Champagne Sherbert is an all time classic in Hyalite Canyon. Although somewhat out of the way from easy access, this climb is highly recommended for those looking for WI4 ice. This climb is best done in one long pitch but could be split into two with an ice screw anchor just above the main pillar. Two ropes are necessary for a clean rappel. We brought one 70 meter rope to save weight and then built a v-thread halfway. If you are going to build a v-thread, do so above and away from the main pillar of ice to keep clean for other climbers.
The Unnamed Wall is one of the best crags in Hyalite Canyon with many ice flows ranging from moderate to expert and only a short distance further on the approach than the popular Genesis Area. From the Grotto Falls parking lot, continue up the trail until the first small meadow on your right. There is usually a climbers trail here. Head right crossing the creek and up the mountain side where Bingo World Cave (a hanging dagger of ice) will come into immediate sight. To get to the Fat One, continue along the rock band left past Thrill Is Gone. The Fat One is a giant flow of WI 3 ice for the moderate ice climber. Pick any line and make your way to a tree belay 35 meters up. Rappel the route.
Palisade Falls may be the most popular attraction in Hyalite canyon in both the summer and winter seasons. Largely popular amongst the casual hiker, dog walker and snowshoer, the falls can be reached by a short 1 mile hike. Because of the popularity of bystanders, ice climbers don't give the beauty of this climb the same traffic as other nearby climbs although easily a classic of the area.
After about a mile of breaking trail, gaining a few switchbacks and entering a clearing, the second pitch of Horsetail Falls is visible. We continue on until in direct sight of the entire climb and traverse a creek plush with pillowy walls of freshly fallen snow. The weather is beautiful and the sun has just breached over the tree line creating an obvious water break opportunity. Pitch one looks spectacular and the approach getting there will be a great ski decent on our way out.
The Unnamed Wall is one of the best crags in Hyalite Canyon offering many ice flows ranging from moderate to expert. The Unnamed wall is also a casual approach similar to the Genesis area. From the Grotto Falls parking lot, continue up the main trail until the first small meadow on your right. There is usually a climbers trail here. Head right across the creek and up the mountain side where Bingo World Cave will come into view as a hanging dagger of ice. Once at the rock wall, traverse right back towards the parking lot and along the cliff band. You will pass Come And Get It and Jeff's Left before arriving at Fatty Access Ice. This route is a great lead with fun bulgy ice following a difficult beginning. The upper section features steep ice depending on conditions and leads to a tree anchor. Rappel the route with a 70 meter rope.
Leaving the Pine Creek Campground, we began hiking the Pine Creek trail past the first bridge and over a small hill. Just past the bridge we caught our first glimpse of the flow. From here we cut right off trail towards the creek. Although more difficult, breaking trail through freshly fallen snow is one of the many beauties of ice climbing. With the creek between us and the flow, Pat and I began scheming our hop skip and jump options to get across.
Harnessing our climbing gear, we gazed at the night sky pristine with stars of hi-definition. Pat loaded a small pack with our food and some extra jackets while I coiled the rope and tossed it on my back. Although we camped at the base of the spire, we still had a long ways to go before our climb would explicitly begin. Once again, about 500 ft of vertical gain over scree field lied before us. Around 6am the sun began to wane over the peaks in the distance. The sun was worth far more in warmth than visibility.
These old forest service cabins are a blessing to outdoor enthusiasts. Staying in these means being apart of history and the conservation of our wildlife and habitat. I can only imagine building these in the early 1900s and arriving on horseback. Months on end atop a mountain, living in simplicity and refinement.
Often in life, we question why we do things. Why do head out long before the sunrise; to physically exhaust ourselves until the sun goes down? Why do we fight the bitter elements that Mother Nature throws at us, in the attempt to summit a peak? The answer for me is simple. There is truly no better feeling than summiting a peak after a long and grueling approach. The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. Regardless of the season, disconnecting from society and enjoying nature for the day recharges and transforms the soul.
Crazy Peak is the tallest mountain in Montana outside of the Beartooth mountains and boasts the most prominence of any Montana peak. Situated in the Crazy Mountains, there is really no trail; pick your desired scree field and begin the rigorous journey to the top. Crazy Peak deserves its title and is a true expedition. This climb was done in September.
Climbing is meditation, religion and sport. Holding onto Earth's surface, for dear life, as weather comes & goes, wildlife chirps & parades, and one's cognitive control advances, creates a sensory generosity. One's awareness and ability to savor minute beauties produces arbitrary totality. At 10am, Pat and I begin our 4 mile approach.
After climbing Mount Rainier, I really had no further plans but to get to my sister's house in Portland to edit photos & video, update the website and regroup. And by no plans, I mean zero. "Going where the wind blows" has been a theme I have adopted from my grandfather and since lived by fairly consistently. I have learned over the years that the greatest memories we seem to recall are the experiences we never planned. The greatest part of adventure is not knowing.
One step in front of the other. One step in front of the other. Only 5,000ft more elevation gain… Every time I embark on an alpine expedition I find myself halfway into it with sore feet, aching shoulders and not a clue as to why I am here. Climbing in an alpine environment with a 50lb pack and amongst freezing temperatures isn't the most sought after experience, yet there is something about it that keeps me craving more.
We dealt with rattlesnakes, scorpions, flat tires, thunderstorms, long distances and impossible roads amidst elevations of -190ft to 7,500ft. When one spends all there time exploring in the mountains of Montana, it is refreshing to indulge in a poler opposite environment. Photographing this experience was a breath taking episode as thunderstorms evolved and dissolved in the distance. The desert is a place for the introspective in all of us.
We decided to try our luck at a winter ascent of the Grand with a ski descent. This requires low avalanche conditions, mixed alpine climbing, and endurance. Our plan was to take the Ford/ Stettner route but we were forced to call the mission off as the snow conditions became very questionable near the Teepee Glacier.
Nestled in the Beartooth mountains of the Northern Rockies, Granite Peak is the highest point in Montana. As the name suggests, the peak is compromised of massive, jagged granite and is considered one of the most difficult of the 50 state high points. Battling the Switchbacks From Hell, hail on Froze to Death Plateau and incoming storms on summit day, Adam & Sam summited the tallest peak in Montana, Granite Peak.