Palisade Falls WI 3 Hyalite Canyon, Montana

Location: Palisade Falls

Route: 45 meters, WI 3 to 4+

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. 

Clay and I geared up from the car and hiked the short approach to a huge flow of ice far bigger than I originally expected. The ice is offering so many different lines from WI 3 to WI 4+ allover the falls. It is interesting to see the falls so fat when during summer it is merely a thinned shower spraying over the cliff ban. 

We casually put on our crampons and uncoiled the rope as other visiting snowshoers and a recreational photographer arrive. I can understand why this climb isn't as popular because of the 'Hollywood effect.' Many people watching your every move and asking questions makes the climbing a little one off from usual.

Palisade Falls

Palisade Falls

Looking at the climb from the bottom, I decided I was going to lead the far right side tinkering with the overhanging curtain. Once in the crux, I was wondering why I did this as it far exceeded my confidence level leading this grade. I was too pumped to place a screw and had to run it out as a last resort in panic mode. Screaming from the pain and lack of strength I had left, I miraculously breached the vertical ice to a rest zone. I have no idea how my tools stayed in the ice. I could no longer swing them precisely and had to take a break to regain little strength and finish the climb. 

As I began to build an anchor, another party arrived and began playing with a drone right next to the ice. This was uncomfortable for Clay as he began to follow the route to the top. I would highly recommend this route and its many options although there is heavy non-climber traffic. I plan to return and climb the left side of Palisade falls.