crossing the pacific for the first time, our first foray into the north american ice climbing scene was a blast. representing teton bros. and polartec, iceclimbingjapan touched base with the soul of american ice climbing at the bozeman ice festival.
downtown Bozeman, Montana: where heel spurs, shotguns, baggy pants and ice climbers gather peacefully
where the mountains meet the prairies, Bozeman is as much stoner cowboys, snowboarder hooligans and big city game hunters as it is serious ice climbers. home to Joe Josephson, Doug Chabot, Conrad Anker and Jack Tackle (plus a legion of transient climbers and home to the Alex Lowe legend), Bozeman and Hyalite were the perfect hosts to our entourage from Japan.
Hyalite Canyon and peaks in the distance
Bison: pretty much says it all
strikingly similar to the ice area in Sendai, Hyalite is layer upon layer of tiered icefalls and squiggled gullys. fat cascades fill the lower ampitheaters, steep cliff lines are hung with daggers and thin twisting routes lead up to the high icefalls that loom overhead. there is ice everywhere.
iceclimbingjapan’s Nae Yagi on a warm up icefall on Unnamed Wall in Hyalite
and on her usual terrain: M10 route to the right of Bingo Cave, with House of Flying Daggers in the background
days in the canyon tended to start early to avoid the festival crowds, and by mid-afternoon we were usually back in town and deep in the festival, where the UIAA championship circuit was the focal point for competition climbers from across Europe, Russia, Asia and North America.
moon over Hyalite: serene and luminous before the festival crowds arrive. apparantly at the right time coyotes actually do howl in the distance…
Yamagishi flaying the rope for a pre-dawn warm up in the Mummy ampitheater
Westy crossing a snow gully on the way towards Zack Attack (WI5)
Marat figuring out the M sequence at the start of a thin and barely connected The Matrix WI4, upper Mummy area
Mens difficulty finals outside the Emerson in downtown Bozeman
coffee, coconut oil and organic food: the perfect diet for fuelling a whirlwind trip to one of ice climbings meccas.
many thanks to the good folk of Bozeman, especially Marat and Westy for showing us around. the staff of the Lewis & Clark Motel deserve special mention for cheerful service to the no doubt annoying demands of ice climbers keeping weird hours, stomping snow thru their lobby, eating all the cake and brewing espresso in the rooms. special thanks goes to Graham from Cilo gear for the tour of small town Montana that included Bison watching, excellent conversation and the quintessential American experience – outrunning an oncoming train across the rails in a speeding car.