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Ice climbing cond., as of NOW- Cody/Bozeman vs. Ouray

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Ice climbing cond., as of NOW- Cody/Bozeman vs. Ouray

Postby Diggler » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:11 am

Greetings fellow climbers,

a friend & I have been procrastinating planning a weeklong ice climbing trip that I've wanted to do for awhile now. My thing is I want to do it in January. His thing is he can either do it the week of Jan. 3rd, or in March (less desirable for me). Basically what I'm saying is I'm trying to figure things out for the week of Jan. 3rd.

Unseasonably high temp's in Ouray (where we'd wanted to do this thing to begin with) have meant that numerous sections of the ice park are currently closed. As this area is normally freezing-assed cold this time of year, this totally surprised us. While temp's seem to be dropping back to more normalish, chilly expectations, as the time to make a decision is rapidly approaching, I want to see what conditions are like for other places too.

What I'm curious about: I'd wanted to go to Ouray due to simplicity: climbing right out of town, close car-to-crag approaches, numerous climbing options (top-rope, lead, easy -> hard, single thru multi-pitch, relatively low objective dangers (don't have to worry too much about avalanches on/before/after climbs, etc.)). What are things like in either Cody or Bozeman compared to this (I admit that I'm ignorant about climbing in these areas, & just would appreciate others' informed opinions vs. Ouray, which I am somewhat familiar with)? I want to get the most bang for my buck, as I'm pretty swamped at work, I've got limited free-time, & want to make the most of a week of ice climbing.

TRs from WI3 to whatever would be great. Leads from WI3 to WI4 (5 if we're lucky) also good. Short approaches w/ low objective hazards optimal. Conditions at/below freezing (good ice that won't fall down on us) good (duh). Multi-pitch options? Excellent but not completely necessary. Cheap accomodations & easy airport options- would make things easier, but not necessarily completely necessary either.

Muchas gracias for your input- greatly appreciated! -D
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Re: Ice climbing cond., as of NOW- Cody/Bozeman vs. Ouray

Postby Jerry L » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:30 pm

Actually Bozeman has a major airport just west of town (Belgrade). You can get a rental car at the airport no problem. There are tons of hotels in Bozeman (college town) and rates aren't too bad (IMHO), but there's every type available (very high end to very low end). As I recall, Hyalite isn't more than (30) minutes from town. If you've not been to Bozeman before, I highly recommend the place. Good night life as well if you're into that. I'm drawing a blank right now, but there's one active member here from Bozeman that you need to talk to. He climbs there often and would be your best source. I'll try to remember his name and post up again if he doesn't by then.
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Re: Ice climbing cond., as of NOW- Cody/Bozeman vs. Ouray

Postby Jerry L » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:40 pm

http://www.summitpost.org/users/b/16173

This is who I'd speak with. He was online today. Maybe he'll jump in.
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Re: Ice climbing cond., as of NOW- Cody/Bozeman vs. Ouray

Postby Jerry L » Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:56 pm

I used to fly in on Northwest...........big jets but don't recall what model. Now Delta bought them out and is using the E175 (based on their website)..........still a good size jet and a nice ride for sure. By the way, Belgrade is 10 minutes from Bozeman.

http://www.seatmaestro.com/airplanes-se ... 175-1.html

How about (45) minutes and will call it a deal ? Take care.

Jerry
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Re: Ice climbing cond., as of NOW- Cody/Bozeman vs. Ouray

Postby Diggler » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:10 am

Thanks for the suggestions, guys- appreciated. Looks like temp's are dropping in the San Juans though, so I just booked a flight to go check out the ice fest in Ouray. I'll keep the recommendations in mind for next time, though. Happy New Year & have a safe season on the ice! -D
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Re: Ice climbing cond., as of NOW- Cody/Bozeman vs. Ouray

Postby MontuckyLucky » Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:55 pm

Just so you know, there is a major airport here, and the ice is in really fat. The weather is supposed to be super cold the next couple of days.
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Re: Ice climbing cond., as of NOW- Cody/Bozeman vs. Ouray

Postby gato » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:49 pm

Knoback gave some great info on Hyalite, and I'll chime in with a little more detail as well. Since you're heading to Ouray, consider this an appetizer for future MT climbing adventures.

The road up to the Hyalite main fork TH is plowed by the forest service, so winter access is phenomenal compared to what it was about 3 years ago. No more rut rodeo; it's cruiser! The East fork is not plowed, but there are still some great routes up in the Flanders/Palisade Falls area if you are willing to ski (or posthole for hours). From the start of the Hyalite road, it's probably 45 minutes to the TH.

Avy danger can be a real concern as some of the climbs sit directly below major avy paths and loading zones. Check out the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center website for up-to-date details about current conditions before you pick a route. That said, even on days with elevated hazard there are routes that you can climb without getting into avy terrain or runout zones.

The climbing proper is excellent. We've had a great year and most of the major routes are in huge, with solid ice and pretty good traffic. The trails are all generally beat in, and the primary TR area (Genesis I) has a lot of nice fixed anchors above the routes. Check out Jo Josephson's book "Winter Dance" for in-depth info on Hyalite, as well as other ice destinations around the area, including Cody.
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