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The Dribbles

The Dribbles

The Dribbles

Page Type: Route

Location: Montana, United States, North America

Object Title: The Dribbles

Route Type: Ice Climbing

Season: Winter

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: WI4 III

Number of Pitches: 4

Grade: III

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: jmines713

Created/Edited: Jan 9, 2010 / Feb 10, 2010

Object ID: 588037

Hits: 6705 

Page Score: 77.48%  - 8 Votes 

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The Dribbles is nearly the largest piece of ice in Hyalite Canyon, dominating the eastern side of the canyon 2 miles from the trailhead. It is the tallest continuous ice flow in the canyon. For many climbers, this is a favorite multi-pitch climb in a fantastic setting.


To get to The Dribbles, park at the Grotto Falls trailhead in the main fork of Hyalite Canyon. Hike up the trail south through the canyon for ~1.5 miles to the Arch Falls sign. Continue up about half a mile until you come to a small field with a creek on either side of it - there is only one such field on the trail. Head to the left (east) up through the forest, usually on a packed trail. The gully you are in is the same drainage as Avalanche Gulch. Once you can see the lower ice of Avalanche Gulch, veer right into the next drainage, and The Dribbles will be clearly seen.

Route Description

The Dribbles: 500' WI4
FA: Brian Leo, Dougal McCarty, Chuck Rose, Bo Stuart - January 29, 1972
Once at the base of the climb, the first pitch can be bypassed by traversing in from the left, otherwise hike to the far right and base of the ice. It is highly recommended to climb the first pitch. From this start, The Dribbles is typically done in 4 pitches:

First Pitch of The Dribbles
Pitch 1
Pitch 1: WI3+, 45m
Climb up two tiers of vertical or near-vertical ice, separated by a snow ledge. Continue up the snow to the base of the next flow. Belay from screws here.

The Dribbles - Pitch 2
Pitch 2
Pitch 2: WI3, 40m
Climb up the obvious flow for 15-20m and traverse up on the snow to the far right. Belay from screws here.

The Dribbles - Pitch 3
Pitch 3
Pitch 3: WI4, 30m
This is the crux pitch of the climb. The further right you went on pitch 2, the easier this pitch will be. On the left are several options of WI5. Climb up a 5m vertical step, followed by steep, 80+ degree ice for 25m. The top of this pitch can clearly be seen during the entire climb. Once on top of the headwall, hike up the snow a short distance to find ice to use screws to belay from.

Finishing The Dribbles
Pitch 4
Pitch 4: WI3-, 35m
Hike / Climb up low angled snow to two more tiers of ice. Climb these short, near-vertical steps to the trees above. If in the center, a lone yellow sling around a tree can provide a belay. If on the left, a large tree with several slings can provide a belay.

Descent: There are two ways to descend The Dribbles. The first is to simply rappel the route. Two 60m ropes, rappelling from either tree mentioned on Pitch 4, will barely get you to the base of Pitch 3, including rope stretch. From here, build a V-thread and rappel 40m to the base of Pitch 2. Traverse skiers right here on deep snow around ice steps to the base of the climb. The second descent is to traverse climbers left from the top of the climb to the next gully over, which is the Avalanche Gulch gully. Rappell from trees to the base and hike out on the same trail you hiked in on.

Essential Gear

Standard multi-pitch ice rack of screws to your comfort, typically around 12 screws.


The Dribbles - Pitch 2The DribblesFinishing The DribblesThe Dribbles - Pitch 3First Pitch of The Dribbles