Broken Hearts WI3 - WI6

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 44.16798°N / 109.61417°W
Additional Information Route Type: Ice Climbing
Seasons Season: Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: WI3 - WI6
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 7
Sign the Climber's Log


Broken Hearts is one of the ultra-classics in the South Fork ice climbing arena. Boasting 7 pitches of ice with all difficulty ranges, there is something here for everyone. The pitfall of Broken Hearts though is that it lies on the sunny north side of the South Fork, therefore the routes are south facing and tend to be baked especially during warm spells. Try and hit this route right after a good freeze-thaw cycle. The good part of this route is that the approach is short, taking only 30-45 minutes to reach the base of the first pitch.

Getting There

From the center of Cody Wyoming, near the Sunlight Sports mountain shop, go west on US Highway 14/16/20 passing the Sierra Trading post on the left and the Wal-Mart on the right. Turn left onto the South Fork Road just past the Wal-Mart (there is a sign) and measure from this point. Drive this paved road for 31 miles to the bridge over the South Fork where the road crosses to the north side of the valley and at mile 35, continue straight past the Ishawooa Mesa Trailhead which is on the right. Don't continue left onto the Hunter Creek Road. Cross Legg Creek at mile 37 on a small bridge where you can look to the right and see the Stringer WI3 route in the small drainage right before Legg Creek (to the northeast). At mile 38.7 (3.7 miles past the Ishawooa Mesa TH) you can park just off the road near some cottonwood trees and see the first two pitches of Broken Hearts in plain sight. 

Begin hiking gently uphill in a northwesterly direction through sparse sage brush following the right side of the small drainage. After 15 minutes or so, enter the drainage before the sides become too steep and follow hideous talus up the drainage to the base of the first pitch. Most people only do the first four pitches then either walk off or rappel using V-threads. The upper three pitches are considerably harder and don't form as often.

Broken Hearts
Approaching Broken Hearts with the first 2 pitches visible

Route Description

WI 3The first 2 pitches are easily seen from the road and are right next to one another with a ledge between them. Both are about 15 meters high and typically get sun baked making them potentially hard to protect. However, these are likely two of the most climbed ice pitches in the entire South Fork area. There is a small, 30 foot long ledge between them and you can either belay on this ledge using the base of the second pitch to anchor or continue up and link both pitches with a 60 meter rope. 
WI 3This pitch usually has better ice than the first and is also slightly easier. It's easiest to link these first two pitches together. Upon reaching the top of the second pitch, walk 50 feet to a small, 5 foot WI 2 step where you can make an anchor to belay. The third pitch starts another 50 feet up the valley.
Broken Hearts
WI 3+This is a fun 30 meter pitch offering a nice 80 degree slab of ice with a thin and sometimes sketchy finish. The top tends to be thin and can be run-out.
WI 3This short, 20 meter pitch is a more shaded pitch generally having good ice.
WI 5Also called "My Only Valentine" this pitch is one of the most classic pitches at Cody! This pitch sits in a cool amphitheater with two lines with this route on the right. The line to the left is Carotid Artery (M7 and/or WI6)
WI 6Awesome pitch...if it's in! Like the 7th pitch it rarely forms but offers a challenging climb worth the effort in getting there.
pitch 7, Broken Hearts
WI 6This difficult pitch unfortunately rarely forms. But when it does, you can clearly see it's hard!


Use V-Threads for rapping pitches 1-4. Trees can be used to rap a few of the pitches. One can also walk-off from before the 5th pitch amphitheater.

More Photos

Broken Hearts, Cody
Pitch 3
Pitch 6, Broken Hearts
Pitch 6

Essential Gear

10 screws of all sizes, double 60 meter ropes, helmets and extra cord for slinging V-threads.

External Links

Weather Forecast

Mountain Project Description

Good Trip Report

Another good report including nearby climbs

Sunlight Sports Webpage



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.