Climbing mountains and canyons during any season is a challenge, but it is particularly difficult when you add winter ice to the mix. Ice climbing has gained significant popularity in the U.S. and abroad in recent years, and Hyalite Canyon in Bozeman, MT, is one of the most challenging locations for ice climbing.
Ice climbing, for the uninitiated, is the practice of climbing, not the rocky faces of mountains and canyons, but instead scaling frozen waterfalls and other natural ice formations. These are usually up against the sides of a rock formation and present unique challenges.
When climbing at Hyalite Canyon, you’ll need an ice axe to create footholds on the sheer, icy face of your obstacle. The Grivel Alp Monster is a good choice, because it features a posterior hammer, anti-clip saw and a lightweight, rubber shaft. It won’t add much weight but will get the job done.
You might also need to invest in a pair of high-quality mountaineering boots with good ankle support. Make sure that you are dressed for frigid weather, including hats and gloves, to ensure the most enjoyable experience.
In Hyalite Canyon, there are a number of ice climbing routes, some of which are already equipped with ice screws and rope set-ups. Some of the more difficult routes feature very thin ice and shouldn’t be attempted unless you are a professional.
Additionally, it is a good idea to check with the Hyalite Canyon authorities before you head to Montana for a climb. Some seasons, the ice formations do not appear until late winter, depending on local temperatures and rainfall. Some might not be available when you arrive due to too much climbing or because of perceived dangers created by ice climbing tools.
If you are interested in visiting Hyalite Canyon during other seasons, or if you aren’t too sure about ice climbing, there are plenty of things to do in this area during the spring, summer and fall. Mountains and ridges in Bozeman, present numerous possibilities for the avid climber and some are open all year.
You might also want to hook up with an outfitter if you’ve decided to try ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon. Having a professional who knows the area in your corner is invaluable.