• Joel Anderson

It's been a slow start to ice climbing season everywhere. Wyoming is dry and slow to start, Hyalite has a few routes that just started to become climbable in the last couple weeks, and NW Montana only has a couple of our higher elevation routes in right now.

Weather had been quite warm until a week ago when the mountains finally got some single digit temps. We were lucky to hit a good, safe, conditions window on Nov 21st when we climbed Six Pack of Beer and Nothing To Do in Snyder Basin. It was a fantastic way to start off the ice season!

The early season ice is going to be a game of patience. This week the mountains could receive up to a foot of snow followed by warm temps and a freezing level rising to over 10,000' by Sunday the 28th. It's impossible to stay completely out of avalanche terrain when climbing in Glacier Park. With that recipe of snow and warm weather I will be staying home waiting patiently for the temps to drop again.

These photos were taken on Nov 18th on my way up to avalanche lake. The hard freeze we had on the 16th is the only reason there is any ice on the lower part of these climbs. I don't think any of these routes are safe to climb today since temperatures have been creeping above freezing every day. It was really cool to see all of the ice routes frozen with no snow around them. That is the only time I have ever seen the mountains like that.

My take away from the current ice conditions and forecast is to be patient. Wait for the safe windows of opportunity. The mountains will always be there.

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  • Joel Anderson

The last little cold snap really helped things along! It's not all good news though.

Bad Rock Canyon is having water issues and may not come in this season.

Stone Hill is trying but needs some colder temps. There are a couple bolted dry tool routes that are worth checking out if you're into it.

Crevice formed up a little different this year but it's currently climbable with a good lead head. A 70m rope reaches the upper anchors or a 60m will work if your ok with the sketchy traverse to get to the anchors on the right. There are also some new anchors above the right side of the lower curtain if you feel like climbing some short, steep hot laps. There is still some thin ice so be delicate and let it form up thick.

Serenity Falls is in OK shape. Safely climbable but stay off the thin ice and let it thicken up. It's a little snowy but the left side climbs well.

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  • Joel Anderson

In and out, in and out. That's how ice climbing season has felt so far. We had an abundance of unseasonably warm weather in December up until now. We need these incoming cold temps and hopefully that will get us back on track.

I've had some kind folks sending me info on what our local ice climbs have been doing and I have done a little scouting myself. Here's what I've got!

Serenity Falls 1/10/20

Upper falls is thin but safely climbable. Just be delicate.

Lower Falls still needs some time to fully freeze over but it's looking much better than last week.

The pillar has fallen. Thankfully! It was barely hanging on and now its safe to be at the base.

Cascade Cascade(C2) 12/29/19

Right side looks quite thin but the left still climbs. 13cm screws just poke through to the space behind the ice.

Crevice 1/4/20

Still needs time and some cold temps to get into good condition. The creek is frozen though!

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