We just finished up with the 16th annual Bozeman Ice Festival. Now that the crampons and tools have been sharpened, the gloves and boots dried, we finally have time to send off a quick update.

Beautiful weather at the Bozeman Ice Fest. Photo: © Matt Lewis

For those that didn’t attend this year, you missed a good one! The previous week gave us temps in the 50s here in Bozeman, but winter showed up just in time. As the week progressed we saw decreasing temps, and by Saturday Hyalite Canyon had dropped into the teens. A winter storm dropped a few inches of the classic Montana Cold Smoke, painting the walk-up to the clinics that beautiful wintery white. The squeak of cold snow under foot only made us more excited to drop our packs and start the day of swinging tools and learning from some of the best ice climbers in the world. Ice climbing season has officially begun!

Thursday through Sunday offered the traditional mix of clinics in Hyalite Canyon, ranging from introductory ice climbing to dry tooling on steep rock and multi-pitch efficiency. New for this year was the Urban Base Camp, which took place on Saturday. A vendor pavilion allowed folks to chat with company representatives about rock and ice climbing gear. The free-standing climbing tower offered two types of competitions. First was the speed climbing comp followed by a dry tooling competition, both pulling mountain athletes from all over North America. Will Gadd took first place in the invitational, but local Bozemanite Whit Magro took second.

Dry tooling at the Bozeman Ice Fest. Photo: © Matt Lewis

Petzl athletes Gord MacAurthur, Emily Harrington, Andes Marin, and Jen Olson were in attendance for the event, too. Proceeds from the Festival will go to The Friends of Hyalite, a non-profit keeping the roads plowed in the Canyon for winter access. The winner of the “Whole Kit-n-Kaboodle Raffle” walked away from the event with everything an ice climber needs to start ice climbing. This is an impressive raffle and one I have never seen anywhere else!

Conrad Anker, Joe Josephson, and a dedicated group of Bozeman climbers are doing their best to bring a World Cup Ice Climbing event to the 17th annual Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival. This is certainly one year you will not want to miss. Keep your eyes peeled for the dates. Hope to see you in cold, snowy Bozeman in 2013!

– Matt Lewis

 

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