A few months ago I made a wish that I could ice climb on my birthday. I booked a flight to Bozeman and last weekend that birthday wish came true.
It’s hard not to have a big grin on your face as you step off the plane into Yellowstone International Airport. The huge glass windows are usually perfect frames for the mountains that rise out of the valley floor just a short distance away. It was dark when I landed, but I knew they were there. And knowing the people I was there to see, it wouldn’t be long before I found myself engulfed by their presence.
I was picked up by my three friends Clay, Collin, and Reid. After some cancelled Friday plans, a skirmish with my tightly packed bags, and a few short hours later, we were off to Hyalite. Night one consisted of a hike to the amphitheater to climb Fat Chance. Woo! I’d been waiting quite some time to swing my new tools and stick my new crampons into some ice. Such a great feeling. We started back down to the trailhead as the sun started peaking out over the horizon. In typical fashion, our outing had lasted all night and it was time to set up camp in the morning light.
A few hours of sleep and we were back at it again. On Friday, we made the hike to The Soprano but snow conditions didn’t look safe at the base of the climb and we decided to trek back down to Lower Green Sleeves for some simple laps on a familiar climb. Night had fallen upon us by this point, so we broke out the headlamps and climbed in the dark again. Saturday was more of the same: a late start, a quick trip to town to resupply, and some night climbing. This time our target was Mummy Cooler 1. At that point, I’d managed to climb 2 new routes. My ice climbing experience before that weekend was limited to 2 climbs, so I couldn’t complain about doubling the total amount of routes I’d been on. There’s still so much left to experience.
Sunday was what one might call a rest day. We packed up camp and headed back to town for the first night of sleeping indoors since I’d been in Bozeman. On Monday we headed up to Big Sky for a day of shredding, left around 4pm, and I made my flight out of Bozeman that night. A good golden birthday weekend if I do say so myself.