Triple Header

night ice climbing

Marko shows us how it’s done in the dark.

Montana is a special place, and there is a reason that the autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I wasn’t expecting it, but taking the opportunities at hand landed me a triple header of my favorite adventure sports- all in the same week.

I was in Bozeman all week for work. I had hoped to find a ride on craigslist so I could stay the weekend while my co-worker Mark headed home on Friday afternoon. The rides didn’t work out, but I wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. Wednesday night we picked up some awesome fried chicken and headed up to Genesis I for a night-time session getting back into ice climbing. With a full set of borrowed gear from Ari and Marko (thanks!), Mark came along to swing tools for his very first time. Getting my first leads, and sharing the experience with fine friends made for a perfect night despite some cold temps (6F when we left the car).

ice climbing preparation

Getting ready for my first sticks of the season.

Beginner stoke.  Props to Mark for braving the cold to come check it out.

Beginner stoke. Props to Mark for braving the cold to come check it out.

After 20+ meetings in Bozeman, I was ready to head home Friday night, but my new friend Molly was eager to ski on Saturday.  I was pretty eager too, and Anna was from Bozeman and feeling behind on her season already. We headed for St. Mary’s at 830am, got the car stuck around 10, and topped out around 2pm. The snow was fun, but there still wasn’t very much of it so I was glad to be on my older telemark skis (the new dynafit setup is waiting for a few more storm cycles).

Molly and Izzie making short work of the skinning.

Molly and Izzie making short work of the skinning.

Anna on top of her first Bitterroot winter summit.

Anna on top of her first Bitterroot winter summit.

With another day of splitter weather in the forecast, there was no reason not to try for all three sports. Even with the cold temps, there were about a dozen people headed to Mill Creek and I was happy to join in the fun.

hoarfrost

Just “a little” hoarfrost on the hike in. Chilly mornings in the Bitterroot.

Molly and I ended up teaming up again, and I was psyched to nail my hardest on-sight yet: “No Drama Obama” (5.11b, 30m). Many thanks to Michael Moore for the photos, and Molly for the stellar belay. I raced the sun out of the canyon, and made it home in time for some non-profit work, laundry, and a solid meal.

No Drama Obama, Mill Creek, Montana

Somehow, I was firing hot in the chilly temps.

I can’t think of many places to combine sports like this. With the long weekend coming up, I’m sure there is more trouble on the way. These are the kinds of adventures I want to make sure I have more often this winter.

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