“We seek festival community because our own communities are dead.” (Nizlopi)
It’s both true and false- Missoula is a vibrant mountain community with a fairly quiet crew of ice climbers. Fair to say, the Bozeman Ice Festival brings us to life, and I was excited to have friends from Missoula to share one of my favorite places with. While I missed the festival last year, it seemed like JoJo and the regular crew really stepped up to take the Bozeman Festival to the next level. The only problem was, with everyone wanting to join the fun, open climbs were a little illusive…
Full of stoke, Conor D. and I got after it Saturday morning, only to find 18 people in line for Champagne Sherbet and Champagne Slot (which are both forming nicely). So we hiked. A lot. Finally we gave up on finding some more elusive climbs and headed for the Genesis. Some top rope laps at G1 left us feeling like we had at least done something, and we followed the festival down the canyon as the light faded.
This years festival included a Saturday night party built around an outdoor mixed competition at the Emerson center. Credit to Marko P., Craig P., and many others for construction and route setting. Complete with outdoor firepits, live music, and beer vendors, Saturday night was a very good time.
Sunday Conor and I linked up with a few other Missoula boys (Cole, Josh, Mack, and Cory) and took over the amplitheater. I’m still a terrible mixed climber, and was just as happy for Conor to put up the rope on the mixed line just left of “Thin Chance” (which was in, but a little thin for my shaky lead head). We did both lines, then a lap on Climbs on the Left- by no means a banner day, but I really don’t mind easing back into ice season.
Sunday night I felt fortunate to be invited to dinner with a few new friends who work for Grivel North America. It might have been more prudent to head for Missoula on Sunday night, but these connections are one of the reasons it’s so fun to come to a festival. We enjoyed perfect conversation over perfect food, and my week has felt a little richer because my circle of connections in this strange frozen circle is just a little larger. The additional time was well worth the speedy drive back on Monday morning.