It’s early October in Montana and thanks to our earth’s axis of 23.5 degrees, those of us in the northern hemisphere are experiencing shorter days, cooler temps, and (soon enough) the frigid grasp of old man winter. It’s also right around this time of year that MAG (Montana Alpine Guides) and BIF (The Bozeman Ice Festival) launch the 2015/2016 winter ice climbing course schedules, dates, etc.

The high peaks are the first to form ribbons of ice on the north faces of alpine objectives such as The Lowe Route on The Sphinx or Ice Dragons deep in the Beartooths, among other climbs for those willing to walk. These routes are best climbed October to early November. By November 1st the first ice climbs form in Hyalite Canyon, and by mid-November at least 1/3 of the climbs are in and we at MAG begin to offer private guided trips and ice courses. By December the majority of the ice climbs are in shape, which makes Bozeman’s Hyalite Canyon home to the longest ice season in the lower 48 with conditions worth traveling for from December 1st– April 1st!

The Bozeman Ice Festival originally occurred in early December, before winter’s deep snows, to allow ease of access up the previously unplowed road. Thanks to Friends of Hyalite, Bozeman Ice Festival, the USFS, and climbing guide services such as Montana Alpine Guides there is funding in place for Hyalite Canyon plowing to maintain access to this magnificent resource through April 1st. If you attend the Bozeman Ice Festival or climb with MAG (Montana Alpine Guides) then you are helping that cause first hand.

Bozeman Ice Festival helps to kick start the season but in all actuality you could climb here several weeks before the event.

Montana Alpine Guides (MAG) will be offering several ice climbing clinics during the Bozeman Ice Festival, and we will continue to run ice climbing courses and clinics through April.

For the 2015 Bozeman Ice Festival, MAG starts out on Thursday, December 10th with Scarpa at the Mummy Cooler II on the classic Scepter (WI5) and Mummy II (WI3+).

That Friday (12/11/15) MAG’s world-class guides and athletes who call Hyalite Canyon their home crag will be teaching several ice climbing clinics to complement the remainder of the Bozeman Ice Festival clinics. We will also be offering private guided trips to any location in Hyalite Canyon.

Hyalite Canyon Ice Clinics offered by MAG during BIF 2015 weekend


Description: Learn the techniques, gear, and skills needed to become a competent ice climber from beginner routes to intermediate, up to WI4.
Experience: No experience necessary, yet applicable to those with past rock/gym climbing experience.
Participants: 4-12
Cost: $135
Location: Unnamed Wall
Dates: December 10, 11, 12, & 13, 2015

*Clinic locations and instructors are subject to change as conditions and weather demand.
We must have a minimum of 4 to run trip at above pricing. All sales are final with no refunds for cancellations.


Description: So you want to climb up to a hanging dagger of ice, steep rock, or ascend alpine rock and ice ridges or faces? As with all forms of climbing, technique is crucial when transferring in to mixed climbing. Instructors include local climbers and guides who have made the first ascents on many Hyalite Canyon classics. We will focus on beginner to intermediate mixed climbing terrain.
Experience: Past ice or rock climbing experience from intermediate to advanced.
Participants: 4-12
Cost: $135
Location: Unnamed Wall
Dates: December 10, 11, 12, & 13, 2015

*Clinic locations and instructors are subject to change as conditions and weather demand.
We must have a minimum of 4 to run trip at above pricing. All sales are final with no refunds for cancellations.


Description: Have you been to the BIF for the past few years and want to experience one of the other 250 climbs in the canyon? Or maybe you want to beat the crowds, get out on a multi-pitch ice route, a canyon test piece, or small group instruction. The choice is yours as we climb in small groups out in the canyon to reach your personal goals and ambitions. Choose from options below or design your own custom day in Hyalite.
Experience: beginner to expert
Participants: Small groups of 2-4
Cost: 2:1- $500, 3:1- $600, 4:1- $720
Dates: December 10, 11, 12, & 13, 2015

*Clinic locations, route objectives, and instructors are subject to change as conditions, weather, and group fitness dictate.
All sales are final with no refunds for cancellations.

Locations and Options:

Anywhere in Hyalite Canyon’s 3 separate drainages. Choose options below or create your own trip.

East Hyalite
Go deep in to Hyalite’s East Drainage with a local guide for an unforgettable outing to seldom visited Horsetail Falls (85m WI4), just as classic as many of the main drainage routes minus the crowds.

Flanders Drainage
Flanders contains some of the best routes in Hyalite Canyon but the slightly longer walk (45 minutes) keeps the crowds at bay. Options include the 5-star classic, Champagne Sherbert (70m WI4), Champagne Slot (50m WI3/M3) and High Crimes and Misdemeanors (25m WI 4). Other options exist in the WI 5- WI 6 range.

The Dribbles (155m WI4)
The Dribbles is one of the longest and perhaps the best moderate route in Hyalite Canyon. If you have past experience ice climbing and want to step it up in the multi-pitch climbing scenarios, this is the ideal progression for you.

Cleopatra’s Needle (150 m WI 5)
This may be the best ice climb in all of Hyalite Canyon. This spectacular WI5 ice route has outstanding climbing in an unmatched location high on the canyon walls of Hyalite.

The Tour de Hyalite
On this day we try to cover as much ground as possible in 8 hours. Focusing on sampling different areas in the canyon to provide participants with a better understanding as to where all the best routes are located (WI 3- WI 5 options).