Just got back from the Bozeman Ice Festival in Montana. What a great event! Check it out @ http://www.montanaalpineguides.com/bozemanicefestival/index.html.
Adam and I drove to Bozeman straight from Zion, where I belayed him for his free ascent of Moonlight Buttress (http://mountainproject.com/v/utah/zion_national_park/moonlight_buttress/106138026?highlightphrase=moonlight+buttress&). He really wanted to send it before he turned 30, on December 4th, so needless to say that he did not have much time ahead of him to send. It took him only 3-4 tries to send the whole route, which was lucky, because despite the route being "only" 5hours away, it's still 5 hours away! I was really psyched for him and inspired by his ability to just get it done, so fast!
We drove through a snow storm to get to Bozeman and ended up staying at my friend Amy Bullard's house for the night. Together with her husband, she built the most beautiful and cozy house I have ever seen and it was a treat to be there for the night, sleeping by the warm chimney and eating a home made mix of porridge in the morning.
The Icebreaker comp started at 7am the following day, in Hylite Canyon. We had been randomly paired the previous day with local women, for the women, and men for the men. I was lucky to climb with the person I was really hoping to climb with: Sarah Hueniken, who I had climbed in Iceland with and guided for Chicks with Picks with. She had the comp the previous year and won and was now considered a local, although she had only climbed there once before! The goal was to climb as many pitches as possible in the day, hitting three of four areas in the canyon. Needless to say, the comp ended up being 70% hiking for 30% walking. I am definitely more into the opposite ratio: 70% cimbing for 30% hiking, if that! But all the same it was really fun... and cold! my lungs were not acclimated to cold temps at the point and I feel that I have been coughing since then. Or maybe it's because I fell into the frozen creek, getting soaked all the way to mid thigh! To win this comp, it's good have a strategy and know that this strategy should include climbing as many short pitches as possible, versus longer routes, which earn less points. Next year, I'll know better. Also, I'll know what to expect more. And I'll try to not have this be the first day of ice climbing of the year for me! Jen Olson and Lilla Molnar - from Canada - won the title, crushing our score! Way to go to both of them!
I rushed back to give a slideshow and then taught clinics to women the next day! It was all really fun and met some amazing people. What struck me the most is everyone's kindess and fairness. I look forward to coming back to this event!
Thanks to all the organizer and volunteers for me making it happen, and a special thanks to Amy and Jojo for all their hard work!
Now, let the temps drop and plaster our local crags with ice!