Alan Rousseau in Episode 5 of the Ice Dragons.
Autumn 2016 is recorded in the books as one of the hottest and driest cases for the western mountain. Preferred for some user groups: Mountain bikers, rock climbers and trail runners are shocked by their ability to get up and find dry conditions by mid-November. However, the ice skating community searched for photos, forums, and long-term forecasts for a place for a few days of low-temperature driving. Around the salt lake area, one climber, Nathan Smith, is more alert than the others. Of course, I was interested when I received a message from Nathan that I was going to climb Beartooth (a remote area in Montana) to climb the ice line.
East Rose Rose Lake. The path starts from the left side of the photo and goes up to the ice line on the left.

Beartooth range is one of the things that is generally kept quiet, people seem to keep information close to their chests. I had heard it as this kind of mystical place, for the tough, with the wave of developing long distances in rugged areas. Which, of course, adds to the charm, but finding information about our planned route, the Ice Dragon, is not that easy. Fortunately, Nathan spoke to someone who had recently gone off the beaten track. However, we still have many ambiguities about technical problems. A handbook suggested the M6 ​​grade WI4, while a WI3 travel report suggested the ascent length also ranged from ‘1000’ to ‘1500’. In any case, we were interested in climbing something frozen, so we packed the car and started the nine-hour drive to the eastern Rosebud trail. Arriving at the light for several hours, we saw the view of the Ice Dragons: a dazzling strip of ice that splits much of the north, forming the shoulder of Inabit Mountain. Our binoculars confirmed that the line is too large.


Allen keeps an icy dragon in the “Five Mile Pool” near the circus.

We started reading the approach information and found two suitable options. The first distance was shorter overall, but the distance traveled was mostly through unstable terrain and talus. We chose the second option, which was a little longer but had less off-road time. After drawing points on our maps, we left for Grizzly Country at 4 a.m., hoping that our four great four-legged friends were hibernating. The first six miles were completed in less than two hours. We found ourselves under a large rock known as the “Bear Face”. From here we made a deep gap, full of loose cliffs where we will be 1300 inches high. This classic pitch was one step forward, two steps back, and very time consuming. Eventually we climbed onto a pleasant Inabit wooden shoulder and then descended to the “Five Mile Pond” where the icy dragon was found, filled with talus.

Move in Talus leading to the Ice Dragon, the largest ice stream in the center of the photo.


We reached the end of the route in five hours. We were told that the ice would get fatter and fatter with the Indian summer, but we were still amazed at the amount of ice available compared to the conditions at which the first party climbed. Instead of looking at a main rock surface, we looked at a WI3 surface with one or two movements on the rock.

Alan Rousseau in the first land of icy dragons.


The climb was rough for most of WI3 and all the terrain was about 60 meters long. The ice was in excellent condition, not entirely plastic, but most of it was wood. The location and nature of the climb, with its obvious weakness in the wall, gave it a completely mountainous feel. After 1300 minutes of climbing to the plateau of Inabit Mountain, we encountered. We made our way back by making two stone anchors and the rest were v-strings.

Alan Rousseau in the Third Land of the Ice Dragons.

Just a few miles to look at summer conditions down the road.
Nathan Smith in the Fourth Land of the Ice Dragons

Allen on top of ice climbing. 300 minutes of snow and lead mixed to the plateau from here.
Allen punches up.

To land, we decided to choose a more direct option, which is mostly done in more distant times. It also contained some unwanted scree lands but it was not nearly as steep as we climbed that morning. The landing took about 3 hours from the “Five Mile Pool” to the car. We got in the car at 5:30 in the afternoon and had to turn on the headlights while adjusting the gears. As soon as we arrived, we loaded the car and started the long drive to the salt lake. Nathan took the lead all the way and returned to the city at 3:30 a.m., just as our alarm bells rang 24 hours earlier. Statistics 18 hours of driving, more than 18 miles of walking, 5,300 ‘altitude, 1300’ of ice climbing, 45 and a half hours of salt lake to salt lake, and two climbers ate for the winter to appear in their backyard.

Allen walk after a fun day at Beartooths.


Thanks to Nathan for the motivation, to Beartooth for being Rad, and as always to Freedom Mountain for their continued support.
– Alan Rousseau



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