5 Things To Do While Attending the Ouray Ice FestivalJanuary 7, 2015
4Corners TV Video of Classic Ice Climb Route – Gold RushJanuary 28, 2015
When it comes to Ice Climbing, the San Juan Mountains can be hard to beat. With Classic Routes located in our backyard and with the Ouray Ice Park essentially located in our front yard, its hard to justify traveling to climb in other renown areas. There are far and few areas that are worth the hassle and one of those is Cody, Wyoming. Our AMGA Guide, Jeff Witt has been guiding since 2002 . Jeff has climbed and guided on mountains all around the world, including four of the Seven Summits, prominent peaks throughout the European Alps, and challenging routes in Patagonia and Alaska. He is also an avid motorcyclist and adventurer, having toured much of the Americas and Europe by motorcycle, and visited more than 30 countries. He is an Ice Climbing enthusiast who enjoys guiding clients on Colorado classics just as much as he enjoys discovering new climbing areas. He’s been to Cody multiple times and knows all the sweet spots around this particular region. He will be leading our trip to Cody and here are a few reasons why you should join him this February.
Broken Hearts, Cody, WY
1. Why would you suggest climbing in Cody, WY?
“I like Cody for a lot of reasons. For one, the South Fork of the Shoshone, where the climbing is found, is both an amazing valley and a really cool place to be with nature. Once arrive in the valley, and take in the threads of ice cutting down through the steep valley walls, you realize why you came. The routes are both huge and magnificent. Plus the ice, at least on the popular routes, is very reliable, and generally speaking, the weather and avalanche conditions aren’t issue like they could be in other locals.”
2. How does the ice and conditions in Cody differ from our local climbs in the San Juan Mountains?
“Like any ice climbing venue, conditions will vary with weather. I’ve climbed in Cody during a cold snap and the ice was so hard you could barely swing into it, and I’ve climbed there in late winter when it was sticky and plastic. So not unlike the San Juans, except that the elevation of the valley is lower and therefore not as much snow to deal with. Another thing I like about the South Fork is that there are plenty of options both on south facing and north facing aspects, so it provides a lot of options with aspect driven conditions.”
3. Which route is your favorite and why?
“My gosh, that’s a tough one! There are so many good routes in Cody! One that comes to mind is The Moratorium. It is a short route in that it is just two 60 meter pitches of ice, but the two pitches are so different. When it is in, I try to get on it just for the varied character of the route. The first pitch climbs as steep, ephemeral slab of ice a few inches thick and about 80˚, and then the second pitch rears up in a series of steep bulges that almost overhang the route. It goes at WI4+ – sustained grade four ice, with a few dead vertical sections.”
The Moratorium, Cody, WY
If you would like to learn why San Juan Mountain Guides is the best choice for both local and National trips, checkout out a full list of our trips and clinics on our website.
Learn more about our upcoming Ice Climbing Trips to Cody, Wyoming, and see the full list of available routes and itinerary.