Ice Climbing in Cody, Wyoming
South Fork Valley Ice
San Juan Mountain Guides is proud to announce that we are now able to offer guided ice climbing in the South Fork Valley near Cody, Wyoming in the Shoshone National Forest! This mecca of ice climbing is host to some of the finest multi-pitch ice climbing in North America. If you’ve climbed with us previously in Ouray, Telluride and/or Silverton, Colorado then ice climbing in the South Fork represents an excellent “next step” destination in your ice climbing progression.
A lifetime’s worth of ice climbing awaits those who’d like to integrate a bit more adventure into their ice climbing trip. The South Fork offers a huge selection of multi-pitch ice routes with difficulty levels varying between WI 3 and WI 5+. Most of the classic routes feature lengths of 100 meters to 300 meters (or longer). Though the South Fork itself represents a true destination for multi-pitch ice climbing, this is also the perfect training ground for ice climbers and great preparation for ice climbs in Canada, or alpine endeavors in the Alaska Range.
South Fork Ice Routes
Below is just a small sample of the route potential in the South Fork. Conditions can vary from year-to-year so we try to remain flexible with exactly what routes we may attempt during the season.
- Smoked Turkey (WI 3)
- Smooth Emerald Milkshake (WI 4)
- The Main Vein (WI 4)
- Cabin Fever (WI 4)
- High on Boulder (WI 4)
- Desperate for Lovin’ (WI 4)
- Bozo’s Revenge (WI 3+)
- Mean Green (WI 5)
- Sendero Illuminoso (WI 4)
- Moonrise (WI 5)
- Broken Hearts (WI 5)
- and many many more!
Mean Green was a long day of sublime climbing. Beautiful scenery, tremendous ice pitches, a distinctly alpine feel. That was up there with the Moose’s Tooth in my book. – Zac M. Cody Ice, Feb 2017
When to Climb in the South Fork
The best time frame for ice climbs in the Cody, Wyoming / South Fork Valley is early December through early April, with the best and most predictably good ice conditions coming in January through March.
Trips and programs in Cody are offered on a private/custom basis only and require a minimum booking of 2 days. Many options for itineraries in Cody and the South Fork are possible. Call or email our office for suggestions.
Ice Climbing Equipment List
- Water Bottles: 2 liters
- Small Thermos: Optional, but nice to have
- Day Pack: Approximately 35 – 50 liters.
- Lunch Food & Snacks
- Socks: A pair of heavy wool or polypropylene.
- Base Layers: tops and bottoms. Mid-weight, synthetic material.
- Mid-Layer: Versatile fleece or similar mid-layer piece.
- Soft Shell Jacket & Pants: Shoeller or similar soft shell jacket.
- Down Jacket or Insulated Parka
- Shell Jacket: Be sure that it will fit over all your other clothes. Gore-tex recommended.
- Shell Pants: With side zippers are best. Gore-tex recommended.
- Gloves: A pair of heavy gloves and a pair of medium weight gloves and another extra pair.
- Hat: Warm pile or wool hat. Try to size it so that it will fit comfortably under your helmet.
- Balaclava or BUFF: A must have for cold days and wind.
- Sunglasses: Category 3 or 4 lenses
- Sunscreen and Lip Balm: At least SPF 30.
- Digital Camera
- Personal First Aid Kit
- Harness with Ice Clippers
- Locking Carabiners: 2 pear shaped, wide mouth.
- Non-Locking Carabiners: 4 – 6
- Belay / Rappel Device: ATC Guide or similar.
- Climbing Helmet
- Ice Climbing Boots
- Crampons: Step in crampons with vertical front points.
- Ice Tools: Technical ice climbing tools
- Cordelettes: 2, 6-7mm, 20 feet lengths
- Spectra Runners: 2 double, 4 single
- Quickdraws: 4 – 6
- Ice Screws: 4 – 8 of varying lengths
Training & Follow Up Climbs
As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great climbing trip.
1Before Your Trip
Completing our Basic, Intermediate Ice Climbing Course with us in Ouray is a great start, but specifically for Cody, we like participants to have climbed a fair number of backcountry ice routes with us in the San Juans. Routes such as Stairway to Heaven, Whorhouse Ice Hose, The Ribbon and the Ames Ice Hose represent excellent training and preparation for the multi-pitch routes in Cody’s South Fork Valley.
2Follow Up Climbs
- Lead Seminar – Ouray, CO
- Expert’s Ice Seminar – Ouray, CO
- Moose’s Tooth, Ham n’ Eggs
- Ruth Gorge Customs
South Fork Shoshone Ice: Getting There
Cody is located in the NW corner of Wyoming, approximately 50 miles east of Yellowstone National Park’s east entrance. Just 25 minutes SW of Cody lies the South Fork Valley and the majority of the classic ice climbs in the area. The approaches to the climbs can range from 20 minutes to an hour, and are often free from snow which offers a more “hassle-free” experience.
Flights: The Yellowstone Regional Airport is the year-round airport for the area and is just 2 minutes from downtown Cody. Both SkyWest/Delta (through Salt Lake City) and United Express (through Denver) fly into Cody, Wyoming.
Driving: Below are some approximate driving distances/times if you’d like to drive to Cody.
SLC, UT: 7.5 hours
Denver, CO: 7.5 hours
Bozeman, MT: 3.5 hours
Hotels: While climbing in the South Fork Valley you’ll be staying in the town of Cody, and below are some lodging options. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suit you best for this trip!
- Cost Includes:
- Guiding and instruction,
- Group climbing equipment (ropes, ice screws etc.),
- Harness, helmet, ice tools, crampons and ice boots are available to rent
- Not Included:
- Transportation to Cody, Wyoming
- Transportation to ice climbing areas
- Hotel costs before, during or after the courses
- Guide Lodging Fees
- 5% land use surcharge
- Trip cancellation insurance – recommended
- Personal climbing clothing
- Guide gratuity
- Additional travel fees may apply for trips of 2 days or shorter
- Registration and Cancellation:
- Advance Registration is required for this program. You have the option to either call our office and register via phone, fill out our pdf Registration Form and send it in via fax or email, or utilize our secure Online Reservation System. All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.