I spent much of this trip thinking about this article, "how to beat imposter syndrome on the slopes." My friend hilary is an amazingly skilled mountain woman. I just try to keep up.
We started our trip in Red Lodge, Montana on a small ice climb called Hellroaring Falls, where we sadly realized the road was too snowed in to make it into our objective for the following day.
So instead we got up early and skinned up Red Lodge Mountain before the lifts started running.
We ended up skiing the resort the whole day; we spent most of it in the closed section enjoying being away from the crowds, skinning across the mountain to access the lifts.
Then, we headed to Cody, Wyoming for climbing in the South Fork of the Shoshone. We started on "Chasing the Sun," a three pitch route up a drainage. The "20 minutes of hiking" between pitches two and three the guidebook described was more like and hour plus of wallowing through thigh-deep breakable crust. We lost too much time, and headed down without finishing.
The next day, we tried to cross the river to climb "High on Boulder." Hilary fell in and determined that her boots, gaiters, and pants are indeed waterproof. We changed course to head up to"Grandma's Chicken" instead. After another long wallow-fest on the approach, we bailed and headed back to the car to try for a climb with a shorter, "easy" approach on which we both tested the waterproofing on our boots, punching through the snow into the creek multiple times. I'm told the South Fork doesn't normally have snowy approaches. All lies, as far as i can tell.
We were slated to climb in the Clark's Fork the next day, but with below-zero temperatures predicted, we decided a rest day would be better. So, we drove to Cooke City and stopped at the boiling river hot spring in Yellowstone on the way.
Next on deck was skiing. Cooke City is a pretty neat place. Surrounded by mountains and joined by Pat and Pika, we skied straight from the door three days in three different areas.
The last stop on the tour was Hyalite canyon outside of Bozeman. Hands-down my favorite day. The climbing there was just fun. Perhaps because we brought Dylan along and he and I climbed together after Hilary led the pitch. They both regularly help at clinics for the Bozeman ice festival, so having someone climb beside me and talk me through good technique and make me laugh mid-pitch was awesome. Only spending one day in there was sad, but is definitely motivation to head back some day!