Last year a private team of MAA members headed to Cody, WY in search of reportedly endless amounts of back-country ice climbing. They determined that this was indeed the case, so this year MAA ran it's first ever Cody ice climbing expedition (late Feb - early Mar, 2020). To summarize ... it was EPIC! We secured a week rental in a awesome log-style cabin situated in the middle of a valley carved out by the Southfork of the Shoshone River. This remote region is the habitat of many wild animals including grizzly bears, wolves, bald eagles, ice climbers (we caught one live in a trap!), etc. As such, carrying bear spray while on our approaches was necessary! The mountains surrounding the South Fork host endless multi-pitch ice lines ranging from WI3 to WI6 (most in the 4-5 range). We found the approaches to be long (45min - 3 hours) and challenging. The ice was no different! We heard and confirmed that the ratings are a bit sand-bagged (maybe a number grade harder than recorded in the guidebook). This was definitely next-level ice climbing, and sooooo worth it! I think the highlight for most of us was climbing Smooth Emerald Milkshake (WI4, 7P, 250m). This was a full-value day! Almost a 3hr mostly snow approach, 6 pitches of amazing ice, cold front moving through, and three stoked 2-man teams who rocked a 13hr day. Our entire team agreed that this was a stellar trip, and so, we will be running it again next year.
Here are some shweeet pix:
Our pad. What an epic view!
Chillin after a great day on the ice.
Paul starting out on the money pitch of Smooth Emerald Milkshake (WI4). Very cold brittle ice. We all thought it felt more like WI5.
Pouty faces cuz we got denied on this (3rd) pitch of Broken Hearts. Very warm and ice was too thin, esp at the top. Based on the name we figured this may be a common issue.
Last pitch of Wyoming Wave: Todd going up, Frederick rapping down. Great ice!
Doug & Steve. I think they had permasmile for weeks afterwards. Wooohooooooooooo!