Trip Report
Cody South Fork Ice - January 20-26, 2013
Sunday January 27, 2013 1:54pm
Cody South Fork Ice - A Trip Report
January 20-26, 2013
BMcC
rhyang
Ed Hartouni

On November 17th I receive an email from BMcC, "Subject: Any interest in the Ouray Ice Festival?" to a group of local ice enthusiasts. I had attended last year's festival (the 17th, and wrote a trip report). That was a lot of fun, getting back into ice climbing after a 10 year hiatus, with most of my ice climbing being in the Northeast during the "pre-leash" epoch, with the exception of the necessary trip to Lee Vining in 2002 to tick off the route that appeared on the back cover of Chouinard's Climbing Ice.

The stoke from that trip to the Festival was immediately quenched by Jack Roberts' death the following weekend, which had hugely affected my thoughts on ice climbing, and the calculation of risk we all perform. While I greatly loved this part of our sport, it seemed that if someone with Jack's experience could die on a climb he had done countless times, whatever the cause of that event, then really was it something I should be doing, could I justify the risk for just the personal gratification?

I wasn't going to be advancing the sport, at this tender old age.

So I was surprised that my response in BMcC's email was, "hmmm, that might be fun." And while I might have slightly rationalized this in spite of my bittersweet feelings of last year, I also know that none of us climbers would want our fellow climbers to stop climbing because of our own demise. We all know this stuff happens, it is an important aspect looming in the background of this pursuit of whatever it is that drives us to such a superfluous activity. So I resolved to go…

But an immediate practical problem asserted itself: gear. I learned of the tremendous advances of ice tool technology over my Chouinard Equipment X-Tools… and I wasn't going to climb ice again without modern tools, but dropping $500+ on a pair of tools for a week-a-year activity didn't seem in the cards either. I was talking aloud at Sunrise Mountain Sports and my very generous friend Sasha enthusiastically offered me a loan of her Vipers for the trip. I've known Sasha for many years now, and I was honored at her unconstrained trust and enthusiasm. I told her that I would acknowledge her equipment sponsorship of my trip.

Sasha belaying at SRG.
Sasha belaying at SRG.
Credit: Ed Hartouni

BMcC had opened the discussion about the Ice Festival, but I knew that he often had a trip itinerary that extended beyond the event. I had "done the Festival" and wasn't sure that I was up for that scene again this year. I truly enjoyed last year, especially meeting the top ice climbers who attended to compete and to instruct, and the climbers who had gone to receive instruction. My climbing history was decidedly independent, and my instincts are always amateur. Anyway, I replied, in time, to BMcC's email, "what's on the schedule after the Ice Festival?"

This started a back and forth that eventually included rhyang and settled on a week of climbing on the South Fork of the Shoshone River outside of Cody, WY. In fact Decko had replied to my Ouray thread that ice climbing out there was closer to the wild forms I had enjoyed in my youthful exploits in the Northeast, before the concept of a "picked out" route existed.

So the plan was set. While BMcC and rhyang made their way up to Cody via Joe's Valley by car, I'd fly in and meet them on Sunday at the "Yellowstone Regional Airport" in Cody. I think there is one United Airlines flight in and one out a day, (evening in, morning out) through Denver.
California Ice Climber's approach vehicle... bound for eastern glory.
California Ice Climber's approach vehicle... bound for eastern glory.
Credit: Ed Hartouni
My exhortation not to let the NFL dominate my life paid off as my team went down in defeat… and my only satisfaction was that I didn't loose time in the matter…

The weirdness of air travel is that you walk through an aluminum door in one place, and walk out of that same door in another. In this case, that other place seemed to know something about ice climbing.
the guy in that poster looks vaguely familiar
the guy in that poster looks vaguely familiar
Credit: Ed Hartouni

If you want to know more about Cody Ice, there are lots of good resources out there. The first is Joe Josephson's guide book Winter Dance. Mark Twight wrote the Forward.

There is also the website of Aaron Mulkey, Cold Fear with lots of great images, videos, stories and timely beta. I met Aaron at the Festival, though we didn't talk about Cody then.

Another resource is Mountain Project, and it was an inquiry there by rhyang that found our "base camp" accommodations at the Flying-H ranch. The "ice climber's" rental can be arranged through Footes Mountaineering which has a FB presence.

The South Fork is within the Shoshone National Forest and the "usual" climber accommodation is the Deer Creek campground.

There are advantages to camping, of course, the primary one being that not much recommends sitting in the tent any longer than necessary… so you are motivated to get out climbing sooner in the morning, and longer in the day. This week would be rather moderate, however. We had passed a weather station on our drive into the Flying-H so I searched and found it's reporting presence on the web.

ID: TS010
NAME: SHF2 - PORTABLE
LATITUDE: 44.1539
LONGITUDE: -109.6039
ELEVATION: 6390 ft
MNET: RAWS

The NOAA website is an amazing resource (click this link for more).

A Google Earth overview shows the relative locations of things in the valley.
overview of the E.Fork of the Shoshone River valley ice climbing area
overview of the E.Fork of the Shoshone River valley ice climbing area
Credit: Ed Hartouni
and the weather station provided the climate information that informs our trip, that is, warm weather:
weather during the trip
weather during the trip
Credit: Ed Hartouni
The weather station is "portable" so I don't know if or when it will move, but it should be reporting for the rest of the season, and is located in as good a spot as you could want to give you local information on the conditions.

BMcC and rhyang had been out on the Northside of the valley and reported melted-out conditions on their sojourn to The Outdoorsman. The plan was developed after finding little to climb to concentrate our attention on the Southside (the dark band at the bottom of the overview image).

The ranch caretaker, Dean, described the route to the far end of the ranch where we could park the car and take about 3/4 of a mile off our walk. The Flying-H is optimally located for climbs on this side of the valley. We had approaches that were roughly 1 hour of hiking, first on flat terrain, then on steeper hills.
rhyang hikes an approach
rhyang hikes an approach
Credit: Ed Hartouni

BMcC and rhyang stopping for orientation, and shedding of layers
BMcC and rhyang stopping for orientation, and shedding of layers
Credit: Ed Hartouni
After driving out to meet Dean at 9am, exchanging information with the departing climbing team from Colorado (whose names I have forgotten, sorry guys), we headed out to do High On Boulder, WI4+ in 3 pitches.
High on Boulder, WI4+
High on Boulder, WI4+
Credit: Ed Hartouni
The formation was in and while not all the variations were fat, the main route was.
High on Boulder from its base
High on Boulder from its base
Credit: Ed Hartouni
rhyang took the first lead up to a bolted ledge on the right side of the formation.
rhyang nears the top of p2 of High on Boulder
rhyang nears the top of p2 of High on Boulder
Credit: Ed Hartouni
I followed (I didn't lead on this trip, maybe next year, I'm still learning). And the belay had a wonderful view
p2 belay station view on High on Boulder
p2 belay station view on High on Boulder
Credit: Ed Hartouni
and a surprising hostess
can't avoid the trolls
can't avoid the trolls
Credit: Ed Hartouni
BMcC lead up the variation on the left of the formation, going up from the belay at first than traversing to the base. I was belaying so I didn't get pictures. Here is rhyang dancing up the final feet of that variation
rhyang completes the 3rd pitch variation on High on Boulder
rhyang completes the 3rd pitch variation on High on Boulder
Credit: Ed Hartouni
We had started late, and were getting used to the finding the drainages, and so were treated by a lovely sunset
sunset on day 1
sunset on day 1
Credit: Ed Hartouni
rappelling in the dusk
BMcC raps to the base of High on Boulder
BMcC raps to the base of High on Boulder
Credit: Ed Hartouni
and a moonlight walk back to the car, and drive back to the ranch.

The next day we opted for Bozo's Revenge, WI3+ over 3 pitches. This is located further east from the Flying-H across from the Kestrel Ranch.
Bozo's Revenge, WI3+ in "huge" conditions
Bozo's Revenge, WI3+ in "huge" conditions
Credit: Ed Hartouni
Another great approach which required delicate hiking up the frozen creek bed.
BMcC on approach
BMcC on approach
Credit: Ed Hartouni

rhyang arriving at the base of Bozo's Revenge
rhyang arriving at the base of Bozo's Revenge
Credit: Ed Hartouni
BMcC got the first short pitch (which might have been easily done scrambling), and the third pitch. rhyang got the 2nd pitch.
BMcC leading p1 of Bozo's Revenge
BMcC leading p1 of Bozo's Revenge
Credit: Ed Hartouni

rhyang hanging out at the p2 belay on Bozo's Revenge
rhyang hanging out at the p2 belay on Bozo's Revenge
Credit: Ed Hartouni

BMcC topping out on Bozo's Revenge
BMcC topping out on Bozo's Revenge
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Another satisfying hike back to the car with the setting sun.

sunset walk back to camp
sunset walk back to camp
Credit: Ed Hartouni

We were settling into the climbing. Our choices of moderates dictated by conditions. The fat ice was in drainages that saw no sun during the day. The other climbs had melted out. For day 3 we opted for Mean Green which is WI5 over 7 pitches, where pitch 4 is the WI5. However, the Colorado climbers had warned us that pitch 4 wasn't in shape good enough for them to climb it, and it had only gotten warmer since, with night time temperatures above freezing.
Mean Green WI5 7 pitches
Mean Green WI5 7 pitches
Credit: Ed Hartouni
you can see the long first (WI4) and second pitches in the picture, and pitches 5,6,7 (WI3) up the drainage… if you look carefully you might see pitch 3, but pitch 4 is hidden in the drainage.

Here is BMcC following rhyang's great lead of p1.
BMcC on p1 of Mean Green
BMcC on p1 of Mean Green
Credit: Ed Hartouni
and rhyang nearing the top of p3.
rhyang leads p3 of Mean Green
rhyang leads p3 of Mean Green
Credit: Ed Hartouni
We had a bit of an epic on p2 because the communications are not so good, and the rope freezing on the wet ice prevented "rope tug" communications. Probably better to put the belay for p2 close to the top so voice commands can be heard (or bring radios). We eventually worked it out, got to the hiking/scrambling to view p4 and found it wasn't going to go.

p4 of Mean Green, rotting junk
p4 of Mean Green, rotting junk
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Here is a view looking down the drainage enroute to the lower pitch rappels.

view down the Mean Green drainage
view down the Mean Green drainage
Credit: Ed Hartouni

We were getting the hang of the place and getting back earlier every day. On our walk out on Mean Green we saw that Duck Soup was still in so that would be day 4.
Duck Soup, WI3
Duck Soup, WI3
Credit: Ed Hartouni
Funny that Mountain Project has a picture of "Jim and Julie" smiling on the approach. I was in that same position and was not smiling, it is a DFU ascent on unconsolidated rubble, BMcC and rhyang took another path up, as delicate and consequential, and arrived after me… it was the crux of this WI3+ 1 pitch climb (we did in 2 pitches).
BMcC comfortable at p1 belay on Duck Soup
BMcC comfortable at p1 belay on Duck Soup
Credit: Ed Hartouni
BMcC at the belay of his p1 lead, and coming up over the top on p2:
BMcC arrives at the willows on top of Duck Soup
BMcC arrives at the willows on top of Duck Soup
Credit: Ed Hartouni
a distinctly alpine setting
alpine setting at the base of Duck Soup
alpine setting at the base of Duck Soup
Credit: Ed Hartouni
and the definition of "huge" from the Cold Fear website
parting shot of Duck Soup
parting shot of Duck Soup
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Friday had arrived already, and we were departing the ranch, trying to get one more climb in and then stay in Cody proper for our (me and rhyang) early flights back to the Bay Area.

The Bunkhouse Cabin which was our posh basecamp
Flying-H Bunkhouse Cabin
Flying-H Bunkhouse Cabin
Credit: Ed Hartouni
with Dean and Molly
Ranch manager Dean
Ranch manager Dean
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Ranch manager's assistant, Molly
Ranch manager's assistant, Molly
Credit: Ed Hartouni

to whom we said our "good-byes" and really wishing to return next year.

Off to the Deer Creek drainage to see what was in…
Deer Creek drainage at the bridge
Deer Creek drainage at the bridge
Credit: Ed Hartouni

a first look reconnaissance to Too Cold to Fire
Too Cold to Fire, WI4 1 p
Too Cold to Fire, WI4 1 p
Credit: Ed Hartouni
Which was in, especially the approach scramble, and fat ice. This image was taken in the short time the sun's azimuth aligns with the narrow canyon.

What I learned, however, on the recon, was that my left knee was still complaining from the epic descent from Duck Soup the day before. Another few hours of kicking into ice was not in the cards. It was a good place to be, "leaving it all on the field" so to speak, my body was telling me that I was at my limit for this trip.

I hung around taking pictures and exploring the road's end while BMcC and rhyang played on that last, sweet pitch. I saw the vanguard of the weekend's climbers showing up at the campground and hoped them luck on their endeavors. Saw a team on Mean Green.

This is a terrific place to ice climb. I can only imagine what it is like in better conditions, slightly more water and colder temps. And this is only one part of "Cody Ice."

Thanks to all of you who helped to make it happen. I especially want to thank BMcC for his infinite capacity to stoke, and to rhyang for his "can do" attitude. They lead everything, I was happy to join their rope on this trip.








  Trip Report Views: 3,433
Ed Hartouni
About the Author
Ed Hartouni is a trad climber from Livermore, CA.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
this just in

climber
north fork
  Jan 27, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
Great pics and trip you three. I probably will never get into ice climbing, but always enjoy the pics and can sense the adventure.
10b4me

climber
  Jan 27, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
TFPU. looks like it was warm all over the west this past week.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jan 27, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
Looks like a really fun trip, and something very different to shake up the SF Bay Area weekend warrior routine! Good job for making time to do fun stuff, and for sharing it with us :)
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
  Jan 27, 2013 - 02:37pm PT
Fantastic Ed Hartouni. Super cool TR. Best compliment I can give is it was just like being there.

Rhang isn't the only one with the "can do" spirit. You turned ice climber, I turned hippy, outdoor person. Just no telling what life holds for them that launch out.....Cheers, lynnie
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jan 27, 2013 - 03:02pm PT
that does it, Cody is on the list.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 27, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
Thanks Ed, I always enjoy your TR's.
I doubt I'll ever get in to ice myself, way to much objective hazard for me.

Cheers,

-e
Some Random Guy

climber
  Jan 27, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
NICE! looks like you guys got some fat lines for the warm temps. cold mighta brought more ice but for 40+ degree weather climbing that is fantastic. i'd rather have that than freeze my ass off in -10 degree weather for a few more lines. good job
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Jan 27, 2013 - 10:38pm PT

Awful nice, Ed.
(but you didn't try to call me when you were at DIA). . .

hee hee hee. . .

Too bad all of Mean Green wasn't in, it's such an AWESOME climb.
Thanks for sharing!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Jan 27, 2013 - 11:06pm PT
Ed! I am glad you had such a great adventure near Cody. The good climbs look most inviting.

Thank you for taking the time to post the photos and story!

(Heidi just stopped by my computer and looked at the last couple waterfalls. She reminded me that I had used up my "frozen-waterfall-luck" by the mid-1980's.

Indeed! I quit waterfall-climbing "cold-turkey" after my subconscious mind whacked me a couple times with that awful thought:

Ye're gunna die!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jan 27, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
Nice Ed. Could you imagine if all that rock was actually good. Heading there this weekend. I am hoping for warm temps as we usually just do the fat classics and will be camping.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 27, 2013 - 11:30pm PT
Ed, excellent trip report and great fun climbing ice with you again!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Author's Reply  Jan 28, 2013 - 12:10am PT
Decko

Trad climber
Colorado
  Jan 28, 2013 - 01:53am PT
LOL.....

Yes Ed we were smiling at the base of Duck Soup........

A good hump there for sure, and a fine climb BuT with so many other longer classics in the valley we won't be running back to it any time soon.....

Glad to see the valley is bringing enjoyment to folks.......

Seeing how Julie had a baby girl Xmas eve, we may not make it up to Cody this season......

Thanks for the trip report.....

Good stuff....
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Jan 28, 2013 - 02:19am PT
hey there, say, ed and rhyang...

this is GREAT! THANKS so very much for sharing...
computer troubles, as to slow stuff, so i can't comment
a lot, will even have to come back to see mre...

butthank you somuch!! :)
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jan 28, 2013 - 11:06am PT
Thank you for posting! Love the ice climbing TRs. Too bad mean green wasn't formed. That line is one of the best in Cody supposedly. Did you ask any people who frequent the place if it forms later in the winter usually? Or earlier? Or is it not predictable in general?
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 28, 2013 - 11:10am PT
Hey mike m - got a bit of snow yesterday, buried my tracks and pack while I was up on Grandma's Chicken. Some wallowing in unconsolidated snow on the hiking stretches between the ice steps.

In less than 2 and a half hours, fresh and wind-blown snow covered my ...
In less than 2 and a half hours, fresh and wind-blown snow covered my pack lying cross-wise on this log.
Credit: BMcC

My Pilot looked lonely when I got back to the Cabin Creek trailhead.
My Pilot looked lonely when I got back to the Cabin Creek trailhead.
Credit: BMcC
No other vehicles at the Cabin Creek trailhead and saw only a few on the road until back in Cody.

Several inches of snow on the road made the ~45-mile drive back to Cody longer than the hour and a quarter it took the day before.

NWS sez some more snow and wind before nice weather this weekend. I can imagine that there's some snow loading in the bowls above some of the climbs.

I hope the weather and avi potential settle down for you by this coming weekend.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Author's Reply  Jan 28, 2013 - 11:36am PT
...perhaps I would have smiled had I known I was close enough to the base that I probably wasn't going to die by slipping down that rubbly slope...

thanks for the recommendation last year, Decko, it piqued my interest and made it a "must check" venue, Cody ice climbing. And congrats to Julie on negotiating that major crux in life.

BMcC, great climbing with you too, always... the knee is a lot better today.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 28, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
Ed, I'm glad your knee is doing better! Bill
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Jan 28, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
Livermore bump!

Nice efforts you all.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 28, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
Ed Hartouni cruising the middle pitch of High on Boulder (1/21/13)
Ed Hartouni cruising the middle pitch of High on Boulder (1/21/13)
Credit: BMcC
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jan 28, 2013 - 01:57pm PT
Thanks for your usual fine report, Ed. I roared when I saw your caption on the picture of the "approach vehicle."

It made a wonderful diversion from work this morning.

John
wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
  Jan 28, 2013 - 03:29pm PT
Hi Ed,

Enjoyed your TR.

I was one of the Colorado climbers that met you at the Flying H. Glad you received the full Cody experience (along with sore knee from the steep, long approaches).

The conditions are weird this year. A few years ago, it was even warmer, but the shady side climbs were in better condition than this year. I'm sure the lack of moisture in the intermountain West, along with the warm temps are to blame. Still, Cody has so much, that I never worry too much about the conditions.

We saw what Dean was sure was a wolf track on this trip. What an awesome wilderness climbing experience.

Cheers!
Brad
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Jan 28, 2013 - 04:36pm PT
Thanks for the pictures Ed: keep on truckin'!
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Jan 28, 2013 - 06:38pm PT
Bravo!! Excellent times!!
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
  Jan 28, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
Nice report. If you want to do lots of fun ice with reasonable approaches fly into Calgary then head to Ghost River
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
  Jan 28, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
Great TR. Thanks for taking us along Ed. We need to bottle Ed's enthusiasm and joie de vivre!
rhyang

climber
SJC
  Jan 28, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
This turned out to be a nine-day vacation for me, and I had a blast climbing with these gentlemen.

I'd only been to the south fork one other time, in Feb. 2007. I broke my neck later that year, and it has been a dream of mine to go back and lead some of the stuff I followed, particularly the second pitch of High On Boulder (note re: photo caption -- Bill led the first pitch).

Thanks guys for making this trip a dream come true !
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 28, 2013 - 09:51pm PT
Fun trip, guys!

Unfortunate that the 4th pitch of Mean Green was so very rotten and slushy looking - sounding, too.

Mean Green 4th pitch - it sounded even worse with running water than i...
Mean Green 4th pitch - it sounded even worse with running water than it looked (1/22/13)
Credit: BMcC

Side view of the 4th pitch on Mean Green - the water running through a...
Side view of the 4th pitch on Mean Green - the water running through and off of it was noisy!
Credit: BMcC


Ed crushing easy ice:
Ed arriving at the 1st Bozo's belay.
Ed arriving at the 1st Bozo's belay.
Credit: BMcC
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Jan 28, 2013 - 11:04pm PT
Cool, good job gents!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jan 28, 2013 - 11:14pm PT
Thanks for the info BMcC. We got snow today and supposed to for a couple of more days. We are planning on camping so the warmer temps would be nice. What did it cost to rent the bunk house? I really miss the old bunk house that was like $25 per person.
FBaker

Trad climber
Concord, Ca
  Jan 29, 2013 - 12:30am PT
Great trip report!
Borut

Mountain climber
Ljubljana, Slovenia
  Jan 29, 2013 - 06:42am PT
TFPU
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Jan 29, 2013 - 09:19am PT
Nice!
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
  Jan 29, 2013 - 09:42am PT
I just savored this TR a SECOND time, it's that up close and refreshing. Who knows, maybe someday I'll try this COLD WINTER variation on the standard, despite it seeming more dangerous. TFPU!

.....

Ed,
I missed you while you were gone - on the science and debate threads!

Bill,
You wouldn't be related to the climber, Karl McConachie? Coincidence, perhaps.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 29, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
mike m, the 4 bunk room in the bunkhouse goes for $100/night and includes the use of an indoor bathroom and shower, kitchen, living room, and mud/laundry room (where you can hang wet ropes and other gear for drying). In the bunkhouse, there is also a bedroom with a twin-sized bed and its own bathroom/shower - I think that one is also $100. AAC members get a discount.

It's a pretty nice set up. No need to drive 45 miles or so back into Cody after climbing all day and you can dry your gear overnight.

As Ed indicated, check with Don Foote about availability.

Wouldn't you rather be in a tent?
Wouldn't you rather be in a tent?
Credit: BMcC

More spacious than any of my tents...
More spacious than any of my tents...
Credit: BMcC

Cooking over a camp stove and washing dishes with creek water or this?
Cooking over a camp stove and washing dishes with creek water or this?
Credit: BMcC

High Fructose, as much as I try to ignore Clint Eastwood's "a man's got to know his limitations" and even with shared genetics, I can't climb half as well as Karl.
Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
  Jan 29, 2013 - 04:06pm PT
The weekend of the 19/20th was pretty plush for S Fork, being pretty perfect temps: not frigid. We did Stringer and Main Vein, both in great shape.

If you ever make it back, I'd recommend Main Vein for a good day out in a great setting (not in high winds though), Spyin and Flyin (a bit of a hike but a fine unpopulated route), Sendero Illuminosa (perhaps the most aesthetic ice climb you'll ever do, when it forms, which it hasn't this year), the Moratorium (wow! Don't be sandbagged, it's a 5), and for a long day, Smooth Emerald Milkshake (in a major avalanche chute so either very early season or be very cautious about conditions). Ice Fest is really good too, but a solid 5 and only one pitch.

You got some of the real classics though, good job! What an incredible place, and this, so far, has not been a banner ice year.
Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
  Jan 29, 2013 - 05:34pm PT
Let me add a couple of points of importance about Cody for everyone's information.

1)Most routes involve hour approaches, at least. Broken Hearts, Stringer, Too Cold to Fire are the shortest (15min-1/2 hr)

Most routes are several pitches with snow or ice hiking in between.

Given the approaches and the length of the routes, you're lucky to get one route a day done.

2)Avalanche conditions. Todd Cozzens, bless his heart, suggested the idea in his original Rock and Ice Article Issue #53, that there was little avalanche hazard in the S Fork. There was a fatality a couple of years ago in the Main Vein with a big avalanche. I've seen the entire first pitch of Smoked Turkey (30m high) covered to the top with debris. Check out the drainage that Smooth Emerald Milkshake is in. The bottom is filled with debris and the drainage is scoured 40 feet up either side. The top is crowned by 3 major accumulation basins. It gets hammered. I've had the slope below Moratorium settle under me on the approach, fortunately without releasing.

So, be mindful of avalanche conditions.

3)The sandbag factor. You can pretty much bet that most ratings in Cody are 1/2 to 1 grade easier than the climbs would be rated anywhere else. A lot of 3+ here would be considered 4 or 4+ most anywhere else. Why? Well, part of it is the how the place was developed, mainly by very accomplished local climbers who had very high personal standards. Part of it is also the length of the climbs. Most pitches are full rope lengths, and they just keep coming. What I'm trying to get at is given the length of the climbs, the approaches, the generally rather frigid temps you climb in a lot, there is a brute physical factor that emerges for which you need to have a mind set to perform competently at a grade higher than the rating of the climb you want to do, to have a margin of safety. You're talking a level outside of most other places in the continental US.

Like Winter Dance says, if you can climb well in Cody, you can climb well anywhere.

4)Don't push yourself so hard that you end up needing to get a rescue. Rescues are very, very difficult in those drainages. You don't even want to think about it. Maintain a margin of safety. Take a headlamp. Take some matches in case you get benighted.

5)Become fast and competent at putting in Ablakov string anchors. This is mandatory for getting off most climbs in Cody. I like to use 6mm perlon, 4' long, tie it in a figure 8 and put them on a biner with the fish hook to pull it out of the hole. It takes some practice to get the holes to meet at the bottom, so don't wait until it's for real and the sun is going down to learn.

Most of all, have fun. This is an incredible valley. You get up high in those drainages and you realize that only ice climbers ever see these places. It's wild. I've been chased around by moose and seen griz and wolves and have had some of the best days of my climbing career there. Take care of it, don't take it for granted, and be careful.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
  Jan 30, 2013 - 11:19am PT
So Bill, is Karl your brother or cousin and does he still climb? He's got some FA's, stout ones, in my neck of the woods. Just curious is all. I don't know his history. Nice pics.

.....

EDIT 30 Jan

Bill, thanks for the reply.
Stout FAs, for sure.
sullly

Gym climber
  Jan 29, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
Nice ice. Here's to two Bay Area boys who have somehow solved the elusive work-play equation.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 30, 2013 - 03:20am PT
High Fructose - sibling with numerous stout FAs. Like many (most?) of us, doesn't climb as much as he used to.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jan 30, 2013 - 10:46am PT
Man, that looks rely cool! If you're into that sort of thing....
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
  Jan 31, 2013 - 12:26am PT
Stoke, Ed!!! Great TR and video. Rob sure does a nice ice dance.

Enjoyed first ice climbing of the season yesterday, Roadside Ice at June Lake (grueling 5 minute approach), easy stuff but it felt sooooo good to swing the tools. Horsetail Falls is fat -- if you have a mind to head Eastside for more cold fun give me a call. (just kidding...unless the answer's yes!)
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Jan 31, 2013 - 09:05pm PT
Interesting trip report.

Sitting in urbanized Japan it's great to see the wide open spaces of the American West.

I'm glad you all enjoyed yourselves.



BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 31, 2013 - 09:47pm PT
Wide open spaces?? enjoy...

The S Fork of the Shoshone River from the cliff band below Bozo's.
The S Fork of the Shoshone River from the cliff band below Bozo's.
Credit: BMcC

Heading back to Cody from the S Fork ice.
Heading back to Cody from the S Fork ice.
Credit: BMcC
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jan 31, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
Branscomb, was the first pitch of the main vein in or did you hike around. Always wanted to do that one but the first pitch seems to always be not in or in rough shape. I heard they got some snow as well the last couple of days. Leaving at 4 am hope to be tying in by noon ish after a 5-6 hour drive. Thanks for the heads up on the bunk house we are moving in tomorrow.
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Technically...the spawning grounds of Yosemite
  Feb 1, 2013 - 12:03am PT
Good stuff!!!
Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
  Feb 1, 2013 - 08:57am PT
The first pitch of Main Vein was not in at all, so we hiked around into the gulley above. The pitches above are in real nice and we left about 4 or 5 Ablakov anchors coming down. The last two pitches were a bit wet but still great. Have fun!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Feb 4, 2013 - 09:58am PT
Credit: mike m
Credit: mike m
Credit: mike m
Staying at the Flying H was awesome. No driving an hour each way, waking up to a hot shower instead of a cold crap, no driving, and an awesome veiw out the window.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Feb 4, 2013 - 10:17am PT
Man that looks SWEET!
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Feb 4, 2013 - 11:10am PT
Terrific TR! Thanks for posting up!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 4, 2013 - 11:10am PT
great that it worked out for you mike m... I'm hoping it pays for the Flying-H to keep offering the possibility.
climblight

Mountain climber
Northern NV
  Feb 6, 2013 - 06:14pm PT
Nice trip guys. Looks like I missed out yet again.
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
  Feb 6, 2013 - 06:31pm PT
Nice job Ed! Thanks for keeping the stoke alive!
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Feb 7, 2013 - 09:50am PT
Awesome tr ed!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Feb 7, 2013 - 11:08am PT
CHYT YEAH,,,NICE JOB ALL!
melski

Trad climber
bytheriver
  Feb 14, 2013 - 07:53pm PT
looks like a fun trip,,how do you recycle zero-X:s,,there like best old friends,,one safety tip,,probably should have a helmet on sitting below one of those horned heads hanging on the wall of your whiteman tent..
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Dec 12, 2013 - 12:17am PT
Where is BMcC
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Author's Reply  Dec 12, 2013 - 01:35am PT
maybe headed to Wales...
...he's recovering from a mishap this past summer but should be in fine nick for next year's ice!
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 4, 2014 - 11:04pm PT
Where? away from supertopo, off the radar, and around - Cairngorms and about pretty soon

Mt. Shasta from the south on Interstate 5 - looking quite dry (1/4...
Mt. Shasta from the south on Interstate 5 - looking quite dry (1/4/14).
Credit: BMcC

Oregon (1/4/14).
Oregon (1/4/14).
Credit: BMcC

New Years day 2014.
New Years day 2014.
Credit: BMcC
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jan 4, 2014 - 10:48pm PT
bmCc
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 4, 2014 - 11:07pm PT
mike M - hAppy nEw yr !
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jan 4, 2014 - 11:09pm PT
cODY SSOOOOONNNNN
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Feb 10, 2014 - 10:49am PT
The Flying H is no longer offering the bunkhouse.

But, the good news is the old Bison Willy's Bunkhouse is IN.

It is operated by the DDX Ranch.
http://www.ddxranchwyoming.com/lodging/

Matt Dzialak
Double Diamond X Ranch
3453 Southfork Road
(307)587-5252 (DDX Ranch Office)
(307)399-8816 (Matt's Cellphone-text is best)

$40 per person per night. There are showers, shitters, a frig, toaster oven, microwave, coffee pot and mattresses on the beds.

Stayed there this weekend and the accomodations were great, but the two feet of snow had us wishing for snowshoes. Postholing is good for the soul, right?

The cure for cabin fever, was Cabin Fever:
Cabin Fever, Southfork
Cabin Fever, Southfork
Credit: WyoRockMan
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