Erik Johnson and I jumped right back into Montana winter (from a quick stint in Indian Creek) with an ascent of "ice, wind, & sky". I.W. & S. is the continuation of the classic "California Ice" (WI4/5) located in the East Rosebud of Montana. We broke trail up new snow to the base of Cali ice, climbed the 3 long (60m) pitches, then broke left at the top of the third pitch into the I.W. & S gully. Upon entering this interesting gully we simul-climbed the remaining 1,000 feet to the plateau climbing quality moderate ice with some character building snow slogging to keep us honest. We topped out the plateau then descended into spread creek back to the truck, about 12 hours later. Ice, wind, & sky is by far the best way to top California ice out (having done both top outs now) it entails at least 90 more meters of good ice climbing in a spectacular setting and grants about 4,000' of ascending total!
California Ice and the top of "Ice, Wind, and Sky" in the upper left. (Photo By Erik Johnson)
The first 2 pitches of California Ice
Myself at the top of the California ice headwall (Photo by Erik Johnson)
The upper pitches of "Ice, Wind, & Sky"
And then the ice just ends. ice, wind, and sky indeed.
This pretty much sums up the descent
Erik Johnson... international man of mystery
we are claiming the first recorded mustache ascent of the route