Lately I have been motivated to climb as many ice routes as I possibly can (in between student teaching) with a personal bias towards obscure or unpopular routes. I decided that I'll try and climb all the "recorded" ice routes in the Beartooth Mountains to ensure the quality of obscurity. This last weekend Bridget and I headed to the Stillwater River valley near Nye to climb "Nyes' ice". Nyes' ice is a long (180m, WI2/3) moderate climb that spills over a beautiful cliff band near the Stillwater mine. The climb sits entirely on the property of the mine. The Stillwater mine digs up Paladium and Platinum and is the largest paladium producer in the world (used in electronics). Having the ice climb lie on a mine's property makes for a unique situation. We had to ask for permission to climb the route from the guard station at the enterance to the mine, luckily the route is visable from the guard station so it makes explaining what you want to do/climb much easier. We lucked out and the guard let us climb the route (it turns out that to climb the route on the weekend you must call and ask permission on a business day to get formal permission from the higher ups).
We ended up having goldy-lock conditions. The ice was fat and sticky, there was hardly any snow, the valley was beautiful, there was abundant wildlife, and the climbing was 100% type 1 fun.
The reason I'm talking this route up so much (it's only WI2 for all you radsters) is that it is the best route of the grade I have ever climbed- pure hippy holler glee!
Spot the line?
We ended up soloing the first 300' of the route over rambling, fun, ice. Bridget soloing the initial portion of the route.
yee haw pilgrim! the upper pitches of the route.
Bridget leading on the upper pitches
Bridget coming up the final pitch- all smiles.
Nice views from the top
One of the best parts was eating at the greasy spoon of "Carter's camp" (the hotel/post office/eatery/saloon) in Nye. Bridget going big buck hunting.