Monday, June 24, 2013

The Hanging Garden

Beehive peak's south face  In the beautiful Lee Metcalf wilderness.

The hanging garden is a "hanging" snow couloir that dissects Beehive Peak's north face. It was first climbed in July, 1967 (back when men were men) and has recently become a high-end ski descent in winter.  With nothing better to do with my day I decided to solo the route in late season conditions, hopefully find some ice to climb, and see the north face of Beehive Peak.  Beehive peak may be the "best" alpine peak in the greater Bozeman area (aside from the peaks lining Paradise valley) it definitely is my favorite peak in the region.  The hike in is short, the peak has no walk up route, there is snow, ice, rock, and ski descents.  It embodies all the aspects of a fun alpine peak- it actually reminds me of a tiny Grand Teton, and you can get your alpine fix and be back in town for lunch.

The hanging garden runs left to right in this photo and ends on the flat shoulder of the west ridge.  Photo obtained from:

The climb was really fun- lots of no fall terrain- but really moderate climbing.  I started by climbing the east couloir to the col, then descended down towards beehive lake.  I found the bottom of the hanging garden and had perfect frozen neve and some water ice to climb.  I topped the couloir out then tagged the summit and descended the west ridge and the 4th of July couloir.  The best part of the climb was that it allowed me to circumnavigate the peak, climb thousands of feet of ice/neve by enchaining multiple couloirs, and get back to Bozeman before 3:00pm.

Looking up the foreshortened east couloir

Perfect neve in the east couloir

Good views

down climbing neve on the north side

yea- in the hanging garden

Looking down the hanging garden

Cheers, Loren