I‌ce Climbing in Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls

Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls | Montana
5.00
4 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go ice climbing in Montana

  • Trip Highlight

    Hyalite Canyon is one of the top three ice climbing destinations in the US

  • Trip Highlight

    Experience a burst of confidence upon scaling the icy structures and waterfalls

  • Trip Highlight

    Perfect conditions and routes for both newcomers and ice climbing connoisseurs

Situated just outside of Bozeman and Big Sky in south-western Montana lie some of the best hidden ice climbing gems in the US—Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls. With the arrival of the Montanan winter, these stunning locations transform into fertile ice climbing areas just waiting to be conquered. The best thing about it is that they accommodate rookie and veteran climbers alike. The Ousel Falls are an ideal setting for beginner climbers to get the hang of this amazing winter activity, but are also perfect for seasoned climbers to get into an ice climbing mood. Hyalite Canyon, on the other hand, boasts over 200 routes with varying degrees of difficulty and is regarded as one of the top three ice climbing destinations in the US. On top of that, its glacially-carved ice cliffs and top-tier gneiss provide countless opportunities for those wishing to give mixed climbing a go. Let your knowledgeable guide navigate you on these stellar icy walls and with a little effort, you’ll be rewarded!

Season

December through March

Nearest city

Bozeman, MT, is 15 minutes away from Hyalite Canyon and about an hour away from Ousel Falls

Duration

1 or 2 days

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your days

Basic Half-Day of Private Ice Climbing at Ousel Falls

Half-day

Get ready for an exhilarating ice climbing adventure on Ousel Falls near Montana’s Big Sky. Tucked in a flat creek bottom, this stunning area is a perfect environment for beginners and more advanced climbers seeing as it is home to four climbs with varying degrees of difficulty. Get your first taste of ice climbing or sharpen your already existing skills on this exciting adventure, all with the help of your guide and surrounded by the breathtaking, frozen waterfall.

Basic Full Day of Private Ice Climbing in Hyalite Canyon

Full-day

Discover the icy walls that Hyalite Canyon offers and have tons of fun in the process! With over 200 different ice cragging routes and approaches ranging from 10 minutes to 1 hour depending on objectives, you’ll satisfy all your ice climbing needs. Whether you’re a newbie or you have some basic ice climbing knowledge, you’re bound to find something just right for you. Climb the northern edge of the Yellowstone Ecosystem and let your expert guide show you why this epic canyon is among the top 3 ice climbing destinations in the entire US!

Advanced Day of Private Ice Climbing in Hyalite Canyon

Full-day

Test your ice climbing skills to the fullest and add some new ones to your repertoire on the challenging multi-pitch and more demanding single-pitch climbs the stunning Hyalite Canyon offers. Let your knowledgeable guide show you some valuable ice cragging techniques and tricks so that you can conquer the majestic icy structures in front of you. Discover the all-time classics such as Cleopatra’s Needle, Avalanche Gulch, Matriarch and others on this electrifying adventure for advanced ice climbing enthusiasts!

Full-Day Course of Mixed Climbing in Hyalite Canyon

Full-day

Combine the best of both worlds and immerse yourself in mixed climbing on Hyalite Canyon’s exquisite ice and high quality rocks. This unique course is designed for those who already have some ice climbing experience under their belt and wish to combine it with rock climbing. Let your guide explain all the techniques needed to scale this combo of icy structures and magnificent rocks and push your climbing skills even further!

2-day Intro to Ice Climbing in Ousel Falls and Hyalite Canyon

2 days

Try your hand at ice climbing on top-notch ice and frozen waterfalls in Montana’s Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls! Spend two days building a solid ice climbing foundation including the safety, knowledge, skills and techniques required to revel in this unique winter activity. Your expert guide will navigate you on the icy structures these jaw-dropping locations boast and make sure you enjoy your ice cragging experience. Find out why Hyalite Canyon is among the top three ice climbing destinations in the US and marvel at the stunning Ousel Falls while on your way up.

Adventure content icon

Learning outcomes

2-day Introduction to Ice Climbing in Ousel Falls and Hyalite Canyon
SKILL CHECKLIST:

    • Ability to identify ice climbing equipment, properly don and check harness, helmet, boots, and crampons.
    • Belay communications.
    • Climbing knots and hitches: Figure 8 follow-through, double fisherman’s, prussic, munter, clove hitch, and water knot.
    • Proper top rope anchor placement and setup.
    • Rappel setup and techniques with friction devices.
    • Ice climbing technique up to WI4 with coaching.

Full Day Course of Mixed Climbing in Hyalite Canyon
SKILLS COVERED:

    • Review of steep ice climbing techniques and skills
    • Tool and crampon placements on the rock (edges, hooks, torques, etc)
    • Gear selection and protection types in various types of rock
    • Mixed climbing technique on low angle, vertical, and steep mixed climbs
    • Matching tools, stein pulls, side pulls, etc.
Trip Highlights

Itinerary

2-day Intro to Ice Climbing in Ousel Falls and Hyalite Canyon

Day 1: Ousel Falls
On the first day of your electrifying ice climbing adventure, you’ll meet your guide at your guide’s shop in Bozeman at 7am. You’ll then fit all the necessary gear, fill out the paperwork and head towards Ousel Falls. Climb some of the best routes these marvelous waterfalls have to offer and your guide will make sure to show you all you need to know to become a competent ice climber. You’ll return to the shop between 3:30 and 4:30pm.

An ice climber ascending an icy structure

Day 2: Hyalite Canyon
Meet your guide at the guide shop at 7am and head to Hyalite Canyon. Kick off the day by reviewing skills from Day 1. Your guide will slowly but surely introduce you to steeper ice climbing techniques. You’ll get all the necessary instruction and coaching on these steeper climbs. Take some of the most amazing photos on routes seeing as there are many great photo opportunities. You’ll return to the shop between 3:30 and 4:30pm. Return the gear, debrief from the trip and you can grab your guiding company’s hoodie or shirt at their shop.

An ice climber surrounded by icy structures
Reviews

Reviews (4)

Carrie Dino about Montana Alpine Guides on Montana Alpine Guides’ website

Thanks so much for a great day. Peter was fantastic. He was great with the kids and made the day fun. Having never ice climbed, I absolutely loved the experience and will definitely try it again next time in Montana. Thanks again for accommodating our little ones.

Janine Young about Montana Alpine Guides on Montana Alpine Guides’ website

Everyone couldn’t have been nicer – and quite the crew – Pete and Stephen were terrific! Pete was able to guide me through my hesitation and gave excellent tips- inspired confidence. He has such a natural way of setting people at ease… The challenge was attempting something physically and mentally challenging and seeing how they opened the gates in Hyalite during the winter… So many people don’t understand that winter lifestyles are captivating and stunning.

Danny Lehto about Montana Alpine Guides on Montana Alpine Guides’ website

From ice climbing technique and instruction to my first ever multi-pitch ice climb in the beautiful Montana backcountry, Sam Magro and MAG provided an enjoyable, challenging, and safe experience. I would definitely recommend them.

Stacy Bare about Montana Alpine Guides on Montana Alpine Guides’ website

Montana Alpine Guides is one of the best guide services in the country. We’ve been working with Sam and his team since 2010 and it’s always a pleasure to get outdoors with MAG! Regardless of who we bring in as climbers, with different mental and physical health challenges, people leave motivated, excited, and stoked on the mountains!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls, Montana

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls, Montana, please refer to the Official State of Montana Government and Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on the private adventures:

    • An experienced, local guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A half or full day of ice climbing depending on your chosen itinerary
    • 3.5% land use surcharge for private trips
    • All technical equipment (ice tools, boots, crampons, helmet, harness, belay device and locking carabiner)

What’s not included on the private adventures:

    • Transportation
    • Personal clothing and equipment
    • Food and snacks for the day
    • Parking

What you get on the 2-day Intro to Ice Climbing and a Full day Course of Mixed Climbing:

    • An experienced, local guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • Full day of mixed climbing or 2 days of ice climbing depending on your chosen itinerary
    • All technical equipment (ice tools, boots, crampons, helmet, harness, belay device and locking carabiner)

What’s not included:

    • Transportation
    • Accommodation
    • Personal clothing and equipment
    • Food and snacks for the day(s)
    • Parking

How fit do I need to be?

If you can climb a ladder, you’re good to go. Being in good shape is always a plus but far from necessary. Ice climbing is all about using good movement technique rather than muscling up ice formations using brute strength. To ensure you have a fun day, your guide will choose routes that best suit your skill and fitness level.

What if I’ve never ice climbed before?

Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls have plenty of options for beginner ice climbers. Whether you’ve never ice climbed before or are transitioning from the rock to ice climbing, your guide will customize the day to suit your skill level and objectives. With a guide by your side, you’ll learn something new, stay safe on the ice formations, and most importantly, have fun!

For intermediate to advanced ice climbers, Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls have loads of routes to spend the day on. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while ice climbing the classic routes or best hidden gems the area has to offer.

What about required equipment?

All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service if coordinated in advance and is included in your price. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:

    • Climbing helmet
    • Insulated ice climbing boot with crampon compatibility
    • Climbing harness
    • Ice Tools
    • Crampons (step-in with vertical front points, must fit your boots)
    • Belay device and locking carabiner

Here’s a list of the equipment you should bring:

    • Medium or lightweight fleece or sweater
    • Heavyweight fleece
    • Down or synthetic insulated jacket
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood
    • Lightly insulated, trim fit soft or hard-shell pants (baggy may get damaged by crampons)
    • Waterproof pants — optional
    • Midweight (top & bottom) synthetic or wool long underwear
    • Midweight socks
    • Fleece or wool hat that covers ears and fits under a helmet
    • One thin pair of medium weight gloves and one thick pair
    • Gaiters — optional
    • Neck gaiter/buff or scarf
    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40-55L bag with ice tool carrying compatibilities)
    • Water bottle (1L) — with insulated sleeve, full
    • Food you can eat on-the-go (energy bars, GU packs or Hammer Gels)
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunscreen
    • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
    • Ski pole(s) for approaches — optional
    • Camera — optional (helmets have GoPro cam mounts)

Here’s a list of the equipment you should bring for multi-pitch climbs only:

    • Headlamps
    • Superlight 10-20-liter pack (to bring on route for belay coat, water and food; alternatively, have a method to clip the above items to harness
    • Optional second base layer top (to change into after long sweaty approaches)
    • Plastic ice-screw holders (pre-mounted to your harness)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • For the Basic ice climbing, the max. guest to guide ratio is 4:1. For Advanced ice climbing, the max. guest to guide ratio is 2:1. All the private adventures can accommodate groups up to 16 participants.
    • Costs decrease as the group grows for private adventures, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
    • For the 2-day Intro course and Mixed Climbing adventures, the max. guest to guide ratio is 4:1. All prices are per person.
    • It takes a minimum of 3 participants for the 2-day Intro course and Full Day Course of Mixed Climbing adventure to operate.

Ice climbing days in Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If your group has ice climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls in Montana, most people fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport about 30 minutes away from Hyalite Canyon and an hour away from Ousel Falls. From there, you can rent a car or get a taxi to get to your guiding company’s shop in Bozeman, 13 Enterprise Blvd., Bozeman, or to get to Hyalite Canyon and Ousel Falls.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, you will meet your guide at your guide’s shop in Bozeman, 13 Enterprise Blvd., Bozeman, or at a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

View FAQ

Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding
Trip inquiry for
Your next adventure
Where would you like to go and what would you like to to?

Choose an adventure

Choose location*

When would you like to go on a trip?

Choose a date

Group size*

How can we contact you?

Full Name*

E-mail*

Phone number

Anything else we should know?

What else should we know before connecting you with the guide? (optional)

57hours trip inquiry fail
Sorry, something went wrong!

Please try again, or contact us at support@57hours.com and we’ll resolve the problem.

57hours trip inquiry success
Your inquiry was successfully sent to the guides!
57hours trip inquiry email fail
Sorry, but your inquiry didn’t go through!

Please try again or contact us at support@57hours.com and we’ll resolve the problem.

Log in

Log in or sign up to save a trip to your bucket list

Saved to bucket list!
View list
Removed from bucket list
View list