Thursday, 10 May 2012

Skyline Arete

As we are winding our way towards home we had two sunny days of climbing near Bozeman, Montana.

We haven't climbed around here before so stopped at Northern Lights and got some advice from one of the staff members. We'd kinda already looked at Skyline Arete via Mountain Project and he agreed this was a great climb. The guidebook says "Not only is Skyline Arete the longest route in the (Gallatin) Canyon and one of the easiest, it is also one of the best."

The Skyline Arete
An hour hike brought us up to the bottom of the route. Andrew led the first pitch -- which for "only" a 5.6 I thought was a bit tough. A short rappel brought us down to the start of the second pitch. I got the second lead. If I'd paid more attention to the route descriptions I might have volunteered for the first pitch! 

"Climb the fun chimney (I hate it when guidebooks say something is "fun"!) to the chockstones at the top. If you are skinny (Ha!) and trail your pack, you can squirm through a hole at the top to a good ledge or grab the rail on the right and hand traverse out around the chockstones."

Well, I did lots of grovelling up the chimney. It was not pretty and about the furthest thing from graceful that you can imagine! A lot of it involved putting your feet against one side of the chimney and your back against the other and squirming upward. (I managed to make apple sauce out of the apples that were in my backpack but the baguettes remained amazingly unsquished!)

Before the grovelling begins.
Then I got to a comfortable little cubby hole where I could rest and decide if I was going to go through the chockstone hole or around it. Unfortunately, I consider myself more of a "medium build" kinda girl so trying to wriggle through the chockstone hole, and then being embarrassed when I didn't fit, was not my first choice. But going out and around didn't look appealing either! After humming and hawing for a bit I took my pack off, put it on a long sling, and decided to try to get my larger-than-skinny butt past the chockstone. . . and once I got the gear rack out of the way, it was all good! 

Looking down the chockstone hole.
Coming up through the chockstone hole.
A couple pitches later I made "a chimney move into a unique corridor. Easily follow this up and through a hole at the top".  You've got to be kidding?!?!  Again!?!?  This one didn't say you had to be skinny but I actually found it a bit more awkward than the first one!

Looking back down the "unique corridor".

Andrew popping up through the hole at the top of the corridor.
Andrew led the final easy pitch to the top and we did one rappel off to get back to the steep trail down. An awesome day! 

Rappelling off the summit pinnacle
Foot bath a la Gallatin River

Now, the next morning, it's snowing!! Our road trip has again been amazing! 

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