Ice Climbing Conditions in the Bighorn Basin

As guides routinely working in northern Wyoming’s ice climbing areas, we like to provide conditions updates as a service to the local climbing community. These updates help inform people about their climbing objectives, seasonal conditions, access issues, and potential hazards. As ice climbing in the area becomes more popular, we hope this resource will help improve the safety and sustainability of the activity.

DISCLAIMER: However helpful for planning and preparation, conditions reports are not all encompassing. They may not reflect current ice conditions due to the fluid nature of the medium. In addition, these reports are only one of many tools ice climbers need to make good decisions and stay safe. Ice climbing is an inherently dangerous activity, and this resource is not a substitute for the advanced skills and extensive experience needed to safely venture out on your own. If you are inexperienced, make sure you climb with someone who is a competent ice leader with years of experience or consider hiring a guide. And even if you are an experienced ice climber, please consider starting out on easier terrain as you grow accustomed to the area.

Want to learn more about these climbing areas? See our digital guide for individual route descriptions.

Carter Mountain:

Carter Mountain conditions as we encountered them 10/31-11/3:

Curtains – P1 was fat, P2 is thinner but steep and super fun, and P3 on the thin but chill side

Pitch 1 of Curtains on 11/2

Reality Strikes – Great! The snow quality at the top is poor for a rappel anchor so plan on downclimbing or leaving some gear.

Reality Strikes on 10/31

Aaron’s Gift – Out

The Wig – Looked great, as does the new mixed line to the right, didn’t get on either

The Wig on 11/3

Cold War and Skirmish – Fat and juicy, worth the hike

Cold War and Skirmish on 11/1

Note: it’s getting pretty warm up there, so anticipate the lower elevation climbs to not fare as well this week.

South Fork Valley:

Almost completely out. We heard reports of some climbs on the upper bench being climbed early last week but by the weekend all but a handful of climbs were far from being climbable. A cold front this weekend and more consistently cold temperatures next week should produce better conditions in the coming weeks.

Smooth Emerald Milkshake on 10/30

Bighorn Mountains:

For all intents and purposes, OUT. We had a great early season this fall climbing alpine ice at high elevations in the Bighorn Peak area but the approaches to those climbs are now guarded by too much snow. Ice was just starting to form in the lower elevation canyons but the string of warm temps this week has unfortunately led to a reset.

Contact us:

Have questions about conditions or want to add your information to this report? Feel free to call at (307) 431-1741 or send us an email using the form below:

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