Explore the best of ice climbing in the Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming
We offer custom guided ice climbing trips in the Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming. The western slope of the Bighorns is home to several world class ice climbs that are lesser known but actually easier to access than many of the more popular climbing areas near Cody. The limestone canyons and granite gorges of the western Bighorns contain a great selection of ice cragging options with difficulties ranging from WI2-WI5. Many of these flows are very dependable and highly aesthetic but see very little climbing traffic simply because neighboring Cody areas see more attention by visiting climbers. If you’re looking to hone your skills in an amazing, high-desert setting with milder approaches, a custom ice climbing trip to the Bighorn Mountains is a great option for you.
Why climb in the Bighorns with us:
We are currently the only guiding service that guides ice climbing in the Bighorn Mountains. Our ice climbing guides are experienced professionals, talented climbers, and well-trained teachers. They are also humble, personable, and overall great humans to be around in the mountains. Our guides are adept at providing safe, supportive, and inclusive climbing experiences for people of all backgrounds and ability levels. All of our ice climbing guides live and climb in the Bighorn Basin throughout the winter, which is a major advantage because they know the climbs, conditions, and hazards of the places they guide extremely well.
- Ten Sleep Canyon – More well known for it’s rock climbing, Ten Sleep Canyon is also home to three classic ice climbs including Ten Sleep Falls (WI4, 2 pitches), Leigh Creek Falls (WI4+, 2 pitches), and Tapout (WI5-6). These climbs feature shorter approaches and high quality climbing on steep ice in a magnificent setting.
- Shell Canyon – Shell Canyon has the largest concentration of ice climbs in the western Bighorns, with a good selection of climbs for beginners as well as intermediate and advanced ice climbers. The upper limestone bands of the Post Creek drainage feature several moderate spring-fed flows and the granite Central Gorge contains a number of fun steep ice and traditional mixed climbs including Smug Doug (WI3 M5), Gouge Away (WI4 M5), and the Danglers (WI5 M6).
- Five Springs Falls – Five Springs Falls is one of the region’s best ice cragging venues with a short approach and two incredible flows, a 35m WI3 and a 75m WI5. The crag is set in a beautiful granite amphitheater with an alpine feel and the ice is dependably in good condition from January to March each season.
- Cottonwood Canyon – Cottonwood Canyon is a magnificent limestone canyon in the northern Bighorns and home to two tiered crags of ice climbs ranging from WI2-4+. A mild approach, dramatic scenery, and quality moderate ice climbing make this a great option when the ice is in good condition January – March.
Trip Itineraries and Rates:
- 1 Day Itinerary
Cost: 1 person – $400; 2 people – $650
Our 1 day custom ice climbing itinerary is a great option if you only have a single day to climb but you want to make the most of it! Your guide will work with you to select an exciting objective (typically an area classic) that is in good condition, appropriate for your skill and fitness levels, and features fun, high quality climbing. Our primary objective with this trip is providing a safe and highly rewarding ice climbing experience that you will remember for many years to come!
- 2 Day Itinerary
Cost: 1 person – $350/day; 2 people – $550/day
Our 2 day custom ice climbing itinerary is a full-value experience for those looking for an action-packed two days of guiding in one of the best ice climbing venues in the country. Your guide will coordinate with you to choose two exciting objectives that align with your climbing goals and are well-suited to your skill level. Generally people like to choose one moderate objective for day 1 to work on technique and streamline their systems followed by a more challenging objective on day 2 to push themselves on a harder climb.
- 3 Day or More Itinerary
Cost: 1 person: $300/day, 2 people: $500/day
This is our most popular custom ice climbing itinerary by far! Our 3-4 day itinerary is an excellent option if you’re looking to really progress in your climbing and explore a variety of climbs in the Bighorns. Your guide will work with you to select objectives for each day that align with your climbing goals and appropriate for your skill level. We suggest climbing in multiple areas over the course of your trip in order to experience the incredible variety of terrain the region has to offer. We also highly recommend scheduling at least one rest day after two days of climbing in order to recharge for the rest of your trip.
Our custom ice climbing trips to the Bighorns are available from December to March. If you want to climb in a particular area, these are typically the best times to climb in the following ice climbing venues in the Bighorns:
- Ten Sleep Canyon – December through March
- Shell Canyon – January through March
- Five Springs Falls – December through March
- Cottonwood Canyon – January through March
Guide to climber ratio:
All of our custom ice climbing trips have a 1:1 or 1:2 guide to climber ratio.
Transportation: Nearby Cody has an airport serviced by both Delta and United Airlines. You can also fly into neighboring Billings, Montana (where flights are often cheaper) and rent a car to drive to Cody.
Accommodations: We recommend staying at either a hotel or bread and breakfast in Cody, Greybull, or Lovell rather than winter camping on your trip. Temperatures are quite frigid at night and it’s really nice to warm up and dry all of your gear after a long day of ice climbing.
Meeting location: You will meet your guide at a designated location in Cody, Ten Sleep, Greybull, or Lovell WY depending on the location of your trip.
Daily schedule: We typically will meet at 7am, drive to the climbing location, and finish climbing by 4pm, arriving back in Cody between 5-6pm.
Equipment: Many climbers choose to bring all of their own gear, but we can provide all technical ice climbing equipment including Camp-Cassin ice tools, crampons, helmets, harnesses, ice screws, etc. We do highly recommend bringing your own mountaineering boots if you own them because the approaches in Cody require extensive hiking off-trail and it’s preferable to hike in boots that are broken in to your feet.
Interested in booking a custom ice climbing trip to the Bighorns with us? Please send us an email including your name, email address, phone number, climbing experience, in addition to a description of what, where, and when you’d like to climb.