Fall 2017

Outside Bozeman Fall 2017
What's Bozeman's definitive season? Is it winter, with Bridger's cold smoke? Maybe it's summer, with the Gallatin's blue-ribbon trout. Spring isn't bad either, what with all the backcountry skiing, early-season biking, and pre-runoff fishing. But around the O/B office, fall is king. There's still fishing and biking and hiking aplenty, but in fall there's also the hunt. Whether you're stalking elk into the backcountry or taking your shotgun for a walk up an old logging road, the hunt defines the season, and it dominates our latest issue. We cover access, ethics, backcountry navigation, and the latest gear. And while hunting sets the tone, it's by no means the only subject covered. We have featured bike rides, fishing hotspots, late-season hikes, and much more—dig in.

 

 

 

Features

Upper Madison, Fly Fishing, West Yellowstone
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John Way
Autumn in the upper Madison Valley. Every sport has its iconic, generation-transcending locales: baseball has Yankee Stadium; golf, the back nine at Augusta; football, Green Bay’s Lambeau Field. And fly fishing has the Madison River. Steeped in lore and Western fly-fishing history, it’s on every... Details
Crazy Mountains, Crazies, access, land-transfer, Outside Bozeman
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E. Donnall Thomas, Jr.
Suddenly, and with dubious (possibly illegal) justification, we are losing historic public-land access. The land-transfer movement is a national trend, but the fallout is being felt close to home—most recently, in the Crazy Mountains north of Big Timber.Menis, the first word of the Iliad, is... Details
Bozeman Public Land Advocates
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the editors
Local warriors in the fight for public land. It seems that each season brings yet another attack on access to public land and water. All around southwest Montana—like the rest of the West—signs are going up, gates are being locked, roads and trails are being blocked off. Meanwhile, the public is... Details
Ted Kerasote, Three Long Seconds, Outside Bozeman
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Ted Kerasote
The human mind can process an astounding amount of information in a few short moments, especially when life and death hang in the balance. My hunting partner Scott and I walked through the scattered subalpine fir, through granite outcroppings and intermittent ponds perched far above the distant... Details

Departments

Alpacas of Montana, Bozeman
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Drew Hulse
Alpaca fleece finds a Bozeman niche. “I can almost guarantee you will not be spit on today,” Sarah assures me. She and her husband James, the founders of Alpacas of Montana, lead me through open pasture, weaving through a sea of long necks and bushy heads. James addresses each alpaca by name. “Hey... Details
Johnson Canyon, Mountain Bike, Bozeman
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Mel Cronin
Biking Johnson Canyon. For many Bozemanites, fall is hunting season. For others, it’s obsessively-check-the-weather-to-see-if-it-will-snow season. For but a select few, fall is still biking season—at least until the snow flies in earnest. With conditions changing day to day, dry trail is hardly a... Details
camping, breakfast, meals, pancakes, blueberry pancakes
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Deborah Katz
Spruce up your campsite breakfast. When camping, I enjoy morning coffee and breakfast as much as any meal, if not more. After all, this fuel enables us to stay out on the trail or river for as long as possible. If you’d like an alternative to oatmeal, or simply want to impress your friends and... Details
Hunting Etiquette, Hunting Season, Bozeman
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the editors
Etiquette for the season. Of all the recreational pursuits undertaken around Bozeman, none is more heavily scrutinized than hunting—and yet none is more central to our outdoor heritage. So when a few reckless souls get sloppy, or paint a poor image of hunters, we all suffer. Here are some tips to... Details
Backcountry Yurt, Bell Lake, Montana
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Drew Pogge
How to plan a hut trip. Just like an elk hunter plotting his autumn hunt in the sweltering heat of summer, skiers must plan their trips well before winter arrives—or that awesome hut weekend just isn’t going to happen. Life has a way of getting in the way if left to chance, so make your plans and... Details
Mammoth, Yellowstone, Bozeman, astronomy, stars
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Jim Manning
Fall's astronomical bucket-list. Crisp autumn evenings are fine for stargazing, and for catching those must-see events that punctuate the starry hours of the day. Put them on your fall bucket-list, and consider pairing them with your favorite outdoor activity.The Harvest Moon—traditionally the full... Details
fall fishing, fly fishing, fly tying, lightning bug
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Jimmy Armijo-Grover
Tying a simple fall favorite. If the idea of having a whole stretch of river to yourself appeals to you, Montana in the fall is where it’s at. The summertime tourists are gone, and the locals are furiously chasing elk, deer, and other game. Yellowstone National Park may be the exception, as it’s... Details
Vino Per Tutti, Enoteca, Guinea Hen
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Colleen Helm
It’s worth two in the bush. Guinea hen is just about my favorite bird to prepare, but you won’t find this West African species in the fields around Bozeman. Pheasant or Hungarian partridge make a nice substitute and have similar dark and flavorful flesh. I love the contrast of the earthy flesh with... Details
tipi, tipi ring, bozeman, native history, archaeology
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Patti Albrecht
Finding native history in the rocks. We all know about the cowboys and Indians of old Westerns, but what about the specific history of the Native Americans living in southwest Montana? Some historians state that there is no written record of a specific tribe of Indians permanently living here,... Details
Medical Marijuana, Montana, Greener Pastures
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Jeff Crost
Stories of medical marijuana users.  In the words of a certain old man in a certain old town, getting by the best way he can, “The mountains and rivers of Montana cause pain, but they also help ease pain, too.” There are plenty of other ways that folks get by, and one of them is medical marijuana—a... Details
We Care Chiropractic, Bozeman
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Dr. Spence Jahner
Tips for spinal comfort. Back pain: it’s a common ailment that prevents or diminishes the enjoyment of outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, and skiing. But rest assured, there are things we can do to prevent back problems, and thus enjoy these great mountains and rivers of southwest... Details
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Dave Carty
Some brush-busting required.  Back in my younger days, I’d ponder with my like-minded buddies the apparent lack of interest in mountain grouse among other Montana hunters. Ruffed and blue grouse offered everything we could ask for: wide-open public access in beautiful country, behavior seemingly... Details
Fall Hunting, Bozeman, Montana
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Drew Pogge
Because nothing good comes easy. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. —Albert EinsteinSo, as it turns out, elk hunting is hard. Shocker, I know. The research, the miles of hiking, the heavy pack and mostly elk-less days. Ugh. Same goes for ice climbing—enough with being wet, cold, and... Details
Bighorn Rams, ram, Bozeman
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Barbara Lee
Montana's rutting bighorn rams. A triple-thick skull structure to protect the brain during collisions at 20 miles per hour, massive horns weighing up to 30 pounds, and a body weight that can exceed 300 pounds: Montana’s Rocky Mountain bighorn rams are built for violent, prolonged battles to... Details
Block Management Areas, Bozeman, Hunting
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Nick Gevock
Working together on access issues. Two core values that Montanans share make our state great: a deep respect for private-property rights, and a dedication to public land. Defending both of these values is essential to our way of life. Montana is blessed with 28 million acres of public land that... Details
Bow Hunting, Rifle Hunting, Bozeman, Montana
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Kurt Dehmer
Which method is supreme? For hunters, the specific weapon used to harvest one’s quarry is often a matter of what we are comfortable with, what is most convenient, or what Uncle Earl left us in his will. And many hunters use both a bow and rifle to fill the freezer. But they are very different... Details
fall, races, fun runs, Bozeman
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Drew Hulse
Fall's races and fun runs. When it comes to races and runs, summer gets the gold, but fall is a close runner-up. Here’s a sampling of autumn’s offerings. There are several other classic autumn fun runs not listed herein; visit winddrinkers.org or the O/B online calendar for more information. ... Details
Steve Bullock, Thomas Elpel, Champs, Chumps
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Emma Nord
The once-impenetrable fortress of our public-land rights is under siege. To greedy, gluttonous invaders, our lands and our rivers are a resource to be grasped, wrenched free, and fed to a distended belly that can never be satisfied. But waters such as the Jefferson River are not to be pilfered for... Details
bear, bear safety, grizzly
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the editors
What’s worse than running into a grizzly bear in the wild? Running into a ravenous one. Each autumn, grizzlies enter a gluttonous state called hyperphagia, where they pack on weight for the long winter ahead. They’re more active in general, and they also key in on hunter-killed deer and elk... Details
escapes, vacations, get-away, weekend escape, lodging, Bozeman
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the editors
Getting away close to home. As summer turns to fall, the countless tourists that clog up our trails from July 4 to Labor Day head home, and Bozemanites are free to enjoy our outdoors unencumbered. It’s at this time of year that we like to indulge in a weekend getaway or two, and where better to... Details
Region 3 Elk Harvest, Montana
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the editors
Montana boasts some of the healthiest elk populations in the country—that’s why so many folks flock here to hunt. Southwest Montana is home to almost 40% of the statewide herd, and it’s no surprise that a high percentage of the yearly harvest is taken right here in our back yard. But who’s taking... Details
Beehive Basin Trail, Spanish Peaks, Lee Metcalf Wilderness
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Robert Stone
Hiking the Beehive Basin trail. Beehive Basin sits in a bowl surrounded on three sides by 10,000-foot mountains in the Spanish Peaks Primitive Area. The picturesque basin is a glacial cirque with a small lake. The lake sits beneath the rock walls of Blaze Mountain, Gallatin Peak, and Mount... Details
Elers Koch, Granite Peak, Montana
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Thomas Turiano
Reflecting on a Bozeman original. Perhaps the most prolific local mountaineer of the early 1900s was Bozeman native Elers Koch (pronounced “eelers kotch”). Born in 1880, the son of an adventurous Danish immigrant and contributive Montana resident named Peter Gyllembourg Koch, Elers spent his youth... Details
Wolf Genealogy Project, Yellowstone Wolves, Jim Halfpenny
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Barbara Lee
The powerful, bison-hunting Mollies and the formidable Druids. The Canyons and their leader, the legendary white alpha female. The Lamars, Junction Buttes, and more. You’ll find all the past and present Yellowstone packs and their members—the most famous population of wolves on the planet—in the... Details
Mountain Navigation, Hunting, Bozeman
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the editors
Exploring navigation tools. Getting from point A to point B in the backcountry without a navigation tool is tricky. Whether you’re hunting, fishing, biking, or hiking, knowing where you are and where you’re going can save your life, especially in fall, when daylight is scarce and temps drop. But... Details
Steve Hoffman, HawkWatch International, Merlin Birding Tours
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Drew Hulse
Q&A with raptor researcher Steve Hoffman. Steve Hoffman is more than a bird conservationist—he’s a pioneer who climbed mountains in the ’70s, first discovering the West’s raptor-migration flyways. These days, Hoffman still ascends those same mountains, looking to birds to help solve our most... Details
fall, Bozeman, hunting, elk, photography
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Brett Seng
Captivating viewers, one image at a time. When I was eight years old, my dad came home with a raghorn bull from the Bob Marshall Wilderness. I stared at that set of antlers my entire youth while reading his subscription of Bugle magazine, trying to wrap my naive mind around what a bull elk looks... Details
GVLT, Painted Hills, Triple Tree, Main Street to the Mountains
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Drew Hulse
Bozemanites will soon be able to bike, run, or walk from the Bozeman Public Library to the top of the Triple Tree Trail, all on the Main Street to the Mountains system. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) is linking the Painted Hills and Triple Tree trails, after residential development dissolved... Details
Hunt Right Campaign, FWP Region 3
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Mike England
A plea for good ethics in the field. “In our rather stupid time, hunting is belittled and misunderstood, many refusing to see it for the vital vacation from the human condition that it is, or to acknowledge that the hunter does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, he kills in order to have... Details
season pass, season passes, Big Sky, Bridger Bowl
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Drew Hulse
Season-pass options explained. A season pass is a reflection of oneself, and often, one’s fiscal flexibility. As such, it requires careful self-evaluation. What type of skier are you? What type of skier do you want  to be? With so many factors to work through, it’s easy to get buried. Let O/B break... Details
Missouri Headwaters State Park, Three Forks, Trident-Peregrine
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Vickie Backus
Fans of the Missouri Headwaters State Park have more reason than ever to celebrate: there’s a new riverside trail at the park. The Trident-Peregrine trail is a short, easy hike, with benches that provide inspiring views of the white limestone cliffs across the Missouri. The cliffs are one of... Details
Yellowstone Club Wastewater Spill, Gallatin River
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Keatan Williams
Big Sky’s growth is no joke: by 2020 its sewer district is expected to max out wastewater storage options, meaning big investments and big change are on the horizon. A very real question moving forward is whether uncontrolled growth can coexist with healthy streams, fisheries, and landscapes. Since... Details
Rock Climbing, Practice Rock, Spire Climbing Center
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Emma Nord
Better belaying. When looking for a partner, it’s tempting to consider someone with a nice-looking rack or a sweet set of nuts, but take it from me, you’re better off with a belay partner whose gear—and ego—is well-worn. There are too many people out there who claim to climb, but spend the majority... Details
Wolf Encounter, Bozeman, Montana
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Bob Allen
How the woods became wilder. On opening day of rifle season, not 30 minutes from Bozeman’s well-caffeinated and tragically hip Main Street, I took my Winchester for a stroll with a deer and elk tag in my pocket. My destination was a piece of public land that I regularly escape to for its topography... Details

Gear Reviews

gear, hunting, vest, Bozeman
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Mike England
At first blush, blaze-orange hunting vests may seem like cotton swabs—the brand doesn’t matter, ’cause they’re all the same, right? Experienced hunters know better, and Orange Aglow clearly does, too. Their Signature Mesh Vest is superior in a number of ways. Firstly, it’s extremely lightweight at... Details
Gear, hunting, binoculars
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Mike England
Good binoculars aren’t cheap, and one of the best ways I’ve found to protect my investment is the Bino Harness from Bozeman’s own FHF Gear. Simple and unobtrusive, yet loaded with features, the FHF harness holds my beloved Swarovskis tight to my chest, so they’re accessible when I need them and... Details
gear, camping, hunting
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Mike England
Despite the perils of a booming economy, you gotta give it this: it drives innovation. Take the outdoor-light industry, for example, where every time you turn around, somebody has made a brighter headlamp, a better bike light, a cooler lantern. Case in point: the ARC LED Light & Power Station... Details
knife, hunting, gear
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Mike England
Ruger makes great guns, and I own several, so when they announced a new line of knives, I quickly ordered the Cordite Compact. As expected, this smallish survival knife represents well the two names emblazoned upon it, Ruger and CRKT (the latter makes the knives for Ruger). The Cordite’s thick, one... Details
gear, pants
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Ian Roderer
When I’m out in the mountains, two of the most important things are freedom of movement and staying dry. Mountain Equipment’s Ibex Pant offers both. Constructed with proprietary Exolite fabric, these softshell pants have great stretch and are built to take a beating. Rain rolls right off, and the... Details
gear, boots, hiking
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Mike England
A solid three-season hiking boot is a staple in every outdoor enthusiast’s closet, and when you’re ready for a new pair, I suggest the Zephyr GTX Mid TF from LOWA. Here’s why: it’s light enough to not wear you out on a long hike, but sturdy enough to repel rocks and thwart twisted ankles. It’s... Details
filter, gear, water filter, microfilter
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David Tucker
Lightweight, compact, and highly functional, the Trailshot microfilter from MSR checks a lot of boxes. Whether you’re rehydrating creekside on an all-day hunt, or grabbing a quick sip on a post-work trail run, the Trailshot makes sense in a variety of situations. The entire unit takes up less space... Details
cooler, soft cooler, gear, hunting
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Mike England
Expensive, heavy-duty hard coolers are all the rage these days, but sometimes you need to go light—which is where the IceMule Pro Large soft cooler comes in. With a 23-liter capacity, all-day cooling capability, and an air valve for increased insulation, you can strap this sucker to your back for... Details
gear, light, camp light
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Mike England
Silly name aside, the Luminoodle light rope by Power Practical is a smart investment in outdoor illumination—especially in the fall, when daylight recedes earlier as the season moves along. Sling it high in your tent or topper, stretch it along a camper awning, or string it up in some tree branches... Details
gear, jacket
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Simon Peterson
Featuring three-layer Gore-Tex Pro, an alpine fit with articulated and pre-shaped sleeves, pit-zips, plenty of pockets, and a fully adjustable hood, the Mountain Equipment Lhotse does it all in a comfy and efficient way. The combination of its outstanding cut, quality components, and solid feel... Details
mountain bike, biking, bike light, gear
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Mike England
As darkness comes sooner to southwest Montana, but temps remain (relatively) warm, a bike light becomes an essential item—for everything from in-town commuting to post-work trail rides. There’s no shortage of lights out there, but I like the Urban 350 Obsidian Stout by Light & Motion. Why?... Details
gear, ski goggles, Bozeman
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Chris McCarthy
I’ve been extremely happy with my Native sunglasses, so I decided to try out their ski goggles. After looking over the various styles, I opted for the Tank-7, as they’re a smaller fit than the other models, so no worries about looking buggy. I chose the striker package, with a green mirror lens.... Details
gear, jacket, Bozeman
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Brian England
Having successfully eschewed the puffy-coat craze since it began, I was hesitant to embrace the Stio Azura XT hoodie. But after a certain O/B editor admonished me—“yes, they are trendy, but goddamn are they warm,”—I gave in. And the editor was right: the Azura is not only warm, but extremely well-... Details
Gear, jacket, hunting, Bozeman
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Chris McCarthy
If you’re searching a new hunting-season baselayer, look no further than the Sitka Core Midweight Zip-T. This zippered crew-neck, long-sleeved shirt is ideal for getting you through cold mornings and warm afternoons. The fabric wicks away moisture, which helps keep you dry on the long hike into... Details
socks, sock, fleece, Bozeman
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Chris McCarthy
I spend a lot of time on trails, mostly running or hiking. I also spend a lot of time discussing footwear with other runners and hikers, but typically it’s the shoes or boots; rarely do I talk about my socks. The Swift Wicking running socks from Alpacas of Montana have changed that for me. You can... Details
gear, hunting, pants, Bozeman
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Chris McCarthy
It’s tough to find a single pair of pants for the entire hunting season: thin enough for those balmy early-October days, but thick enough for late-season snow. But Sitka’s versatile Mountain Pant fits the bill. The four-way-stretch textile goes quietly through thick brush without tearing and is... Details
gear, rangefinder, hunting, Bozeman
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Mike England
If you’re like the average hunter, you don’t shoot much past 300 yards with a rifle, or 30 with a bow. Which is great—you’re actually hunting, not just shooting. But you’ll still need to know your distance, for a proper hold-over and confidence in a clean kill. One inexpensive way to improve... Details

Additional Articles

Crazy Mountains, Crazies, Bozeman
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Kathryn QannaYahu
In 1965, Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall directed a nationwide trails study, which produced a report called “Trails for America.” President Lyndon B. Johnson, who called for the study, said:“We can and should have an abundance of trails for walking, cycling, and horseback riding... In the... Details
land disparity, land access, access, national forest, Bozeman
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Mike England
Liberty. Equality. Fraternity. The mantra of the French Revolution may well be applied to the current conflict over public-land access in Montana. The setting is certainly similar: on the one hand, an elite oligarchy shrouded in a nimbus of privilege; on the other, the masses, indignant at the... Details
Ice Dragons, East Rosebud, Ice Climbing
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Joe Josephson
Climbing Ice Dragons. In southwest Montana, options for late-fall ice climbs abound. The East Rosebud drainage is home to several of Montana’s premier climbs, including the early-season sufferfest, Ice Dragons.ApproachIce Dragons pours off the Giant’s Belly, a north-facing wall approaching 11,000... Details

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