Enter the Dragon

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.

Ice Dragons pours off the Giant’s Belly, a north-facing wall approaching 11,000 feet and visible from East Rosebud Lake. To get to Ice Dragons, hike up the trail about 2.5 miles from East Rosebud Lake. Just before Elk Lake, cut south off the trail and head up the large scree gully. Hike up to a hanging canyon. Continue south to a beautiful meadow with Five Mile Creek meandering through it. Continue up the creek to the base. 

Hike up scree to the base of the ice and a belay ledge/cave on the right. Start off with a short, steep pillar, the crux of the climb. Continue up a narrow, thin section to wider ice above, then 150 meters more of undulating ice into a broad alcove. If continuing to the top, climb snow-covered rock up a slab, then traverse right into the base of a gully. Reach the plateau by ascending another two pitches of simul-climbing on easy rock and mixed climbing up the faint gully system. Depending on the amount of simul-climbing, expect up to six or seven long pitches from the base of the route to the plateau. 

When descending Ice Dragons, either rappel the route or walk off. We recommend the latter if you go all the way to the plateau. After descending the plateau and reaching flat ground at treeline, descend a narrow slot to the west down to the trail just north of Rimrock Lake.