Mountain Time

ice climbing, montana mountaineering association

Current events at MMA.

At the Montana Mountaineering Association (MMA), our vision and purpose—what people these days like to call their why—is that inimitable feeling you get when you climb your first route, accomplishing something you previously thought was impossible. It’s the view from the ridge, the awe and wonder of being alive in this wild world.

It’s the sight of sun glittering upon fresh hoar frost, the smell of spring thaw in the alpine. It’s the taste of your salt when you’re skinning up a basin, the sound of your friends laughing around the campfire. It’s the embodied awareness that we’re all connected to one another—that we’re all connected to the land.

These powerful, transformative experiences of being in mountains are not easily achieved. Sure, the physical requirements of climbing and skiing can be challenging. But more so, logistical and financial barriers can prevent people from pursuing mountain-travel safely and wholly.

Founded in 2003, MMA offers educational programs and courses for people of all ages and backgrounds. Donations made to our nonprofit, supplemented by profits from commercially-guided experiences and courses, help to lower the cost of clinics for rock and ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and other mountaineering pursuits.

This winter, we’ll be running the Bearskin Skimo Community Race Series again, with support from the Mountain Project and Uphill Pursuits. Like last year, the races and clinics will be held on Wednesday nights from mid-January to mid-March at Bear Canyon Ski Hill.

There will also be Ice Climbing Clinics, where mountain enthusiasts can refine their skills under the tutelage of AMGA-trained instructors. These clinics include an initial two-day workshop focused on essential skill-building. Then, later in winter, another two-day clinic will build upon this foundation with a progression of more advanced techniques and methods.

junior mountaineering, montana mountaineering association

This winter, we also launch the 2022 season for our Junior Mountaineering Team. Unique to the nation, this program teaches high-school sophomores, juniors, seniors, and gap-year students how to be skillful, safe, and respectful alpinists. The athletes will develop ice- and rock-climbing techniques, as well as backcountry skiing skills, including avalanche education. The program ends in June with an alpine expedition in a local mountain range.

Our website,, offers details about all these upcoming programs, plus more information about guided trips and courses. You can join us on our newsletter and social-media accounts to stay up to date. Donations and event participation help us fulfill our mission of making mountain pursuits more affordable and available to all.

At MMA, we believe that mountains are the best teachers. They can help us explore our personal strengths and weaknesses, and internalize the importance of equitable and supportive partnerships. They can show us how to dig deep, be playful, collaborate with other people, and honor the land.

Because we believe mountains are the best teachers, we seek to help create a welcoming and knowledgeable outdoor community here in Montana—and we’d love for you to join us.

Writer, climbing coach, and Bozeman native Kelsey Sather combines her passions for storytelling and mountain pursuits in her position as the development & communications director at the Montana Mountaineering Association.