Dry Heaves

Spring climbing day-trips. 

You couldn't make your annual pilgrimage to Moab for the spring-break climbing extravaganza. Dreams of sunny desert sendage are floating through your mind, and you need to scratch that itch one way or another. Look no further—here are a few day-trip options from Bozeman to find some (hopefully dry) rock and sate your spring climbing fever.

Whiskey Gulch
With the unpredictability of spring, it’s often easier to get on some boulders earlier in the spring rather than trying to find dry sport or trad routes. Whiskey Gulch outside of Butte offers some excellent bouldering, and with problems facing every which way, you can find climbable routes year-round. With around 30 problems of every style, grade, and height on solid granite, Whiskey Gulch is a gem that any level of climber can enjoy. You can find detailed descriptions and driving directions to the area in the SW MT Blocs bouldering guide available at Spire.

Rattler Gulch
Stop by Rattler Gulch on your way to see music in Missoula. This tight canyon features several different angles of limestone fins to choose from, so you can follow the sun on chillier days. Try out the Style Wall and battle the various single-pitch sport routes on the face. The Hipster Stretch route gets a special mention—test your grit on its leaning movements, sharp rock, and a thin section guaranteed to increase your heart rate.

Hellgate Gulch
Just outside of Canyon Ferry and nestled in the Big Belt Mountains, lies Hellgate Gulch. It sits next to its more popular sibling, Avalanche Gulch; however, it is the sunnier of the two, and offers some fun spring climbing when it has dried out. The Winter Wall is the most developed face in the canyon, offering steep and pocketed limestone. Choose from a variety of single and multi-pitch sport routes ranging from 5.9 to 5.13.

Spire Rock
For the trad aficionados, head to the ever-popular King and Queen of Pipestone. The King has several low- to medium-grade multi-pitch routes to get you back in the groove for your planned alpine ascents this summer. Head to the Queen for some decent crack climbing or, if you’re a masochist, check out the off-width routes. It’s a safe bet for spring climbing, and an easy trip from Bozeman.