Three's Company

As winter slogs along and you begin to crave stone to pull on, finding the right shoulder-season crag can make for perfect afternoon climbing while your friends are out skiing on slush. So grab the quickdraws, approach shoes, and a down jacket (just in case): here’s our mini-guide to finding the best south-facing cliffs.

Enjoying long sunny afternoons, Allenspur has high-quality dolomite sport climbing overlooking the scenic Paradise Valley. Access has been an issue in the past, but a new agreement has changed a 30-minute uphill/downhill slog into a breezy 10-minute hike. That said, be very respectful to the landowners, hardware, and area. Be sure to check out two of the best routes: Flake Fest (10b) and Rancho Deluxe (11b).

Whiskey Gulch
Half an hour west of Whitehall, this granite bouldering playground hosts everything from V0 walkups to mind-boggling V11 horrorshows. Nestled in an old-growth forest and a very dry rain shadow means climbing conditions can be perfect here while Bozeman is buried in snow. Finding it can be a bit tricky, and a word of caution: this sharp rock will definitely punish doughy digits softened by months of ski gloves and Xbox controllers.

The Cave
Tucked in the Gallatin Canyon, this birthplace of Montana sport climbing is definitely a t-shirt destination when the sun is shining. Cross the Squaw Creek Bridge, take a right, and enjoy about 30 delicious limestone sport routes. Bring a set of stoppers to supplement the bolts on a few routes, and don’t forget your A-game: grades start in the low 10s and rocket all the way up to 13+.