Selfies of Southwest Montana

selfie with bison

And where to take the best ones.

Summer in Bozeman: no better time to schlep up a mountain, paddle down a river, or pedal a steep trail—and document yourself doing so. The Gallatin Valley and surrounding area is home to some of the best (read: most adventurous) selfie terrain. Below is a short list of the most fabled selfie scenarios that only the most daring narcissists would even attempt. How many can you tick off?

Within Ten Feet of a Bison
Sure, Yellowstone insists that you stay at least 100 yards away from wildlife in the Park, but who are you to follow rules? Cut the majority of the distance in your car, then when you’re nice and close, jump out and run the rest of the way. Make sure to leave your vehicle in the middle of the road, not on the shoulder or in a designated pullout. If you’ve executed correctly, the shaggy beast will be immobilized by shock for a good 30 seconds before goring you. Use your time wisely. Bonus points for getting your arm wrapped around the animal in a nice shoulder hug.

Electric Peak During a Lightning Storm
Plan your jaunt for late summer when thunderstorms happen nearly every day, and start hiking in late morning. By the time you reach treeline, cumulous buildup should be occurring. If not, turn around and try again tomorrow. On the summit, wait until your hair stands up, or lighting is frequent enough that you’re confident your camera will capture a jolt. If it doesn’t, your pic will merely look like you just took a photo in the rain, which won’t gain you any hearts or followers, and is therefore a waste of time. Keep clicking until you get the perfect shot.

selfie with lightning

On Top of House Rock
You know, the truck-sized boulder in the crux of the Mad Mile. Getting there is the tricky part, but you’re a competent, athletic person. Or at least you have a trust fund—hire a professional guide, a young one who got fired for losing that nice couple from Wisconsin, to row you past the monolith and jump on. Clamber to the top and take a moment to revel in your badassery. Then, pull out your phone, reverse the camera, and express your humble ego to the world. Make sure to record a video and do a full 360 so everyone knows exactly where you are.

While Downhill Mountain Biking
This is a little more difficult, but well within your wheelhouse. We recommend a helmet here, but make sure it isn’t full-face. Your audience needs to know for sure that it’s you, after all. Beforehand, practice selfie-ing with your left hand, so you can still work the back brake with your right. Video also works great here—people will be able to see how fast you can go while filming yourself. Better spring for an OtterBox case on this one, or else have a friend recover the data from your shattered phone while you’re in the emergency room getting your forehead stitched up.

Whilst Belaying Your Best Friend
Preferably on a steep, overhanging cliff hundreds of feet in the air. Frame this so your smiling face sits in the lower third of the shot while your buddy in the background takes up the remaining two-thirds. Shoot this during the crux pitch for aesthetics. For bonus points, show the camera how much confidence you have in your partner by taking both hands off the rope and giving us a wink.

Holding a Trout in the Middle of the Kitchen Sink
You’re not likely to hook one mid-rapid, so you’re going to have to catch a keeper in the slack water before dropping in. Keep the fish wet until your boat starts picking up speed. Ship the oars, grab your phone, and point it to the sky (you’re gonna need a high angle to get the whitewater in the frame). Get the shots you need in a timely fashion, put the fish back in the water, and take back the captain’s chair in time to navigate the nasty holes.

biking selfie

Soloing Gallatin Tower
Just because you’re out solo climbing doesn’t mean you can’t bring the world with you, or tell them about it. In fact, Alex Honnold may never have scaled El Cap if he didn’t have a camera crew with him. Take it one step further and livestream yourself the entire way, demonstrating your skills and not ever needing to use both hands at once. Again, exposure is key here—both inside the camera and in front of it. Even if the pitch doesn’t look that steep, play around with angles to make it look much more so than it really is.

Running the Steep Side of the M
Who doesn’t love a good downhill-sprinting selfie? Make sure you’ve got a clear path for at least 80 feet. Lower camera angles will make the slope appear sheer. Film only the top half of your head to make it appear that you’re paying more attention to the trail than you are documenting yourself. Mention something in the caption about sensible trail use and the importance of being aware of your surroundings—ethics, safety, and responsibility are important values to impart to today’s pre-teens, who of course are the only ones following you on social media.

Any more ideas? Send your selfies to [email protected]. Or, run yourself over in your newly decked-out Sprinter. Just make sure to get a video of it.