This year the Bozeman Ice Fest was held from November 8-11. The festival celebrated its 20th anniversary and was essentially a four day party. Bozeman is located at the mouth of the world famous Hyalite canyon and offers fairly easy access to spectacular ice climbs. Hundreds of festival attendees were able to get out and climb some ice, test new gear, make new friends, and enjoy the adventure film series shown in the evenings.
|Kyle Rott on "The Good Lookin' One"|
The Liberty Mountain / Grivel team was lucky enough to get into town early and enjoy some ice before the crowds arrived. Tuesday we braved the cold morning weather and headed up to the Unnamed Wall for some laps on The Good Looking' One, The Thrill is Gone and a few other classic routes.
Not only does it provide phenomenal ice, but the canyon isn't half bad looking either. Donations form the climbing community and from the festival itself play a big role in plowing the canyon road to provide access for climbers, skiers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Here's Liberty Mountain Sales Rep Thad VanDenBerghe gearing up for a climb during clinics on the Genesis Wall. The lineup of Outdoor Designs gloves did a great job keeping our hands warm and dry during multiple back-to-back days on the ice. The Denali gloves that he's sporting here are great on belays and are bomber waterproof.
Probably the best gear decision we made was to bring Valandre G2's as our belay jackets. These expedition weight down jackets are said to be one of the best and warmest options out there, and we are all definitely sold. The 850+ count goose down blocked out wind in negative temperatures and kept us toasty all week long. Not only did they serve our team well, but many others that we climbed with ended up in our jackets for belays too because theirs simply didn't compare.
One of the coolest parts of attending festivals and demoing out gear is getting feedback on what climbers like about our products and what they think could be improved.
|An Ice Fest attendee demos the brand new Grivel Salamander 2.0 helmet.|
The new lineup of Grivel helmets recently arrived in the US and festival participants were some of the first to test them out. Above is Liberty Mountain Director of Sales Peter McConkie in the ultralight Stealth helmet. The Stealth weighs in at an unreal 6.7 ounces and comfortably houses both a beanie and flowing locks of hair in a one size fits all package.
Even a local news broadcaster was able to get out on a pair of Grivel tools and crampons.
This is what Ice Fest headquarters back at the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture looked like. Festivals are one of the best opportunities to test out new gear before buying it. Each night festival participants had the chance to demo boots, ice tools, crampons, helmets, and even outerwear for their clinics the following day. Loads of companies bring some of their best products and let attendees take them for a ride. It's a chance to test out a bunch of different gear; things that you might someday purchase, and gear that you might only own in your dreams.
The Grivel team was making it happen at the demo table. Festival participants were able to test out loads of Grivel products including Tech Machines, Tech Machine Carbons, North Machines, Salamander 2.0 helmets, and both G-20 and G-22 crampons.
Edelweiss was one of the beer sponsors and helped everyone enjoy drinks from Bridger Brewing.
A few sponsored athletes were sharing their climbing knowledge during clinics at the festival.
Here's Edelweiss USA athlete Scott Bennett leading a Fast and Light Clinic up the "Genesis Wall"
Grivel Athlete Shingo Okhawa taught an Intro to Leading Ice clinic and talked about the basics of swinging ice tools, proper movement, and placing ice screws. Check out some highlights of his clinic in the video above.
|Aaron Mulkey's Mixed Climbing Clinic on "The Thrill is Gone"|
Grivel and Beal athlete Aaron Mulkey shared his expertise on mixed climbing during his clinic on the Unnamed Wall. He also showed how he captures rad drone shots like this one of the class on the same climb pictured above.
A big thanks to all the volunteers and other sponsors who help make the festival happen each year. See you next year at the 21st Bozeman Ice Fest!
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