Best of Cody – High on Boulder

Let’s say you go to the Southfork Ice Fest and have a few Fat Tires while you watch the slideshow. You’re waking up the next morning at 9 AM with the motive but without the means to do some ice climbing. Wait, you don’t have to nurse your headache and ill temper until Cassie’s opens in the afternoon. If you’re looking for a fight that won’t land you in the county jail, you can still make it out to High on Boulder.

You can’t miss it. It is the intimidating flow directly across the river from the Cabin Creek parking area. Once you cross the river (stay tuned for options) you can go right up the stream bed or intersect the Southfork trail and follow it downstream until it turns left to round the toe of the ridge forming the SE boundary of the drainage. There, a faint trail angles off right and up. The trail is easier to walk, but harder to find. Take your pick.

First pitch of High on Boulder

The climb is easier than it looks. The first pitch goes at WI 3, ending at a bolt and chain anchor on the left, which may be buried by snow or ice. Pitch two is a nice WI 4 with a belay at bolts on the left at the next tier of cliffs above the top of the climb. The third pitch is another WI 3 to a tree anchor on the right. Sometimes, a slightly steeper alternative forms on the left side of the gully, straight across from the bolts. If you choose to go that way, the traverse back into the main drainage is not too bad.

Second pitch of High On Boulder

 
 

Finishing the alternate 3rd pitch of High on Boulder

 
Now you’re done, and still in time to get back to the chow line and more beers. But if you’re sick of all that decadent camaraderie, there’s more. A substantial hike with some easy bands of ice to surmount, leads to 25 meters of WI 4 and then to the final headwall and the Pillar of Pain.

Pillar of Pain

This is 50 meters of solid WI 5, with a tree belay on the left.

More Pain

Looking down the Pillar

OK, now you’re really done. But if you want the Gold Star, then down-climb and rappel  to the base of the 2nd pitch and climb the pillar off to the right (Moonrise, WI 5). Break out the headlamp and stumble back to the car. You’ll probably get lost and may take a dip in the Shoshone. This ain’t the kiddie pool after all, it’s the Southfork. And you went and did it right.

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