Hyalite Canyon Road Re-Opened for Ice Climbing Bozeman, MT

By Joe Josephson, Access Fund Regional Coordinator, MT

Following the recent closure of the Hyalite Canyon Road by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the resulting loss of ice climbing access in the Hyalite area, local climbing activists rallied to persuade USFS to reopen the road for day-use access into this ice climbing Mecca.

As a result, on January 3, 2008, the Bozeman Ranger District reopened the Hyalite Road much to the satisfaction of ice climbers, backcountry skiers, and other winter recreation enthusiasts. The re-opening restores the hard-earned access to the upper reaches of the canyon originally obtained by the Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition. The USFS, City of Bozeman, and Gallatin County view the current situation as a test-run for future management of Hyalite in winter.

The road issue at Hyalite has a long and contentious history. USFS has pushed to close the road while a broad range of local Bozeman interests have lobbied for access.

Local ice climbers and backcountry skiers hope that these latest developments signal a compromise that will allow for future recreational access in the Hyalite area. For more background and information on this issue, see www.montanaclimbers.org or Email: joe@firstascentpress.com.