The Bozeman Ice Tower

Submitted by conrad on Thu, 11/25/2010 - 07:27
Welcome the the  "big hairy audacious goal" for local climbing.
This is an idea to get a climbing tower built at the fairgrounds.  The only way this is going to happen is with a ton of motivation from the climbing tribe. That said I'm pretty sure we can make it happen.
Per the Ice Structure: 
  • I have approached Bridger Bowl for twelve of the towers to be taken down when Deer Park and Bridger are taken down. They need a few to reinforce the off loading zone of the new lift. Doug Wales seemed to be very optimistic, although nothing in writing.
  • Met with Bozeman Amateur Hockey Association. They were most excited and support the plan. We reviewed possible locations, best site is north of Haynes Pavilion. Area is used by dog agility group - flexible to move to another site.
  • One low angle wall for novices, and one "sick" route.
  • Refrigeration not feasible at this point in the game. Too expensive and not needed. 
  • Shavings from Zamboni get "trowelled" onto structure. This is how the one I saw in Holland was constructed.
  • Summer use is a climbing structure.
  • 100' foot tall "Frozen Man" - visible from freeway. Need to take aesthetic  value  into design consideration.
  • Side use as high angle rescue training for Fire Department and SAR.
  • Gallatin Ice Foundation - overall ice users - figure skating, hockey, curling, ice sculpture. 501 c - 3 !!!
  • Ice tower would be world cup sanctioned. Season opener for ice world cup be in Bozeman each year.
  • Ice climbing is a demonstration sport in 2014 Soichi, Russia Olympics.
  • Target cost = 1 Million. (We could probably do it for 500 K, but why not go big?). 
  • Climbing community is good for 50 K. (Rough guess for fundraising.)
  • The team at Spire is supportive of the project.
  • The boulder building team is keen to segue into this project. We have four finished and number five paid for.  

In terms of volunteers:

  • Engineers
  • Architecs
  • Builders
  • Fundraisers
  • Event planners
  • Motivated People

Like climbing, this will be a team effort!

If you would like to help out please respond to this thread or send me a personal message.



The tower at Gorzderette, France uses a slurry made of snow/water that is applied to the tower structure then freezes using natural cold, the workers use a cherry-picker and stand there plastering this slurry on wearing rubber gloves, not such a problem in communally-minded France...


our company has built many highend homes in bs, you've been in at least one. we did a 42' entre prise wall in another. if we can help would be glad to get involved, let me know what you need in terms of help.

would be a cool, no pun, addition to bzn...



This is a link to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle andf the Op Ed about the Ice Tower:ā€¦



Actual Text:

Ice tower would put Bozeman on the map

Hyalite Canyon, due to its northerly drainage and volcanic rock, freezes up each winter to provide the most reliable and varied ice climbing in the lower 48. Thanks to the county and the Forest Service's plowing efforts, Hyalite Canyon is accessible for winter enthusiasts, be they fishermen, skiers or climbers. The Twin Falls freezes up, offering a great introductory experience on water ice. The springtime drips transform into frigid test pieces, attracting the best to test their mettle. From the moderate to the extreme, Hyalite Canyon offers a high density of climbs in a remote setting.

To celebrate the sport, each December climbers from around the world meet for instruction and a good time at the annual Bozeman Ice Festival. The cold temps and dependable conditions allow us to hold the first of the seasonal ice festivals. Ice climbing is a global sport with similar gatherings taking place in Korea, Canada, the Alps and Russia each winter. Competitive ice climbing is part of the fun and entails scratching one's way up a fake cliff dribbled with blobs of ice. Climbers compete in difficulty and speed. Competitions are popular enough that at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, ice climbing will be a demonstration sport. For the sport to eventually make it to the Olympics, a track record of "World Cup" level competition needs to be held. Currently, the ice climbing world cup is held in Europe and Asia each winter. With an eye on the 2014 Olympics, climbers are training and competing to represent our country.

To date there is no venue for world cup ice climbing in the United States. Not having a national training facility creates an opportunity for Bozeman. By designing and building a competition climbing structure, Bozeman would be the first community in the United States to host the Ice Climbing World Cup. The event could tie in with the Bozeman Ice Festival in a logical and efficient way.

Imagine a structure at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds reaching 100 feet into the sky. Designed and built with side-cycled chair lift towers from the old Deer Park and Bridger lifts at Bridger Bowl, the tripod shaped tower would allow climbing and rope work. In the summer, climbers could challenge themselves on warm rock. Novices could ascend the stairs and learn to rappel. In winter, the structure would be draped with several tons of ice, providing ice climbers a controlled feature to train on. Additionally, the tower would be an ideal place for the County Search and Rescue Team to train for evacuations and high-angle rope work. The aerie at the summit would provide an eagle's view of the fairgrounds and have a flag visible from Interstate-90. The tower would require a small footprint and could be maintained by volunteers and the fairground staff in a similar manner to Haynes Ice Hockey Pavilion.

With the completion of the fifth boulder in Rose Park this summer, we will have enhanced our parks with equipment that appeals to all ages and most abilities. Scampering around on a cement rock encourages exercise, an activity that benefits all. The boulders were built with support from the community and the Parks and Recreation Department. To extrapolate the concept of the outdoor boulders to a community funded winter ice-climbing tower is a sensible progression. It would put Bozeman on the map as "ice climbing central" and bring more visitors to the fairgrounds.

If you are interested and would like to learn more please visit or come to an evening event at the Bozeman Ice Festival at the Emerson Dec. 10 or 11.

Thanks Todd. If you are attending the Ice Fest evening programs I'll have a sign up list so we can communicate and bring our various skills togther.


Any possibility to use the old water tower just north of Oak street across from the fairgrounds? Seems logical that the vertical would be there, and water up there too. Don't know anything about that tower be seems logical in some ways to build off of that. Just a thought




Thanks all for the Great meeting!!  Got the Structural requirements for a UIAA ice tower for the presentation on the 25 at MSU.  If I could get info on the location, Marko and I will continue to get an informative slide show together, infused with "pure unadulterated redline stoke" HA!


Spread the Word! 

Good fun stuff......


The MSU School of Architecture will host a design competition for the ice tower. Graduate students and recent graduates under the tutelage of Mike Everts will submit design ideas for the climbing tower. The plan is to use side cycled structure steel (ski lifts, radio towers, water towers, old beams) to design an aesthetically pleasing UIAA competition approved tower. The designs will be judged late March and with a firm idea of what we plan to construct we can begin fund raising.


The long-range plan is to build the structure over the summers of 2011 & 2012 and have the first World Cup and US National Olympic Qualifier in December 2012 in conjunction with the Bozeman Ice Festival.


Thanks to Tim Baucom, Kevin Brumbach, Chris Hamilton, Alex Lussier, Craig Pope, Ken Ryder, Marko Pujic, Rob Pudner, Joe Josephson and Mike Everts for making the first meeting.