Autumn Ascension

Rock Climbing, Fall, Lower Madison Walls

Autumn Ascension

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Dawn Brintnall

Classic fall climbs. 

Ahhhh, fall: when the weather goes from surface-of-the-sun hot to deep-space cold in a flash. To stay in orbit on the chilly fall days, you’ll want to head to a crag where you can drink in those ever-shortening rays of sunlight. Enter the Winter Wall in the Madison Valley. Named for its cold-weather-climbing potential, Winter Wall is one of the warmest crags in the Bozeman area, although it can get windy. 

Dichotomy is in this crag’s DNA, with sport routes and trad routes spanning the wall’s length in equal measure. On the same trend, climbers will find high-quality routes interspersed between chossy… character builders. Bring all of your gear, and decide what to use when you get there. To send some single-pitch sport or to practice building skills on the few mild multi-pitch trad routes? Those are the questions, and the choice is yours.

Directions & Approach
From Bozeman, take Hwy. 84 into the Madison Valley. Just past the Red Mountain campground, you’ll pass the first bridge that crosses the Madison River. Continue about a mile to the two turnouts on the south side (river side) of the highway. If you spot an old bridge pillar in the river, you’re about there. The crag is on the north side of the highway.

Don’t-Miss Routes
The Jack Attack (5.8+ trad, 3 pitches): The first two pitches aren’t much to write home about, but pitch three features excellent climbing on a dihedral to the final belay just above a roof.

In Spite of Ourselves (5.11b trad): Mild start/finish with a fun, cruxy hand-crack that takes you through an overhanging roof feature. You can lead the 5.8 trad next door (The Noses Right off Our Faces) to set up a TR on the shared anchor if you’re in the mood to dangle.

Drive-By Shooting (5.10b “sport”): Wide, stemmy movements following a corner to a large roof-pull. Bring a few small cams for the run-out upper section above the roof.

 

General Life Directions
Drive carefully, park smart, and cross the highway with care. As always, practice proper crag etiquette by respecting the environment and minding your fellow climbers. Watch for poison oak and rattlesnakes.

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