Fresh from a kill on Spirit Mountain Doug Shepherd and I (Aaron Mulkey) did not sit fat and happy for very long. Within days of coming out of the mountains our appetite for another big climb began to manifest itself. Doug made the trip back to Cody within 4 days of being back home and was fueled up to rally once again. This time we set our sights on another area but after a short hike to scout conditions we were shutdown by the lack of ice and cold temps, so we decided to go back to a higher elevation area.
Chirstopher Guyer, Daniel Burson and Doug Shepherd at the Ford round table planning our next move after finding no ice in our first objective.
A bit bummed but still psyched we kept our spirits high as we traveled to the glacier lake trail. A cold nights bivy in the truck is never easy to wake up from energized and ready to crank, but we managed to crawl out of our warm cocoons. Daniel Burson decided to join us on this mission which helped spread the weight while hiking the Beartooths steepest trail. I had spotted some potential new lines a few weeks earlier but once hitting Glacier Lake we realized lots of new snow was going to make those climbs an epic approach, so we decided to settle on one of the Beartooths earliest ice routes to form “Funeral For A Friend”.
Gettin our early approach on
The route was in great shape and the weather was incredibly good. Normally this route can be a massive funnel of non stop spindrift challenging your every movement to progress upward. To our surprise we found a gorgeous vein of ice spilling down the chimney like taffy.
Daniel Burson moving through the lower chimney
Moving through the roof and onto the slope above is where most people stop on this route but we decided to see if we could push it to the top. Unable to find gear on the next pitch in the chimney and not enough ice, we decided to climb the left wall to continue our progress and tread further onto new ground.
As we got to the next belay we found a small vein of ice rising upwards like a compass taking us out of the chimney system on climbers left. This pitch provided some really enjoyable alpine ice in a granite corner for 200+ plus feet.
Another vein of ice continued to draw us further up the mountain leading to the crux of the route. A short granite wall with bulbs of ice were like a connect the dot game as I figured out the right sequence of movement to complete the pitch.
Aaron Mulkey continuing up the vein of ice and through the mixed wall above
A few hundred feet of steep snow led us to the top and we celebrated yet another new route and an incredible day. We decided to call our new extension of Funeral For A Friend “Funeral for another friend” in dedication to Joe Puryear who died while climbing in Tibet a few days earlier. Joe was a friend to many and an inspiration to all.
Check out the video of the route