Category Archives: Yankee Jim Canyon

Yankee Jim and the Bitterroot

About time for my bi-monthly blog post…  Well, it’s been a pretty nice spring here in SW Montana.  Had to chase the good temps here and there but nothing to complain about (except ticks!).  A few weeks ago I was pretty psyched on Yankee Jim.  I managed to put down a couple fun new-to-me problems that I’d never climbed at the Locomotives – Mr. Leslie and Lightweight, both V6 and both highly recommended.

But, the main event was across the river – Montana’s Most Wanted.  This amazing problem is on the far west side of the Campground.  It was a fairly under the radar project for a long time before somebody climbed it a couple years ago and officially opened it to the masses.  Pat Dyess may have done it first but he’s a ginger so he is not to be trusted.  I spent one perfect day figuring out the moves and trying it from the start for a few hours.  By the time I figured out the moves I was already worn out so I couldn’t quite put it together.  But, I came back a few days later and put ‘er down first try.  One of the best around!  I finished up the day by climbing a new problem put up by Tony Chang in the talus west of MMW – Genghis Tron V5.  It’s another great problems with an awesome landing thanks to the hard work of Tony (and possibly others).

Lightweight V6-ish

Lightweight V6-ish

Crux move on Montana's Most Wanted V7

Crux move on Montana’s Most Wanted V7

Genghis Tron V5

Genghis Tron V5


Last week I was able to get out of town for a couple days.  I’d been wanting to go somewhere all spring with the top choices being Lander or Cody but I’ve been really busy so they never quite materialized.  I decided a quick trip to the Bitterroot was in order.  One day in Lolo, one day in Lost Horse, three goals – Hooray for Boobies SDS V7 (Lolo), Lock Off Lichen Lips V6 (LoHo) and Big Chuck V6 (LoHo).  With a lot of sweat spent and a lot of skin lost (mostly at Lolo) I was able to climb all three problems!  Big Chuck is good, Lock Off is better, and Boobies is another one of the best.  Hooray for Boobies SDS is a couple moves into the best dyno ever followed by one of coolest mantels ever.  What more could you ask for?

Snagging the dyno on Hooray for Boobies SDS V7 (Lolo)

Snagging the dyno on Hooray for Boobies SDS V7 (Lolo)

trying Succubus V7 (Lolo)

trying Succubus V7 (Lolo)

Lolo Rock

Lolo Rock

Big Chuck V6 (Lost Horse)

Big Chuck V6 (Lost Horse)


Lastly here a little vid I put together of three Montana classics (mentioned above) that I climbed this spring – Montana’s Most Wanted, Lock Off Lichen Lips and Hooray for Boobies SDS:



Hidden Valley & Cascade

A few photos from the last couple weeks:


K-Bone sending '36-24-36'


Topping Out

EC on 'Foxey' (photo by K-Bone)


K-Bone sending 'the Ram's Horn'



EC - 'Fire in the Hole' (photo by Ho)


EC - 'Magnum' (photo by Ho)

Ho - 'Seizure of Strength'

Lastly is a vid of Ho doing the FA of a gorgeous new line at Cascade – ‘Fear Factor’.  Technically it’s the 2nd ascent since I was blowing it with the video camera and ran out of space just before Ho climbed it the first time.  I deleted some footage off and made him climb it again.  Isaac would be proud!


Recent Developments

Been developing like crazy lately.  Too much stone to climb.  Made two trips out to the Tobacco Roots – one to Lower Mason Lake and the other to Hollowtop Valley.  The day trip to Hollowtop Valley ended up being a full value day of bouldering.  I decided to check out some potential on the way to the Valley, which made the 2-2.5 hour hike into a 4.5 hour hike, but I did see some cool rock on the way.  There was some bouldering that probably wasn’t worth the hike, but there were some really cool looking cliffs:

Looked like a few potential splitters, but I didn’t get close enough to gurantee quality.  Any traddies out there up for some hiking?

I finally made it to Hollowtop Valley and warmed up on large boulder with a cool section of crystally rock:

From there I went to the main event – a perfect 30-40 degree overhanging finger crack that I found last year – the Punisher.  I got semi-shutdown on this when I tried it last year and I knew I wouldn’t have too many trys because of the painful nature of it.  The problem is basically two super painful finger locks, a really tight/insecure hand jam and a dyno – not long by any means, but not short either.  I quickly made sure I could do each move individually, then gave it all I had and sent!  I have no idea on the grade, mostly because cracks are my biggest weakness, but this is definitely one of the best problems I’ve done and one of my proudest FAs.

The Punisher:

I finished up the day by doing a cool lip traverse near the Punisher and started the long 2 hour hike back.  Luckily it’s a little quicker heading back because it’s downhill, but it was still the most tired I’ve been in about 5 year.  I was just about falling asleep while hiking.  I managed to find the same cool tree that I found on my way out last year:


After getting my Tobacco Root fix, I turned my attention to Yankee Jim, more specifically the Hidden Valley – a new area Ho and I found a couple months ago.  This small area is starting to become chock full of great easy to moderate problems.  Last trip out I was lucky to put up one of the best V1’s I’ve done – the Ram’s Horn.  It’s a perfect line of crimps and slopers up the back side of the largest and most aesthetic block in the whole area.

The Ram's Horn (chalk line on the right)

Lodged in the talus at the base of the Ram's Horn

Starting hold on the Ram's Horn

The next photo is the front side of the Ram’s Horn boulder.  It’s hard to tell the scale of the boulder from the photo but it’s about 35 feet from the top of the boulder to the jumbled talus below.  I wouldn’t even call these highballs, maybe deathballs?  They look fantastic though and I may put in a top rope anchor sometime.

Frontside of the Ram's Horn boulder

Here’s another video of some of the best problems I’ve put up at the Hidden Valley:


Last, but not least, make sure you’ve got your calendar free on Saturday, August 27th – it’s the return of the Butte Bouldering Bash!  Last year was a blast and it sounds like this year should be even better.  Hope to see you at the Northern Bourbons!  For more info check out Bouldering the Backwaters.