Conrad Anker first picked up an ice pick in 1982. Since then he climbs on ice. "When I'm at home in Montana," says Anker, "I absolutely live for ice climbing." With world-class Hyalite Canyon just minutes outside his hometown of Bozeman, Anker spends a lot of time every winter. He has set up dozens of routes in the gorge, using the frozen waterfalls and overhanging cliffs of Hyalite as a practice room, training lab, and practice terrain before heading to the Himalayas every spring.
To describe Anker as an experienced ice climber would be a wild understatement. He is one of the best, most technically mature and expedition proven ice and rock climbers in the world. So I was excited and a bit nervous because I had done a day ice climbing with him on his home turf. The only catch was, I've never been ice climbing before.
"Well, there is a first for everything," Conrad replied in an e-mail. "It might as well be on Tuesday!" Gulp. Followed by: "It'll be fun or total misery, depending on how you define fun … My guess is that this will be worth two roller coaster rides. 😉 "Double swallow. I will not lie, this winking face scared me.
That's how the day went off