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Even More World Class Ice in Bozeman?

This design submitted by MSU students Michael Spencer, Tymer Tilton and P.J. Kolnik, incorporates many recycled or reusable elements in its design and would be the first ice climbing structure built in North America to meet UIAA competition standards.

The rumors are true. Plans are underway to build a UIAA approved ice climbing structure in Bozeman, Montana. This would give Bozeman the ability to host the 2013 Ice Climbing World Cup and provide an approved training and qualifying facility for American ice climbers looking to compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Local Chris Hamilton told that when completed the structure would be the only one in North America to meet UIAA standards for ice climbing competitions. With ice climbing as a demo event in the next Winter Olympics, building such a structure would be a crucial step forward in demonstrating to the IOC the international reach of competition ice climbing, a sport currently dominated by Russian athletes and with venues only available in Europe and Asia.

In March the Friends of Hyalite (the local ice advocacy group), the Montana State Architecture Department and local climbers Conrad Anker, Chris Hamilton and Alex Lussier hosted a student competition to select the design for the structure. The winning design, by students Michael Spencer, Tymer Tilton, and PJ Kolnick, incorporates recycled materials from the community, including old lift towers from Bridger Bowl ski resort and, when not in use by climbers, could provide a venue for outdoor music and film festivals. Chris Hamilton, a local climber who has been working on the project told, “It is pretty exciting. It will help drive US awareness. Even though there are a lot of ice climbers in Bozeman, much of the community doesn’t know much about the sport. This structure would allow folks to come out, watch and, hopefully, it will result in getting even more young people involved [in ice climbing].”

Hamilton did also stress that the project has a fundraising hurdle to cross before construction can begin next summer, noting that the team of local climbers were currently looking into estimates for how much it would cost to complete the MSU students’ design. Attendees of this December’s Bozeman Ice Fest should look forward to finding a temporary competition wall to try their skills on. For more information check out

Sources:, Chris Hamilton, MSU News