Ep. 4 - Ice Climbing and Guiding in the Beartooth Mountains with Akio Joy and Anju Samuelson

Oct 25, 2023

The Beartooth Mountains in Montana have a history of minimal spray when it comes to ice climbing. So of course, that's what we are going to do...

Let's start with why should you go: One, if you're looking for first ascents or a first ascent-like day out, the Beartooths provide. Two, it's the largest uninterrupted landmass above 10,000 feet (or 3,000m) in the U.S., outside of Alaska. Three, there is not a single path to any climbing objective.

In other words, if you're looking for a challenge, it's easy to find one. What's not easy to find, though, is info.

That's where Akio Joy and Anju Samuelson come in. As Co-Owners of Beartooth Mountain Guides, along with Austin Hart, the duo want to help make the area more accessible by sharing beta and welcoming visitors to explore beyond Granite Peak and the Beaten Path.

The Beartooths are located about halfway between Bozeman and Cody, and just north of Yellowstone, making it a natural stopover for a winter climbing trip if you're in the area and looking for something a bit more adventurous. Listen on to hear what makes it such an impressive backcountry venue and what it's like to grow a guiding company in Montana.

Resources and links:

Learn more about the trips Aku and Anju talked about in this episode on their website: beartoothguides.com

You can connect with them on Instagram @beartoothmountainguides where they also share condition reports during the season. And here are Anju's "Soul Back Up Book" blog posts for those who are curious.

This is the Gripped article about Shooting Gallery, a three pitch mixed route that Aaron Mulkey, Dane Steadman and Natalie Afonina climbed on September 10, 2020. And this is another route by Aaron Mulkey, Last Call, a 2,000 foot, 13 pitch mixed line that he sent with Tanner Callender and Chris Guyer in 2014, which gives you an idea of the type of adventure you can have in the Beartooths.


Original photos used in cover image courtesy of Beartooth Mountain Guides.

Intro music by Hannah Noelle Enomoto (thanks, sis!)

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© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.