Secluded valley southwest of Cody with the Shoshone River running through it. No phones, no lights, occasionally motorcars. A definite alpine feel with a variety of grades to climb. Many times the approach is the crux of the route. Bands of harder horizontal stone provide benches for ice to form on. Much of the rock is crap, referred to by locals as "kitty litter". Rock gear is a waste to carry in most cases, although bugs and angles can be helpful if you're putting up something mixed and you need a mental piece or something that may hold bodyweight. As a rule "V" threads are the preferred method for descent, occasionally bolts or a slung tree. Typical ice climbs may be 100m to 300m (or longer) in length interrupted by steps of creek walking between pitches.
From Cody take Hwy 291 (South Fork Road) to the South Fork, about 45 minutes. Bison Willy's at the mouth of the Canyon is no longer an option for sleeping closer to the ice. Hotel it in town or sleep in the dirt at the Deer Creek Campground a couple of miles into the canyon.
Check out Cold Fear for details on current conditions and lodging. For route info, get your hands on the old Cozzens guide or the new Winter Dance book (Joe Josephson) with all the details.
Aptly named, after all the work it takes to get here, it'd better be in climbable condition! Climb to the top of this massive pillar, then bump right to belay your second from sling anchor. To descend, rap the pillar, then continue down the drainage rapping High on Boulder. You may retrieve any gear left at the confluence of High on Boulder and Moonrise on your way back to the vehicle....[more]Browse More Classics in WY
Bison Willy's (at mouth of canyon) currently not available. Same name lodging in Cody town is open and a nice place to hang your helmet. Several climbs in and lots to choose. Check out 'Core Mountain Sports' -Aaron Mulkey for the latest beta in case he's been too busy climbing to update ColdFear.com...(:
FREE camping is available at Deek Creek Campgrnd in the valley about 5mi in. Saw several people tenting in the snow. But I don't think there is any Pizza delivery out there
The Flying H Ranch has an interest in renting cabins to ice climbers.
Contact is Steve and Diane Byrum. Probably not best to put the full contact info on the web as of yet, unless someone has a better idea. No info as to rates.
They're at the end of the spur road on the south (north-facing) side of the Valley. This is the ranch that you hike around when approaching Mean Green, HoB, Moonrise etc. if you opt to drive across the river rather than do the Cody two-step.
Please consider using "naked threads" for rappel anchors in the South Fork. It seems most folks use double ropes and this technique is even stronger than using smaller diameter cordage (litter) to rappel on. I've used up to a 9.2mm rope w/o issues. If you don't have doubles and naked threads are not an option, please add a quick-link ($1-$2 at the hardware store) to your threads so more than just a few people can safely rappel off it. Way too many routes out here have huge rat nests of burned out cordage and webbing on top of the pitches. If there is an established thread at a rap station, use it, don't add another thread or steal the link thinking it's booty or something. How much trash we leave behind can affect the future of South Fork. thanks!
For those looking for a place to stay try the Big Bear Motel. In Cody 1/4 from the turn off for the South Fork road. 1/13 we paid $47 a night for a 2 queen room. Clean and comfortable with table, fridge, micro and plenty of space to dry out gear.
A friend and I just stayed at the Double Diamond X Ranch for 4 nights in their bunkhouse. The price was on par with the Big Bear, but it's located right at the fork in the road near the Schoolhouse Creek parking lot, so it saves you the drive every day and makes it easy to head to the North or South side of the canyon. Just bring food for your whole stay. The proprietor is a really nice guy just getting things off the ground. www.ddxranchwyoming.com/ice/