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Routes in South Fork Shoshone (Ice)

Elevation: 7,000 ft
GPS: 44.502, -109.127 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 44,503 total · 305/month
Shared By: Alan Searcy on Jan 25, 2006 with updates
Admins: Mike Snyder


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.

Getting There

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.


A great place to stay to climb Cody/Southfork Ice is the Double Diamond X Ranch. It's located 40 miles from Cody and only 2-3 miles from the ice, and is the only facility out there. Staying at DDX Ranch not only reduces the commute but reduces your chances of nailing one of thousands of deer, skidding off the road, falling asleep at the wheel after a long day, driving to or from town in the dark, and maybe getting a DUI.
Their bunkhouse has 2 rooms that each have, table, chairs, refrigerator, microwave, toaster oven, hot plate, and 2 each showers, sinks, toilets. Beds are covered single beds, so bring your own sleeping bag.
This used to be an AAC Hut, but the new owners give 10% off to AAC members on the $39/nite rate.

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Weather Averages

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Martin le Roux
Superior, CO
Martin le Roux   Superior, CO
Here's an overview map showing some of the trailheads:

From the S Fork Rd turnoff in Cody (WY 291) it's 34 miles to the Double Diamond X ranch and another mile to the Hunter Creek Rd turnoff. Distances from Hunter Creek turnoff to various trailheads are as follows:
S Fork Rd (N side of the river): Deer Creek 4.8 miles, Cabin Creek 7.6 miles
Hunter Creek Rd (S side of the river): Bench parking (unsigned) 3.9 miles, Boulder Basin 5.3 miles

Unfortunately Joe Josephson's guidebook (Winter Dance) is currently out of print. The asking price for used copies on is $150! Jan 8, 2018
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
Greg Sievers   Bozeman, MT
DDX is still the best choice. concurrance with the other comments =
"the" place to stay to climb in the Southfork is the Double Diamond X Ranch. its located 40miles from Cody and only 2-3 miles from the ice. it is the only facility out there in the Valley, and not only reduces the commute but reduces your chances of nailing one of thousands of deer, skidding off the road, falling asleep at the wheel after a long day, driving to or from town in the dark, and maybe getting a DUI.
their bunkhouse has 2 rooms that each have 3 bunkbeds, table, chairs, refrigerator, microwave, toasteroven, hot plate, and 2 each showers, sinks, toilets. beds mattrasses are covered single beds, so bring your own sleeping bag.
this used to be an AAC Hut, but the new owners give 10% off to AAC members on the $39/nite rate. Feb 12, 2017
s t d  
We found an ice tool last weekend in the South Fork.
Message me if its yours. Jan 15, 2015
Update Jan 2015: Matt continues to spruce up the Double Diamond. The main lodge experienced a beautiful remodel, and offers a great location to converse with other climbers and share conditions. Some cabins have full kitchens and really make for a pleasant end to long days on icicles, and are very well suited for multiple day missions to the area offering a warm, dry, pleasant way to spend the night.

Matt is a great guy, and I can't emphasize enough how nice it is to avoid the ~hour drive back into Cody at night, dodging the ubiquitous Deer during that season. Jan 5, 2015
Jaaron Mankins
Durango, CO
Jaaron Mankins   Durango, CO
Update for lodging in the South Fork Valley. Bison Willy's old bunkhouse is under new ownership and they have fixed the place up a bit:

Matt Dzialak
Double Diamond X Ranch
3453 Southfork Road
(307)587-5252 (DDX Ranch Office)
(307)399-8816 (Matt's Cellphone-text is best)

Matt seemed like a great guy, so let's support him if you can! $40/night per person. Jan 31, 2014
Jeff Hebert
Seattle, WA
Jeff Hebert   Seattle, WA
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. Jan 3, 2014
cdec   SLC, UT
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. Jan 13, 2013
cody, wy
JonBates   cody, wy
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! Feb 23, 2012
Lodging "Condition Report" (so to speak):

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.

From Kev:

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. Nov 11, 2009
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Hi Bill,
I am sure that this is too late to be helpful, but no, Dec. is not too early.
Best. Nov 7, 2009
Bill Rusk
Duluth, MN
Bill Rusk   Duluth, MN
I'm planning a trip here this winter. I was wondering when the climbs start forming up? Is late Dec. too early?
BR Aug 30, 2009
There was a fatality on the Main Vein in early January 2009 due to a massive avalanche: blog post

The South Fork isn't known for avalanches, but don't forget to check out conditions before getting out there. Jan 30, 2009
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

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 Dec 23, 2006

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