Few are as dedicated to ice climbing exploration as Aaron Mulkey, who has spent the last decade systematically scouring the canyons of northern Wyoming for undiscovered ice lines. Those who have been on a ‘Mulkey mission’ with him walking miles through difficult terrain on the off chance of finding a new route, are unlikely to forget it in a hurry.

By then, his life was entirely focused on searching for new ice routes. During the summer, he’d ride horses, kayak, hike and backpack into hidden canyons that just might contain winter ice. Each time he found something, it was like discovering a new world. Cody seemed to contain endless opportunities of this kind: the main South Fork Valley was only the beginning of its potential. The numerous side canyons that spread out in all directions offered the chance to discover routes that no other climbers had even seen

Seeking untouched frozen treasures deep within Wyoming’s toughest mountain terrain, he often trudges for days in his boots, testing his own limits, and the patience of his climbing partners. But, the occasional gems he discovers fuel his determination, pushing him forward to find the next untapped treasure.

As the ice begins to melt, Mulkey trades in his ice tools and climbing rack for a kayak and paddle. The exploration continues, this time through the spectacular watery gorges buried deep in the Rocky Mountains. His year-round hunt for uncharted ice and water in some of the most remote locations in the West makes him one of the most prolific pioneers of the Rocky Mountains.

Notable ascents:

  • My Morning Glory (WI5+), North Fork Valley, Wyoming - first ascent
  • The Gambler (WI6+), South Fork Valley, Wyoming - first ascent
  • Talk is Cheap (WI6 M6), North Fork Valley, Wyoming - first ascent
  • Sons of Anarchy (WI5 M8R, 750m), Hemsedal, Norway - first ascent
  • Spirit Chimney (WI5 M7, 60m), Beartooth Mountains, Montana - first ascent