Saturday was one of those almost but not quite days for the Campbell County boys soccer team. Top-ranked and consensus favorite to win the Class 4A state soccer tournament, the Camels fell just …
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Bozeman-area climbers and others are hoping to get in on the ground floor of an Olympic movement by building an 84-foot-tall ice climbing tower at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.
World-renowned climber Conrad Anker, Montana State architecture professor Mike Everts and others presented a plan for an ice climbing tower to county commissioners on Tuesday, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (http://bit.ly/Vd38W0) reported. The group hopes to gain permission to build the $3 million to $4 million tower and outdoor performance venue on county property.
Hyalite Canyon ice climbing guidebook author Joe Josephson told commissioners there is a World Cup competition for ice climbing and the event will be a demonstration sport at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The only way ice climbing can become a medal sport is if there are world-class training and competition facilities around the world. Bozeman’s could be the first of its kind in the western hemisphere, Josephson said.
“We could be part of an Olympic movement right here,” Josephson said.
Proponents say the tower could be used as an elite training and international competition venue as well as for rock climbing and rescue training. It would also include an outdoor concert venue.
Students in the Montana State University architecture and engineering programs submitted designs while MSU business students are conducting ongoing feasibility studies. The winning design is the work of former architecture students Michael Spencer and Tymer Tilton and engineering student P.J. Kolnik. All three are climbers.
The tower would be built using stacked shipping containers as structural support and include office spaces and housing for visiting athletes. There will be solar panels and the ability to re-use water from the ice to irrigate the nearby baseball fields, Anker said.
The group is seeking a corporate sponsor that would retain naming rights for the tower, but Anker said he wanted to make sure they had a spot to build it before he approached anyone. The group is not seeking taxpayer funding.
“To climb a mountain, you don’t go out there until you have everything prepared,” said Anker.
Fairgrounds Director Sue Shockley supports the project.
Recent rodeo events that brought hundreds of people to Bozeman for four or five days translated to an infusion of more than $2 million for local hotels, restaurants and shops, she said.
“That’s what the payback for a $3 million to $4 million investment would mean for our community,” Shockley said. “It’s huge. We have to find a way to make it happen.”