Dean Lords hanging out in The Cave, Hyalite Canyon, Montana. [Photo] John Irvine
Alpinist was proud to sponsor the 2007 Bozeman Ice Festival last weekend. As outlined in both a December 3 Newswire and a November 7 Weekly Feature, the festival’s many facets, as well as the complex nature of the access issues that plague the canyon, require significant explication. Thankfully, the Montanan community–and visiting Coloradan and British Columbian communities–of ice climbers is prolific, in both their climbing and writing. This week, Alpinist features the writing of Joe “JoJo” Josephson discussing the design of both a new kind of competition and an access battle, John Irvine telling a tale, Chris Alstrin getting nervous about public speaking and Brian Prax finding a new friend.
Ice Breaker Competition
By Brian Prax, Jackson, WY, Cloudveil
The idea of participating in an ice climbing competition has always made me want to vomit. Tights, fruit boots, climbing the same man-made route with a fake dry-tooling woody to finish at the top, against the clock with pre-placed pro and draws, being videotaped with head-basher music in the background, a huge crowd: they all seem, collectively, to be the antithesis of ice climbing.
To me, ice climbing and competition are as unrelated as politics and social reform. Ice climbing is the essence of two people experiencing physical and psychological challenges in an arena of natural beauty, unbound by rules and regulation, resulting in a sense of accomplishment and sensual fulfillment. The standard “comp” scene is decidedly disparate.
When I was invited to compete in the first Ice Breaker competition at the Bozeman Ice Festival this year, I was, to say the least, skeptical. The initial e-mail from my longtime friend Joe Josephson inviting me to the event sparked my interest, despite my disdain for such things. The format was quite different. Teams of two, chosen randomly from a hat, would climb as many routes as they could within at least three of the four geographical regions of Hyalite Canyon between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Each route would be scored based upon its difficulty and approach. No spray-painted red lines beyond which placements were disallowed, no crowds, plenty of approaching, rapelling, traversing, tactics, re-approaching, anchor building, deconstructing, rope coiling, stacking, packing–all the elements of actual ice climbing–how novel! No more than two minutes later I called Joe back to confirm the reality of this event. He explained the basic details, accosted me for not talking to him sooner, and easily convinced me to participate. I would indeed play this esteemed game.
Showing up thirty minutes late for the informational meeting due to icy road conditions and a driving companion’s last-minute shuffle, I got my partner assignment, a few cheap bottled beers and instructions on rules and regulations, and then we were left to our own devices. Nate, my randomly assigned partner, seemed apt and agreeable. He invited me to stay at his house, and I agreed. We went home, drank scotch, discussed strategy, packed our bags and decided that we would treat the competition as an adventure. I knew immediately that I had found a new ice-climbing partner, as well as a new friend. I crashed with the blackness of an overtired, epic road-tripped corpse, with no alarm set, knowing Nate would rally me in the dense morning stupor.
I barely awoke to commotion at 5 a.m. to find Nate brewing coffee and frying eggs and bacon. We chatted briefly, ate, drank, finished packing and departed on time (barely) for the event. We had scarcely donned our boots and readied our packs as the gun went off for the start.
We spent the rest of the day dashing up moderate ice climbs, rushing to the next, sending, offing, bolting to the next, dodging other competitors, hiking miles to another region, climbing more routes, taking pictures and generally having a great time. I realized that I had already won, in my own way. I had connected with another like-minded, ice-climbing freak who had the same days off and wanted to climb the same routes that I did. We both hated the Bush administration, war, and politics in general, yearned for reform in global climate change, were passionate in relatively new phenomenal relationships, and relished this arbitrarily formed bond imposed upon us. We climbed well together, dealt with systems proficiently, changed our plan efficiently with regard to the rules of the competition, and most importantly, had an absolute blast spending time with one another.
We did not win the competition. We did, however, dominate in the realm of connection and friendship, and we’re looking forward to the promise of future epics. No ice climbing competition I have ever witnessed has brought this sort of bounty to its competitors.
A Hyalite Canyon climber prepares his dog for a long, cold day of ice. [Photo] Erik Lambert
Sean Issac M-climbing aesthetic and featured rock in The Cave. [Photo] John Irvine
The Grivel North America Hyalite Ice Breaker: An Athletic Event, Hyalite Style!
By Joe Josephson, Montana
Like many a great climb, this concept was planned on the back of an envelope, literally. Myself and fellow climber from Livingston, Kris Erickson, brainstormed the competition over six hours of manic driving to Salt Lake City and the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show. A few months later, with the generous support of Grivel North America, the inaugural Hyalite Ice Breaker was born.
Put on in conjunction with the Annual Arc’Teryx Bozeman Ice Festival, the Ice Breaker is a unique athletic event in which two-person teams climb as many routes in Hyalite as possible in a single day. Routes are scored on a combination of difficulty, length, approach and other intangibles. All you veterans out there are saying to yourself, “Sounds like what they do at Festiglace du Quebec.” Au contraire!
Drawing names, pairing one local with one non-local to determine teams, is where the similarities to Festiglace end. Designed not to be a spectator event taking place in one amphitheater, instead competitors were required to climb in three major areas of the Main Canyon–the most concentrated natural ice venue in the lower 48–with both partners climbing every pitch. Teams had to be efficient, pace themselves, hike up to an hour between areas, make decisions on what routes to do and what routes not to do, watch the time and employ their judgment. Sounds sort of like real climbing, doesn’t it? Indeed, this was designed as a high-energy, burly event in the spirit of traditional alpine ice climbing between two partners.
The Invitational was designed to give athletes coming to Bozeman to teach clinics at the Ice Festival a chance to get their “ya-yas” out with a great day of climbing with a local. It also was the chance for our own local contingent to show the more well-known “A-team” climbers our stellar backyard while forging new friendships.
Winners of the Invitational Divisions get their names inscribed on a Men’s and a Women’s “Ice Breaker Golden Ice Axe,” donated by Grivel. These wooden piolets with gold plating should quickly become the Stanley Cup of ice climbing.
Taking the inaugural Ice Breaker title on the Men’s side, Ross Lynn and Guy Lacelle climbed thirteen pitches in nine hours, though Chris Hamilton and Stephen Koch were right on their heels with twelve. For the Women, Sarah Hueniken and Jen Olson put their vast Canadian experience to good use and climbed nine pitches with some of the longest approaches in the canyon, including a second ascent of an unnamed route. Perhaps even more impressive: the festival weekend was Jen and Sarah’s first visit to Hyalite.
Courtesy of Grivel North America there was $1,000 prize money for the Invitational, all of which the athletes graciously donated back to the ongoing battle to protect Hyalite winter access. For a complete listing of the routes climbed by each team, see www.firstascentpress.com.
Men’s Invitational Division Standings
Must complete at least one route in three of the four areas.
1. Ross Lynn + Guy Lacelle: 9,950 with a 300 point time penalty for 9,650 points; 13 pitches.
2. Chris Hamilton + Stephen Koch: 9,500 points with a 400 point time penalty for 9,100 points; 12 pitches.
3. Adam Knoff + Sean Issac: 8,750 points; 10 pitches.
4. Whit Magro + Rob Cordery-Cotter: 8,750 with a 200 point time penalty for 8,550 points; 11 pitches.
5. Nate Opp + Brian Prax: 7,800 with a 100 point time penalty for 7,700 points; 10 pitches.
6. Kris Erickson + Pierre Darbellay: 6,450 with a 200 point time penalty for 6,350 points; 9 pitches.
Jen Olson and Sarah Hueniken, who won the women’s division of the Pro-Invite Class with 6,750 points, which they earned climbing 9 pitches–despite neither woman ever setting foot in Hyalite prior to the contest. [Photo] John Irvine
Women’s Invitational Division Standings
The Women all voted to change their rules from three areas to two.
1. Jen Olson + Sarah Hueniken: 6,750 points; 9 pitches.
2. Meg Hall + Zoe Hart: 2,850 points; 5 pitches.
2. Amy Bullard + Kitty Calhoun: 2,000 points; 3 pitches.
Men’s Difficulty Award
Kris Erickson + Pierre Darbellay: If scoring the routes on pure difficulty, Kris and Pierre easily had the biggest day of hard routes.
Women’s Best Physical Therapy Award
Kitty Calhoun: Kitty recently had two hip surgeries plus her and Amy did routes in three areas and were the first ones back to the parking lot. Nice effort Kitty.
The following Saturday, December 1, was the Open Division: a free event for anyone with a partner so long as one participant could lead climb. Based on difficulty, routes were categorized into Advanced and Recreational levels so that teams could compete at whatever level they were comfortable. A total of fourteen teams participated.
Primary differences between the Invite and the Open Divisions were that partners entered as a team in the Open Division, and they only had to climb in two of the four main areas. Being a brand new event with some learning curves and based on the scoring information learned in Thursday’s Invitational, some of the routes had their scores changed and we also instituted a new rule where all the teams climbing any particular route shared the given points for that route, as some bouldering comps are judged.
The scoring was established so that a team climbing many ice pitches would be competitive with a team climbing fewer but harder pitches. The top two male teams–with opposite strategies–were neck and neck. In keeping with the grassroots feel and soul of the Bozeman Ice Festival it was decided to split the $500 Open Division prize money, put up by Grivel North America, into five equal awards with gear prizes going to the rest of the field. After all, the whole concept is to stoke climbers and further the dirtbag climber culture. A hundred bucks should buy a few more tanks of gas up Hyalite.
The competitors in the Pro-Invite classification of the Hyalite Ice Breaker Comp. [Photo] John Irvine
For a complete listing of the routes climbed, see www.firstascentpress.com.
Women’s Open Division Standings
1. Adrien Erlandson + Althea Rogers: 2,717 points; 6 pitches.
2. Ashley Williams + Ashley Lehman: 1,942 points; 4 pitches.
3. Susan Sheard + Meg Hall: 1,872 points; 3 pitches.
4. Cloe Erickson + Katie Seipel: 2,067 with a 200 point time penalty for 1,867 points; 4 pitches.
Men’s Open Division Standings
1. Alex Lussier + Tomas Dumbrovsky: 6,217 points; 9 pitches.
2. Conrad Anker + Pat Wolfe: 6,150 points; 7 pitches.
3. Justin Griffin + Josh Apple: 2,833 with a 200 point time penalty for 2,633 points; 5 pitches.
4. Mike Kelloh + Colter Anderson: 2,617 points; 6 pitches.
5. Caleb Sunde + Eric Lamanna: 2,450 points; 5 pitches.
6. Garrick Hart + Joel Ahlum: 1,467 points; 4 pitches.
7. Mark Ehrich + Eric Jackobson: 1,200 points; 3 pitches.
8. Rich Bennett + Jason Baker: 1,283 with a 200 point time penalty for 1,083 points; 4 pitches including the second ascent of the Oldenburg/Timpano.
9. Dan Oldenburg + Seth Timpano: 1,000 points; 3 pitches.
1. Connie Garrett + Todd Saunders: 900 points; 2 pitches.
Men’s Advanced Award
Conrad Anker + Pat Wolfe: 6,150 points; 7 pitches. This was the only team in the Open Division to climb two or more pitches at the harder “advanced” level.
Men’s Hardest Pitch Award
Justin Griffin + Josh Apple: Justin and Josh got first tracks of the year on the classic Cleopatra’s Needle in unformed WI 6 conditions.
Women’s Hardest Pitch Award
Meg Hall + Susan Sheard: The Itchy and Scratchy Show, a thin ice and mixed climb with little protection on the Unnamed Wall. Meg was already signed up with Susan for the Open but helped out by competing in the Invitational (we need an even number of athletes) when there was a last minute scratch by Ashley Williams, who had the flu.
The New Route Award
Dan Oldenburg + Seth Timpano: While searching for a route in the Twin Falls area, Dan and Seth found something else not in the guidebook. Although not on the official scorecard, all of the competitors voted and agreed to allow their new route to be scored. The second ascent was quick on their heels by Ice Breakers Bennett and Baker.
Team Ashley, formed of Ashley Williams and Ashley Lehman, in their pink hot pants, and assorted other regalia. The team tied with Cloe Erickson and Katie Siepel for the Best Outfit category of the competition. [Photo] Chris Hamilton
The Longest Walk Award
Caleb Sunde + Eric Lamanna: For hiking an hour to the classic Twin Falls then post holing for another ninety minutes above to the rarely climbed Palace Butte Falls, a two pitch, thin ice and mixed Grade 3+ with one of the longest approaches in the entire canyon.
The Best Outfit Award
A tie going to the team of Cloe Erickson (Santa wearing a teddy) + Katie Seipel (Fairy wings and halo) with Team Ashley (Williams + Lehman) with their pink hot pants, psychedelic tops and floor length boas. Bonus points were awarded to each team for coming back to the parking lot with their outfits intact (although Katie’s wings had metamorphosed from her back to her front).
For information on the 2008 Hyalite Ice Breaker, stay posted sometime next summer at www.firstascentpress.com.
Hyalite Canyon Access
By Joe Josephson, Montana
In December, 2006, the leadership of Montana’s Gallatin National Forest released their new Travel Management Plan for Hyalite Canyon, decreeing that the sole road leading into Hyalite Canyon would be gated from January 1 until May 15, allowing no motorized vehicle access into the canyon for the majority of the winter recreation season. This closure would affect every user group involved: snowshoers, nordic skiers, snowmobilers, and ice climbers.
Pete Tapley cranking M-hard in The Cave, Hyalite Canyon. [Photo] John Irvine
An advocacy group was quickly formed. The Southwest Montana Climber’s Coalition (SMCC)–well established, with a history of successful access negotiations and trail building–was joined by the Bridger Ski Foundation, environmental groups, City and County Government, motorized users and others. After months of discussion–spearheaded by long-time Montana climbers Joe Josephson and Bill Dockins–on March 15, 2007, the Forest Service reached an agreement with the advocacy groups that would maintain reasonable access to the canyon for ice climbing and other recreational purposes.
The Forest Service finally admitted one of their main goals was simply to close the road to avoid the hassles and safety issues of the “Hyalite Rodeo,” the term given to the snowed-up road when it becomes littered with ice climbers in Subarus, motor heads in or on anything that burns two gallons per mile, meek young couples wanting to hold hands in a winter wonderland, ice fishermen hauling sheds of unspeakable squalor, college kids dragging inner tubes, red necks looking to pop a few thousand rounds into the hillside over a case of Schlitz or poor, naive skiers trying to find some peace.
However, this new plan suffered a setback when a mudslide swept across the road near Practice Rock in the spring of 2007. After funds allocated toward implementing other aspects of the plan were used to clear the mudslide, the Forest Service decided that the easiest route to take would be simply to maintain the status quo for the 2007-2008 winter season.
The status quo, in this case, means that the road will be plowed by the County to a popular fishing access point at the mouth of the canyon. The road will remain open past this point for motor vehicle access as long as it is drivable; the Forest Service will gate the road if a “season ending event” occurs. Snowmobiles will be allowed on main roads only (not on the reservoir itself), as far into the canyon as the Emerald Lake and Grotto Falls trailhead parking lots (which are the main access points for ice climbers) until March 31. The Forest Service had committed to installing a series of signs warning users of various hazards but these remain to be seen. This signage is the first part of a larger educational push that both the Forest Service and the advocacy groups are making to reduce behaviors that have led to this access crisis in the first place. The entire canyon will be closed by a gate at the bottom of the road between April 1 and May 15 with no motor vehicle access at all.
A climber enjoying her first day of ice climbing. Despite the grimace, she reported having a good time. [Photo] Erik Lambert
In the next one to three years, Hyalite Canyon will hopefully see several changes. The Forest Service is in the process of planning the installation of guardrails along the access road. This is the first step to upgrade the road to meet “Winter Use Standards” that will allay concerns about watershed quality that the City of Bozeman has recently raised.
A cross-country ski trail will be constructed away from the road, on the opposite side of the reservoir that lies at the mouth of the canyon. This trail will link to other, established trails in the canyon, and leave the road free for motorized traffic, allaying concerns of vehicles striking skiers. In keeping with the “many uses” objectives of the Forest Service, an independent snowmobile trail will also be constructed, on the same side of the lake as the current road. This trail will allow access to a Forest Service Rental Cabin and more importantly the Grotto Falls trailhead, the main trailhead for ice climbers. Finally, at some point it is hoped to form a non-profit organization to spearhead the ongoing educational efforts, manage the plowing funds, and begin the process of lobbying for Highway Trust Fund money from the federal government to make long term upgrades and improvements.
An unknown climber on the crux pitch of The Dribbles (WI4, 250m), a classic Hyalite Canyon route. [Photo] Erik Lambert
As with all issues related to access, the Hyalite Canyon story is complex, convoluted, and difficult to summarize. As a recreational space not just for climbers, but also for hikers, snowshoers, nordic skiers, and snowmobilers, Hyalite is the most popular and contentious Forest Service-managed land in Montana. The central focus of the entire issue for climbers is one road. Different agencies–municipal, county, state and federal–all have an interest in different components of that road. Some agencies are concerned with safety, some with access for different user groups, some with plowing and maintenance and some with monetary concerns. These differing jurisdictions and goals make management decisions difficult to reach.
Since the story is so complex, as ice climbers, the easiest way for you to help, without even having to understand the intricacies, is simply to go ice climbing. More climbers traveling the road means that the road stays passable longer. Keeping the road open, as well as avoiding accidents and conflicts with other user groups will go a long way towards keeping the road open this season and seasons to come.
A Weekend in Bozeman
By John Irvine, British Columbia, Arc’Teryx
After a wintry and cold Thursday, Ice Breaker teams were literally running back to the parking lot with that stoked gleam in their eyes. JoJo was there to greet them with a trunk full of beer. A unique brother and sisterhood developed along with plenty of PBR (when in Bozeman, drink as the Bozemanites) that inspired multiple high fives, big hugs, stories from the day and a parking lot party the climbers did not want to end. Not long after the last climbers collected at the tailgate of JoJo’s car, the sun escaped, and everyone headed back to town exhausted and dehydrated but psyched.
A full house for Guy Lacelle’s slideshow. He can be seen in gray, in the right foreground. [Photo] John Irvine
Thursday night’s gathering at the Baxter Hotel lured eager women, keen to try out the latest in demo gear. All were preparing for the next day’s women’s clinic. Gear and beer flowed as other climbers flooded to see the opening slide show of the festival with legendary mountaineer Kitty Calhoun, who, for her prowess on some of the hardest alpine and ice ascents in the world, has been in the spotlights of the climbing community for decades. Her slide show chronicled the ambitions of her past days along with her alarm at the effect of global warming on climbers’ playgrounds, where ice melting from the famous steeples of the world, perpetually changing the vertical landscapes of past climbers’ delight. Some ascents will never be done again as a result of these irreversible changes.
Dozens of women gathered Friday morning for what has become the largest women’s ice climbing clinic in North America. Bozeman’s best mountain guides (headed by Mike Cooperstein and Amy Bullard of Montana Alpine Guides), and celebrated athletes like Jen Olson, Sarah Hueniken, Shelly Huisman, Kitty Calhoun, Brittany Griffith, and Zoe Hart were on hand to share their experience with women from Bozeman and abroad. Climbers retreated after a very productive day to the parking lot, where hot chocolate with peppermint Schnapps, and homegrown elk sausage, cheese and crackers were passed on thanks to Arc’Teryx’s Rick Alexander.
Back to the Baxter, where the crowds filled in to experience ice through the eyes of one of the world’s most prolific ice climbers, Guy Lacelle. Guy’s presence on the climbers’ scene over the years is likened of a peaceful monk’s quest for enlightenment. He is quiet and confident, and his multimedia slide show speaks of discovery and adventure as he has traveled the world in search of the most fantastic water ice on earth. A narrative of Guy’s travels to China, Norway, France, Italy, Iceland, the US and Canada were chronicled as he portrayed his respected opinions on his favorite ascents worldwide. In over twelve years of Bozeman Ice Festival history, the turnout for Guy was the biggest ever.
Clinics on Genesis 1, a wall featuring a range of climbs of different difficulty levels, perfect for instruction. [Photo] Erik Lambert
The parking lot was full on Saturday and Sunday mornings, with nary a spot for putting on your crampons. The likes of Sean Isaac, Guy Lacelle, Zoe Hart, Stephen Koch, Dean Lords, Kris Erickson, Whit Magro, Amy Bullard, Jack Tackle, Jack Roberts and many other local hard men and women were on hand to relay the ins and outs of water ice and mixed climbing to dedicated clinic participants. Pre-teen to septuagenarian, experienced to debutant–there were dozens eager to absorb climbing knowledge. One of the signatures of the Bozeman event has long been the more intimate nature of the entire event, where participants get plenty of one-on-one time with athletes, guides and reps while on the ice and over beers back in town. This year was no exception.
Chris Alstrin was in Bozeman to show his wonderful film Higher Ground on Saturday night. The Baxter was packed to see this film that has received acclaim at film festivals wide-reaching. The film reads like a book, with chapters on the world’s best climber’s and mountaineers as they dash up ascents in the Canadian Rockies, Colorado, Utah, and Coastal British Columbia.
Special thanks really need to go out to Greg Caracciolo of Northern Lights Trading Company, Chris Naumann of Barrel Mountaineering, Mike Cooperstein of Montana Alpine Guides and, last but not least, Joe Josephson of First Ascent Press. These guys were the heart and soul of the festival and clearly love ice and mixed climbing and sharing it with others. They delivered an incredible spectacle that delivered insights, inspirations and a passion for this upward, wintry pursuit.
Warming up after a day of climbing. [Photo] John Irvine
Higher Ground in Montana
By Chris Alstrin, Colorado Springs, CO
“The Bozeman Ice Festival? What’s that?” I asked, after an e-mailed invitation suggested a new venue for my film, Higher Ground.
I now know quite a lot about the festival. This is the fifteenth year that the climbers of Montana have thrown a festival, in one incarnation or another, centered on Hyalite Canyon’s beautiful ice climbing.
It’s the first ice festival of the season. The thought brings excitement, and inspiration to dig deep in the closet to find your tools and crampons, and file away the rust. Just enough months have passed for our forgetful minds to erase the bitter cold, soaking wet belays, spindrift and epic days we encountered in seasons past. Without fail, every year, while in the middle of a horrifying pitch of steep ice, pumping out on the new leashless tools that seemed such a good idea earlier, I scream to my partner, “I need to marry a large Canadian woman who won’t let me climb.” If my friends called, I could look at her angry visage, quiver, and simply say, “Sorry guys, she won’t let me.” That hasn’t happened yet, so I continue to scare myself and freeze my ass off year after year with the rest of you.
Why do we climb these things? The color of the ice when it’s in perfect conditions, the trees frosted with snow, the joy of color when a climber’s jacket glares out of the whiteness? The long uphill approach in knee-deep snow while wearing a forty-pound pack, the burning sensation in your hands when the first screaming barfie of the season grips you, the feel of cold air drying your lungs on a quick gasp? Pounding away with medieval-looking tools and screaming?
The moment the first swing of the season slams into the ice–and the ice dinner plates onto your face–and you keep going anyway, the decision you make to overcome your own fear can be reason enough.
Whatever inspiration you find to climb ice, the Bozeman Ice Festival is a great way begin the season.
I flew to Bozeman last week to show our new film, Higher Ground. Despite having screened the film almost forty times, a crowd of any size makes me a touch nervous. Thankfully, a few sponsors opted to woo the participants by buying kegs. A nice free beer certainly makes introducing the film more palatable to me.
Thursday, while most of us settled into Bozeman by drinking delicious coffee and flirting with the locals downtown, all of the invited athletes ran around Hyalite climbing as many routes as possible for day one of the competition.
Kitty Calhoun opened the Festival’s evening events Thursday, with an amazing slideshow that showcased ice and alpine routes worldwide that may never see another ascent. The following evening Guy Lacelle gave a very memorable slideshow, showing us his favorite ice climbs in the world. While he had hundreds of amazing photographs, I spent most of the show figuring out how many of the routes I’d done–and how many more I had to do before I settle down with my large, Canadian soul mate. Quite a few, it would seem. As JoJo said in his introduction, “Guy has climbed more ice than any human on earth.”
More clinic climbers on Genesis 1, Hyalite Canyon, Montana. [Photo] John Irvine
Saturday evening was the showing of my film, the awards ceremony for the Open class of the comp and an extension of the previous evening’s alcohol consumption. During this, some Alpinist staffers and I decided to go a little more alpine and climb one of Hyalite’s four-pitch moderate testpieces, The Dribbles. Strangely, this did not convince us to go to bed any sooner.
Unfortunately, the festival did have to end. After a long day of climbing, we all met at the Mackenzie River Pizza Company for free pizza, beer and another round of raffle prizes. A youngster, Rhys, from Santa Monica won the most prizes. I was especially jealous when he won five back issues of Alpinist.
This was my first time to the Bozeman Ice Festival, but after meeting the good friends, humble climbers and great people involved, I’m certainly making this a yearly event.