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Climbing Frozen Water: Bailey Lasko’s ADVENTUROUS Definition

Bailey Lasko climbing ice
UW junior Bailey Lasko started climbing during his high school days and was instantly hooked.

It only takes one glace at kinesiology major Bailey Laskso’s Snapchat story to see that he possesses an adventurous side and lives for the outdoors. Consuming his free time with climbing, running or hiking, Lasko says being outside at least twice a week helps him “recharge his batteries.”

Lasko posing in snowy moutains
Lasko’s primary outdoor pursuit is climbing, but he doesn’t limit himself to just that. His outdoor routine depends on the season, so he’s constantly doing a wide range of activities all year long. In the summertime, he pursues alpine climbing and mountaineering, while in the fall, he transitions to the three disciplines of rock climbing: sport climbing, traditional climbing and bouldering. During the winter months, he breaks out his ice gear to chase frozen waterfalls, and the springtime is reserved for more rock climbing. He also likes to trail run in the warmer seasons and enjoys backpacking in more remote mountain ranges around Wyoming.

Lasko grew up spending a lot of time outside with his parents, so he’s always had an adventurous drive from the time he was young. However, it wasn’t until high school that he fell in love with climbing. It only took one time for him to know he wanted to pursue the activity. Lasko had zero doubts that this was the right hobby for him. Climbing has allowed him to meet incredible people while traveling to beautiful destinations around the U.S. and beyond that he would’ve never considered visiting prior to pursing climbing.

“To me, it's become quite simple — the more time and energy I commit to the pursuit of climbing, the more rewarding the experiences become,” Lasko said. “There is never a finish line with it, there is always a new area to explore, wall to climb, and something new to be learned.”

Lasko climbing with a friend

After climbing for over a year, it was time for Lasko to take his hobby a step further. He went on a trip to New Zealand and was introduced to the cold version of his sport, ice climbing. Having close ties with one of the head coordinators at Jackson Hole Mountain Guides allowed for Lasko to get ahold of some ice climbing gear in order for him to give the new sport a try. He also had a friend in Cody, WY who used to climb Southfork Valley take Lasko under his wing to various ice flows in the area to start climbing.

“I can still recall my first day out ice climbing, how good it felt to swing an ax into the frozen blue medium, and from that moment on, I was hooked,” Lasko said. “The more time I spent getting deeper into the vertical world of ice, the more I became addicted to it."

Lasko climbing frozen waterfall

For those who aren’t aware of what ice climbing is, it is similar to rock climbing, but instead, you’re climbing ice. In the wintertime when waterfalls freeze over, they provide a solid medium to ascend with the help of crampons, ice tools and ice screws. These ice flows can be found in deep drainages cascading over cliff bands or tucked away in high mountains in the form of snowmelt ice/alpine ice. As you could imagine, frozen water forms to take different shapes, so no experience is the same.

Lasko climbing in the snow
Adventure is what keeps Lasko’s spark alive. Stepping into the unknown of adventure in the context of outdoor exploration is vital in Lasko’s life. As long as he’s out in nature, he’s able to find balance and joy through his pursuit of movement and exploration.

“All in all, it’s important for people to be adventurous in order to learn more about themselves, and at the end of day, find experiences that will reveal the true beauty of life,” Lasko said. “There is always another route I want to climb, another trail to explore, and another adventure to be had.”

Lasko smiling on side of cliff

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