Tom Livingstone

Tom Livingstone (center) with climbing partners Ales Cesen and Luka Strazar in front of Latok 1 in Pakistan. In August, the team became the first to ascend the mountain via its north face. Photo credit: Petzl

BOZEMAN - In Bozeman, top ice climbers are gathering to take advantage of the weather - and reach new heights at this year's Bozeman Ice Festival.

The 22 year festival has drawn athletes and climbing fans from all over the world. One of those people is Tom Livingstone, the first climber to successfully ascend Latok 1 in Pakistan via its treacherous north face. The more than 23,000 foot mountain defeated more than 30 expeditions before Livingstone's team finally conquered it in August.

The UK native spoke about his experience on the route at the festival on Thursday night.

"To climb big mountains in the Himalaya," Livingstone told Montana Right Now, "requires a lot of luck. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right team. We were very lucky to succeed in our route."

Livingstone and his climbing partners, Slovenian nationals Ales Cesen and Luka Strazar, finished the landmark route in 7 days - mere days after the death of a Russian climber, and the subsequent rescue of his surviving partner, took place on the same mountain.

Livingstone was able to share his experience at the festival not only through his words - but his expertise. Bozeman climbers have the benefit of learning from Livingstone, with hands-on, on-ice climbing classes in Hyalite Canyon.

"It's been nice to introduce other people to the sport as well," Livingstone said. "It's quite a surreal experience to climb a frozen waterfall."

The weeklong event also functions as a film festival, with viewings of films like "The Dawn Wall" and "Free Solo," a documentary on the first free solo climb of Yosemite's El Capitan vertical face by climber Alex Honnold.

Most nights feature special guests, like Livingstone, who share their experiences from ice walls around the world.

The Bozeman Ice Festival runs through Sunday at the Emerson Center for the Arts. Tickets can be purchased on the festival's website.

ABC Fox Reporter

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