Learn about climbing at seven Wyoming climbing spots. Areas include Ten Sleep Canyon, Cody, Lander, Vedauwoo, Fremont Canyon, the Tetons, and Devils Tower.
Planning a trip out west to rock climb? Consider heading to Wyoming. Wyoming has numerous bouldering, sport climbing, and traditional climbing destinations located throughout the state. Whether it’s the towering granite spires of the Teton Range, the dolomite sport climbing test pieces in Ten Sleep Canyon and the Lander area, or the 1,000 sandstone boulder problems in Cody, you’re likely to find a Wyoming rock climbing area that fits the bill.
Sport Climbing in Ten Sleep Canyon
Situated in north-central Wyoming close to Ten Sleep (population 304), Ten Sleep Canyon offers the sport climber some 700 established routes to choose from. Sweeping walls of clean Bighorn dolomite yield sport climbs rated from 5.6 to 5.14, with many unsent projects as well. The routes tend to be highly technical, vertical or slightly overhanging, and featured with pockets and crimps.
July and August are the prime climbing season in Ten Sleep Canyon. Good temps can also be found throughout the year, though much less predictably, with the other best months being May, June, and September. Aaron Huey puts out a new guidebook every year. You can pick one up in town (while supplies last) at Dirty Sally’s.
Bouldering in Cody
Cody’s Cedar Mountain hosts an astonishing proliferation of sandstone boulders tightly packed into several boulder gardens around the mountainside. Pockets and crimps pepper the Joes Valley-esque boulders, which come in all sizes and angles, making for a full range of grades, with potential for still more development.
Navigation can be a challenge for the boulderer with a specific problem in mind, but with the help of the Cody Bouldering Guide, by Mike Snyder (Mike Snyder, 2007), you’ll find your way around – or get stopped in your tracks by a beautiful boulder problem that you didn’t expect, in any case. Spring and fall are Cody’s best seasons.
Lander Area Sport Climbing
Well-known in the sport climbing community, the Lander area is home to Sinks Canyon, Wild Iris, Fossil Hill, Baldwin Creek, and the North Country – all of which feature fine-quality dolomite sport climbing. Grades range from 5.5 and under to some of the state’s 5.14 test pieces. Pockets and crimps can be found in abundance on the quality rock at these areas.
Seasons vary according to crag, with Sinks Canyon providing year-round climbing opportunities, and high-altitude Wild Iris at the other extreme, being best in the summer months. For a complete guidebook to the area’s sport climbing offerings, pick up a copy of Steve Bechtel’s Lander Sport Climbs (First Ascent Press, LLC, 2007).
Vedauwoo Cracks and Bouldering
In the southeast corner of state near Laramie, home to the University of Wyoming, discover the traditional rock climbing haven of Vedauwoo. Known especially for its off-width cracks, Vedauwoo also has some friendlier crack sizes for those less inclined to try their hands at off-widths. Vedauwoo is also home to numerous granite boulder problems scattered throughout the recreation area.
A high-elevation destination, Vedauwoo’s prime seasons are late spring and early fall, with summer also being an option.
Trad and Sport in Fremont Canyon
Just a short way southwest of Casper in central Wyoming, Fremont Canyon provides the opportunity for sport and traditional climbing on excellent granite above the North Platte River. For the majority of the routes in this testing climbing area, climbers either have to rappel in and climb out, or opt for the weenie way and top rope. Climbs range from 5.6 to 5.13+.
It’s generally best to climb in Fremont Canyon in spring and fall, though summer days can be an option if it’s not too hot. For more information on Fremont Canyon climbing, obtain a copy of Classic Rock Climbs No. 19, Fremont Canyon and Dome Rock, by Steve Petro (Falcon, 1997).
Climbing the Tetons or the Tower
Just north of Jackson, Wyoming, the Teton Range towers above the valley below, offering one of the most spectacular rock climbing settings in the state. The incomparable Tetons are known for their multi-pitch traditional climbs in a wide range of grades and lengths. Across the state lies Wyoming’s other rock climbing icon of note – Devils Tower. Both areas offer incredible climbing opportunities for beginning climbers as well as seasoned pros.
Wyoming Climbing Has Something for Everyone
If you’re looking for a western state packed with rock climbing opportunities in a wide variety of genres, look no further than Wyoming. The seven climbing areas outlined above represent some of the state’s finest developed rock climbing destinations, but this is by no means an all-inclusive list. Plenty of undeveloped rock awaits the eager explorer of new Wyoming climbs.