The magical skies of Wyoming guided us on our drive to Ten Sleep. Pulling over just outside of Yellowstone National Park to setup camp, we experienced some of the coolest clouds and colors to date.
Crazy skies as we approach Yellowstone National Park from the west side. We practically had the park to ourselves on this drive. The sunset was amazing, people were snug in their camps and we watched elk, antelope and buffalo roam (sometimes dangerously close). With all the thunder and lightning around we somehow came out on the Cody side without feeling a drop, and camped at a trailhead down out of the mountains to the east.
Not bad for out the window going 60 mph. The sky was ON FIRE and if we had more time to stop we could have taken some stellar shots.
The morning came fast. Waking slowly, I peeled my sleepy eyes open, rolled to my left and swung my arm around E. We had driven six hours or so the day prior, which landed us just outside of Yellowstone; such an incredible place and often too busy to linger. Thankfully, we were able to cruise through the park the night before, making our morning drive much easier: no stop-and-go traffic to curb our excitement for dolomite climbing in Ten Sleep.
The wildflowers were amazing. Mid-july and they were still popping and the sage sprouting.
Ten Sleep is the quintessential small town. It’s cozy and compact Main Street leads outdoor enthusiasts and other travelers past a bakery & café, general store, hardware store, restaurant, saloon, bank, gas station and motel. Although most of the other small businesses have dwindled, these special spots and the people that frequent them keep the community afloat. Beyond the traditional activities, like hunting and fishing, rock climbers have chiseled out a spot in Ten Sleep, contributing to the small Wyoming town in a very big way.
Tasty treats and coffee can be found here, but bring cash!
The coffee shop in the town of Ten Sleep. A great place to grab some coffee on a lazy morning. Here we talked climbing with some new friends from Revelstoke.
Amazing rock canyons and building-sized boulders lined the highway. From afar, some of the rock looked like kitty litter: crumbly, crappy, and no good for climbing. We learned quickly that this wasn’t the case and in fact, the rock is some of the best we’ve climbed on, boasting a huge amount of stone and a wide variation in the style of climbing.
Our friendly abode. Pete’s camper and our tents fit nicely up against a sweet boulder. Camping near the crag was plentiful, free and beautiful.
Valhalla, Mondo Beyondo, and French Cattle Ranch were the first few places we climbed at. All were excellent and all were unique. We enjoyed some very awesome routes with great friends. Ben made the long trip from Salt Lake City, Pat and Peter trekked over from Ketchum, Pat’s friend, Sam, flew in from Portland, Conrad drove over from Boise, and Steve, once again, made the trip down from Helena. We also met two new friends, Dave and his dog, Moab, both traveling from Maryland in hopes of making a cool west coast town their home.
Moab and Dave.
Steve’s CrossFit pose. Still working on this one.
Oh yeah and this guy was there too.
In such little time, we climbed so many routes and made even more great memories. Some notable and favorite* climbs of the trip: Beer Bong – 10b, Bikini Girls and Machine Guns – 11b*, Cocaine Rodeo – 12a, Wu-Tangs Wild Shinto Ride – 12a*, Wyoming Flower Child – 11d*, Dope Shinto – 12a, Santa’s Little Prowler – 10d* and Slightly Toasted Cracker – 11d*.
This was the first climb we did at Ten Sleep, Beer Bong (5.10b), a classic pitch that allows you to stem the final chimney facing outward! A nice mix up and a cool first pitch.
Ben getting his Shinto on with a redpoint of Wu-Tangs Wild Shinto Ride (5.12a).
Robyn on Bikini Girls with Machine Guns (5.11b). This climb was one of our favorites, amazing movement on perfect two finger pockets. Small but not tweaky, and just plan-sustained fun.
Tip toeing to an onsight of Wyoming Flower Child (5.11d) at the end of a great day.
Robyn just before the crux on the LOOONNG and classic Cocaine Rodeo (5.12a). Photo: Benny
Another nice shot by Ben of Robyn on Cocaine Rodeo (5.12a).
Ben entering “The Ass” on Mr. Poopy Pants (5.11b). Trust me this climb was much more enjoyable than the title sounds. So cool. Lots of steep stemming at the top.
The crew enjoying some shade and stellar warm-ups.
Pat and Sam both dialed in and sent their first 12a’s, Ben got three 12a redpoints: Cocaine Rodeo, Dope Shinto, and Wu-Tangs Wild Shinto Ride, I snagged my first ever back-to-back flashes of two 12a’s: Dope Shinto and Wu-Tang’s, and as usual, ‘downgrader’ Davis crushed every route we did! Bah!
What an amazing afternoon of climbing, these guys killed it!
Pat’s industrial strength belay gloves.
Happiness in Slavery (5.12b) with the endless dolomite of Ten Sleep tracing the canyon walls. Good climbing temps are from about 1:30 PM till dark during July. Often we were treated to a stunning orange and pink light show on the opposite side of the canyon as we hiked out.
Trying hard on a tricky spot. Happiness in Slavery (5.12b).
Yeah. Pulled this off of some anchors after people were hucking laps on it all day. Check fixed gear people, this thing was scary sharp!!
Conrad sending Hanoi Hilton (5.11d). This line looks great, on the list for next time.
On our last morning we rose early to tick off the climbs on the Godfather boulder. Here is Ben on Umpalumpa Humpachu (5.10b) to get the day started. Tick, tick, tick, tick and off for home.
By the end of our trip, our mouths hurt from smiling too much, our bellies hurt from laughing too much, and our bodies ached from all of the excellent climbing we did.
We will be back. Tensleep has LOTS of good climbing and a great and easy camping scene. We hope to see the same people and canyons this time next year!
To end our journey, we were greeted by an incredible light show. The sky was thick with smoke and the vibrant colors from the setting sun were unforgettable. The magical skies of Idaho welcomed us home after driving into the sun for ten-plus hours without air conditioning…
…it builds character.