Climb Like a Local: Ten Sleep

05/30/2017

Categories: Climb Like a Local

With a perfect combination of sun and shade, Ten Sleep is ideal for mid-summer crushing. If you love super technical, vertical limestone climbing, then this sleepy little Wyoming town is going to be your dream come true.

Rock climbing at Tensleep in Wyoming.
Photo courtesy of Louis Arevalo

WHY WE LOVE IT: The large variety of grades makes Ten Sleep accessible to all climbers, and the bolting is super friendly. You’ll find 800+ limestone sport routes, with lots of good 5.10s (and under), a large concentration in the 5.11 to 5.13 range, and many 5.14s as well. And for limestone, the rock isn’t too sharp and the pockets are abundant.

THE LOCAL VIBE: There are only a handful of true “local” climbers. However, many climbers from surrounding communities (and neighboring states) call Ten Sleep their local crag. Locals are welcoming and really appreciate when visitors respect the simple local etiquette.

AVOID THE CROWDS: The climbing tends to spread people out on its own, however you will find crowds at the popular crags like Mondo, Superratic, and French Cattle. If you’re up for a longer approach, check out the less frequented gems like Crag 6, The Temple, The Ark, and The City of Gold.

There are also over 22 developed crags located just over the mountain from Ten Sleep, and many are an easy day trip. Check out Piney Creek Canyon, Steamboat Point, and Crazy Woman Crags. Do it…you will not be disappointed! Pick up a copy of Rock Climbs of the Eastern Bighorns guidebook for details.

LOCAL PET PEEVES: Locals have a strong Leave No Trace ethic and get peeved with climbers who don’t respect it. Pack out your trash, clean up after yourself and your pets, and be courteous to the locals and you’ll fit right in. Also, do not create new trails, respect road closures (the Old Road opens for camping on June 11th), and pay your camping fees.

WATCH OUT: Parking in Ten Sleep Canyon is extremely limited, so park head-in and do not parallel park in the tiny pullouts.

TOWN LIFE: The town of Ten Sleep is home to fewer than 300 residents, and life moves at a pretty slow pace. Ten Sleep Brewing Company is the spot for a post-climbing beer. And the Ten Sleep Rock Ranch is the place for all things climbing related—social canopy area, cheap camping, showers, and trash. The owners are awesome and always happy to answer questions.

Dirty Sally’s is the place to go for all your mercantile needs, including fresh produce and homemade waffle ice cream cones.

If you want a true western experience, don’t miss the Ten Sleep Rodeo on July 3-4, 2017. Where else can you pull on sinker pockets in the morning and cheer on bull riders in the afternoon?

CLIMBING FESTIVAL: A climbing road trip would not be complete without taking in the Ten Sleep Climbing Festival on July 1, 2017. Drawing in a crowd of over 600, the Bighorn Climbers’ Coalition event will be held this year at the Ten Sleep Brewing Company. Make sure you stop in for live music, food, brews, games, raffles, a silent auction, and a chance to chat up reps from all of your favorite climbing and outdoor companies.

PRO TIP: “You'll either think there are no footholds or footholds everywhere!” ~ Alli Rainey, local pro.

WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK? The Bighorn Climbers’ Coalition represents the climbing community in the region.

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