Rock Climbing - Wyoming
Page Summary: The Wind River Mountains offer some of the best rock and alpine rock climbing in the United States.
The Rockies of western Wyoming offer all levels of rock climbing challenges, from simple bouldering along the lower ridges to extended assaults on high mountain peaks. Most advanced climbs involve an overnight trip, which means backpacking or using pack animals in the Bridger Wilderness. Be sure you are familiar with Bridger-Teton National Forest regulations and rules for Wilderness camping before setting out. Up-to-date, detailed topographical maps are essential as some climbing guides have inaccurate information.
Cirque of the Towers, located in the Big Sandy area at the south end of the Wind River Range, is perhaps the best known in the state and offers huge faces and superb granite rock. Warbonnett, Warrior One, Mt Mitchelle, Wolf's Head, Pingora, and Shark's Nose offer a variety of 5.6 to 5.13 pitches. The northeast face of Pingora and the east ridge of the Wolf's Head are featured in the guide, "50 Classic Climbs of North America" by Steve Roper and Allen Steck.
Everything from a 3rd class walkup to 5.12 can be found at Titcomb Basin, high in the central section of the Winds near Fremont Peak. This area is accessible from the Elkhart Park trailhead. At the north end, near Green River Lakes, Square Top Mountain provides a more exposed scramble, but the route can be nearly impossible to find, so allow extra time and patience.
Beginning climbers can try their skill at bouldering and short-rope pitches on day-long excursions. Mulligan Park, 14 miles up Skyline Drive, is a group of granite buttresses immediately opposite the Fremont Lake overlook past the ski turnoff.
A good day of bouldering can be had all around Meadow Lake, not far from Burnt and Boulder Lakes. Travel up the canyon to the northeast to access multi-pitch short-rope climbs. The Forest Service road to Meadow Lake is rough and rocky - a high clearance vehicle is highly recommended. Boulder Lake is easier to reach by car, and plenty of undeveloped climbing is available on the upper end of the lake, beyond the summer homes of Boulder Lake Estates. Beginners can also practice the art of climbing in the area of the upper Fremont Lake Campground, northeast of Pinedale.
The advantages of climbing in Sublette County are numerous: amazing views, few people except on the most popular climbs, abundant excellent climbing for those who possess the skills, and opportunities for beginners to test themselves in beautiful backcountry. The disadvantages are: advanced climbs require full-day approaches. Climbers must take responsibility for getting themselves to and from their destinations in one piece and obeying the rules. Some of the best information can be found by searching the internet for details on specific climbs written by people with personal experience.
Routes and climbing areas in Sublette County are not marked and may be very remote. Whether you plan an overnight trip or just a daytime journey, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return, and do not deviate from your plan. Expect unpredictable weather, don't count on your cell phone to work, and bring extra food and clothing in case your trip lasts longer than anticipated. Most of all, plan a trip that is consistent with your backcountry abilities and survival skills, since search & rescue services may not be readily available.
Sublette County Visitor Center
P.O. Box 176
Pinedale, WY 82941
Bridger-Teton National Forest
P.O. Box 1888
Jackson, WY 83001
Pinedale Ranger District
29 E Fremont Lake Road, PO Box 220, Pinedale, WY, 82941
Big Piney Ranger District
PO Box 218, Big Piney, WY, 83113
307-276-3375 or 276-5800/5200