If you’re a climber from Wyoming, you have definitely heard of a little town called Lander. If you’re not a climber from Wyoming, the fact that a small town of 7,000 people has some of the best climbing in the world may be elusive to you.
Whether you’re a seasoned climber, or a newbie trying to stumble across some cool spots, these are 5 of my favorite locales for doing all sorts of climbing from bouldering to sport climbing in or near Lander, Wyoming.
This is a list for everyone. A list for the best climbers. A list for the novice climber. A list for the person who likes to enjoy everything this area has to offer.
1. The Cabin Boulders
The cabin boulders are very accessible and very secluded in the same vein. Located at the base of the loop road in Sinks Canyon state park, you will find yourself immersed in a boulder field less than 50 yards from the banks of the mighty Popo Agie river.
The cabin boulders are an excellent spot to begin climbing, or hone the craft as it offers bouldering problems ranging in difficulty. They are also one of the best kept secrets on this list, so you will rarely run into fellow climbers if you prefer to be alone with a friend or two.
“It’s a gorgeous little spot at the top of Sinks Canyon. Perfect for staying out of the sun while getting some good routes in.” said avid Cabin Boulders visitor Ryan Crawford (pictured below).
2. Wild Iris
Simply put, Wild Iris is what put Lander on the map in the climbing world. There is even an outdoor store named after this legendary spot. A short 20 minute drive from the town of Lander will present you with the 283 different routes Wild Iris has to offer. While the vast majority of these routes are sport routes, (rope, harness, and belayer for the uninitiated) you will also find an array of boulder problems to try your luck on. If you are so inclined, the dirt capped parking lot at the base of all of it offers free overnight camping for the climbers who need more than a day to enjoy all that this gorgeous location has to offer.
“Wild Iris has some of the best limestone, and is perfect for climbers of all abilities. Home of the country’s first 5.14, the crag attracts climbers from around the world”, said local climbing enthusiast, Hannah Skinner.
3. The Dolomite Band
The dolomite band is the most difficult spot to get to on this list. A hike up from the parking lot off the main road in the state park traverses a very steep hillside. Once you reach the top, near the top of the canyon wall, you will find a pristine ring of dolomite smudged with chalk from past conquerers of the routes it offers.
A top the hillside, you will see the road winding its way down the rest of the canyon, parallel to the Popo Agie river. There is also a wonderful view of the south face of the canyon, lined with Douglas fir and lodgepole pine trees.
“Because of the vegetation shift from summer to winter, and the canyon walls getting direct sunlight, climbers are able to enjoy what Sinks Canyon has to offer all year round” said Lander native and climber Nesto Lowham.
4. Elemental Climbing Gym
The Elemental Climbing Gym located on Lincoln street in the town of Lander offers a perfect opportunity for beginners and experts alike. Small in area, the creators of this gym keep it jam packed with fresh routes, and training. Warm your fingers up on the various hang boards located around the gym before trying the problem you’ve been eyeing all week while the snow quietly falls outside.
For the beginners, Elemental offers climbing instruction by experienced, talented climbers and all gear you need to get started available for rent. For the advanced climber, there are a multitude of challenging routes, some even impossible, for you to hop on and really work on your climbing form before it’s time to go out and find some nice granite.
5. Falls Trail Boulders
The falls trail offer the least intensive climbing experience on this list, however, I included it simply because of the hike itself. While on the approach to the small number of climbable boulders on this trail, you will run across some breathtaking views. The likes of which include a swimming hole with a natural waterslide near the top of the hike.
This, of course, is not a comprehensive list of all the climbing around the beautiful city of Lander, Wyoming, however it is an introduction to 5 of my favorite places to go when I need a fix of climbing.
Lander has much to offer in the outdoor scene, but most of all, it offers climbing areas that are the envy of the world.