After a significant break in the cliffs of the main Sinks limestone wall, Fairfield hill is a smaller, generally less steep section of cliffs. Fairfield is divided into eastern, central and western portions. The grades range from 5.5 to 5.12 with the majority of lines between 5.9 and 5.11. The quality and the length of the lines is generally lower than the main wall, but fun lines still abound.
Fairfield Hill is separated from the main limestone walls at sinks by 100 yards and can be approached by two routes 1) via the main parking area by walking to the left along the base of the main wall past the Wilds and continue to Fairfield Hill 2) via a dirt road 1/4 mile past the main parking area on the left. Drive a short distance up this road to pull out parking, continue walking 1/4 mile of the road, further than you would guess, and a cairned trail heads back to the right angling towards the crag.
Super fun 11. Guidebook rates it 11d, compared to other routes of the same grade at Sinks, this probably could go at 11b/c.Start in a finger crack in a dihedral laybacking to not too technical face climbing. Get a great nap at a ledge then pull the lip to easy jugs to anchor. Careful in Fairfield, I've found a good bit of loose rock coming off the climbs here....[more]Browse More Classics in WY
And now, a lecture from Mr. Science! I finally figured out that the main reason people don't go to Fairfield as much is because there aren't as many pockets as in the Main Area. Duhhhh, I've only been here 19 years. Jesus, too many drugs. Most of the climbs involve a lot of edging and crimping, which is admittedly not as fun as hauling pockets. I think the reason for this is that pockets in dolomite are the old tracks of prehistoric clams in those old seabeds. I went to a Geology of the Sinks lecture and actually heard this, so I'm not hallucinating. Or maybe I was (?), I don't remember. If you look at modern clams, they live in the medium to low intertidal zones. There's no reason to think that prehistoric clams didn't live in the same places, so I think (just my idea) that the eastern part of the Sinks dolomite was more near a seashore, more intertidal, and as you progress west, that was deeper in the prehistoric sea, so you run out of the clam zone out there. If you notice, as you get to the top of many Fairfield climbs, there are more pockets: getting closer to the intertidal zone. Well it's something to think about when you're having lunch up there.
While clam 'prints' and acidic water may play a small role in the formation of pockets, the primary causitive factor has been shown to be the 'gravity vortex'. Gravity vortices are small eddies of gravity within which gravity itself is slightly stronger than it is outside the vortex. Any single gravity vortex is not in itself strong enough to create any noticible difference. However, these gravity 'eddies' sometimes happen to coalesce at the same time and place. When several of them do so, the gravity within this space can increase dramatically. Depending on the number and strength of the vortices, the increase in gravity can be anywhere from 2 to 1,000 times stronger than our 'normal' gravity. In fact, Killer Cave was likely created long ago (probably during the late Pleistocene Epoch) when a large number of gravity vortexes happened to come together in one spot. However, most votices are quite small and tend to create much smaller pockets such as one might find covering the stone of the Main Wall.
The reason Fairfield Hill has fewer pockets is because it is higher in elevation than the Main Wall. Due to their higher gravity, gravity vortices tend to sink or flow downhill. This is the same reason that Fossil Hill has fewer pockets. So, as you can see, the explanation for the formation of pockets is neither biologic nor chemical, but is, in fact, rooted firmly in the study of physics. I think.
My first reaction to Dano was: wow, I want some of what you're smoking, dude.
But, upon reflection, since no one was there at the inception of said pockets, clams, acid water, gravity vortexes: all interesting theories! The gravity vortex theory has way more pizazz than dull clams or acid water. I like the idea that this cool physical force was at work, buzzing away in there under the sea. Yea, I like it!