|GPS:||42.842, -108.724 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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Lander is home to several cliffs dispersed throughout the foothills of the southeastern Wind River Mountains. The rock is mainly Bighorn Dolomite and occurs in two basic types. There are wind eroded buttresses like those of Wild Iris and Fossil Hill, and there are walls lining the sides of canyons, such as Sinks Canyon and Wolf Point. The rock varies in quality from very good to very featured and consists mainly of crimps and positive pockets, some being as small as one-finger pockets on the more difficult lines.It is possible to climb throughout much of the year here. Sinks is the best winter area, with a paved approach and an inversion that keeps the wall toasty when it is freezing in town. It is not uncommon to climb in a t-shirt on sunny days in January and February when the temperature in town is 10 degrees. Summer is better spent at Wild Iris and its surrounding crags as they are much higher in elevation, and mainly under snow in the winter. Spring is sometimes great but often snowy and wet. Fall is the best time for climbing in Lander, with crisp temps, sunny skies, and access to every crag here.
Steve Bechtel's guidebook does a great job of describing the sport routes around Lander and is the best resource for any climber visiting the area. It describes the following cliffs:
Wild Iris (including North Country)
The Strawberry Roan
The Sweat Lodge
The Ghost Town
Little Shady (Wolf Pup, Ben's Block, other areas on the shady side of the Little Popo Agie canyon)
There are several other cliffs that are either very sparsely developed, are under development, or that have sensitive access issues and as such are not included in the current guide. There are also some seasonal road closures and occasional route or crag closures that need to be heeded. Please check with locals (Wild Iris Mountain Sports, WyoClimbers advocacy organization, or forums here) if you have questions about current access to an area.
There is a bit of granite climbing as well, the Joint Wall and the Sanctuary at the top of Sinks Canyon being two areas that have about 50 sport climbs all together. There are some fantastic routes on these cliffs if you get tired of pocket pulling. Sinks also has some sandy sandstone at the entrance of the canyon.
The bouldering around Lander is getting more and more developed each year. There is a limited selection of sandstone and dolomite bouldering in the heart of Sinks Canyon. The Cabin Boulders at Bruce's Bridge in Sinks is a small granite garden that is good for a short session. The Loop Road above Sinks has several small areas that can be fun in the summer. The Rock Shop on South Pass has a good, although spread out, selection of gneiss blocks. Some of these, like the UFO boulder and the Lander Boulder, are world class. There are also two great areas a little further afield, both approached on the road to Dickenson Park above Ft. Washakie. These are the Devil's Kitchen and the Falcon's Lair. You need a Wind River Indian Reservation permit to be able to access either of these places. These can be obtained in several locations in Lander, including the Wild Iris shop. David Lloyd's guidebook Bouldering in the Wind River Range is the only available resource (besides word of mouth) for any pad people wanting to check out the blocs around Lander.
Lander is located in central Wyoming, easily found on the map. Lander is also the main venue for the International Climbers' Festival, held every summer in mid-July. This grassroots festival is one of the world's longest-running climbers' festivals and is organized by WyoClimbers, a non-profit local climbing organization that supports youth climbing, rebolting/safe anchor initiatives, and climbing access/advocacy in the region.
Gear and guidebooks can be found at Wild Iris Mountain Sports on Main Street in town. There are also several places to eat breakfast and lunch. The best are The Middle Fork (climber owned) and the Lander Bakery, both on Main Street.
The Cowfish is the best upscale dinner joint and the Gannett Grill/Lander Bar is a must visit for any traveler, climber or otherwise. Both of these fine establishments are also owned by a climber.
Elemental Climbing and Fitness is the go to place if you need a shower, or want to climb on the rare chance you get rained out. Steve Bechtel's Climb Strong is also a a part of Elemental and one of the world leaders in climbing training
The local guide service, Wind River Climbing Guides, is available for climbing instruction of all levels at Sinks Canyon and Wild Iris.
Where To Stay
There are numerous places in and around Lander to stay while on your climbing trip.
City Park- You can camp in the grassy city park for free with a three day limit. Please respect the 3 night limit!
There are also several Airbnb options, as well as numerous hotels.
Sawmill Campground- Closest access to the sink and rise of the Popo Agie.
Popo Agie Campground- Closest access to the shady side and hiking trails across the swinging bridge. Yurts are also available to rent.
Sinks Canyon Campground- Closest access to the Main Wall.
Forest Service Campground- This is the only free camping in Sinks Canyon and is subject to winter closures. Driving up the canyon, it is ~1/2 mile past the Missouri Geology Field Camp on the left
These are the campsite fees as of 2020
Off season: Oct 1 -April 30 - $6.00 Residents $11.00 for Non- Residents.
Peak Season: May 1- Sept.30 - residents $9.00 non-Residents $16.00
OK Coral- This is the most popular camping at Wild Iris. DON'T DRIVE ON THE ROAD AFTER A RAIN. The dirt road gets really muddy and rutted out when people do this. Don't be an ass. Also use the bear boxes and don't leave food out.
Aspen Glades- Good option for a 2WD vehicles. Don't camp past the fences and pack out your poop! A pit toilet was installed in July 2020 with support from WyoClimbers.
Where ever you end up staying, please be courteous. Pick up your trash, dispose of human waste properly, and reduce your impact.
Classic Climbing Routes at Lander Area
Days w Precip