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Wichita Wildlife Refuge

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Charon's Gardens 
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Wichita Wildlife Refuge Rock Climbing 

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Location: 34.7108, -98.6233 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 187,419
Administrator: Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Craig Childre on Sep 11, 2006


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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Charon Gardens, Wichita Mountains Wildlife refuge....

Access is always an issue here. MORE INFO >>>


Climbing year round. Look for the shade in the summer and sun in the winter. Spring and fall are the 'in' seasons. World Class granite is the name of the game with some nice boulders as well. The ratings are old school, so everything is solid.

No booze and no guns inside the reserve. All areas open at 9 and close at sundown except the Mt. Scott. Be mindful of your speed in the reserve.

Getting There 

15 minutes west of Lawton Oklahoma, look for the Cache exit, head north into the reserve.


Oklahoma Select "A Climber's Guide" is available at Sharpend books. In this 2004 guide book author Tony Mayse covers the best routes at Quartz Mountain and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.


Climbing Season

Weather station 5.2 miles from here

474 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',37],['3 Stars',142],['2 Stars',149],['1 Star',64],['Bomb',3]

Classic Climbing Routes in Wichita Wildlife Refuge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Wichita Wildlife Refuge:
Great Expectations   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch   Charon's Gardens : Elk Slabs
Atomic Knee Drop   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch   Mount Scott : Upper Mount Scott
Yee Haw   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch   Mount Scott : Upper Mount Scott
The Dihedral   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 60'   The Narrows : Zoo Wall
High Anxiety   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   Mount Scott : Lower Mount Scott
Ker Plunk   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 100'   The Narrows : Lichen Wall
Foolish   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, 1 pitch   Mount Scott : Upper Mount Scott
Fantasy Roof   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 45'   The Narrows : Zoo Wall
Crazy Alice   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 60'   The Narrows : Zoo Wall
Worm Hole   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Charon's Gardens : Echo Dome
Mr. Clean   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   Mount Scott : Lower Mount Scott
Frosted Flakes   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 70'   Charon's Gardens : Echo Dome
Ladybugs and Gentlemen   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport   Charon's Gardens : Echo Dome
Foolish Behavior   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Mount Scott : Upper Mount Scott
Come and Get Your Love   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Charon's Gardens : Lost Dome
Repeat After Me   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Mount Scott : Lower Mount Scott
Dr. Coolhead   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b X     Trad, TR, 60'   The Narrows : Zoo Wall
Spaceballs   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport   The Narrows : Lichen Wall
Aerial Anticipation   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 60'   The Narrows : Aerial Anticipation
League of Doom   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R     Trad, 2 pitches   The Narrows : Lichen Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Wichita Wildlife Refuge

Featured Route For Wichita Wildlife Refuge
Rock Climbing Photo: Drive by Crimping follows the red line

Drive by Crimping V7 7A+  Oklahoma : Wichita Wildlife Refuge : ... : Lost Dome Bouldering
Full package boulder problem. Starting on half moon crimp ledge and low left foot, throw out left for a 1 pad sidepull. Switch your feet and do a drive-by move into a right hand crimp. From there move up to a higher right hand crimp, work your feet up and finish on the slabby topout....[more]   Browse More Classics in Oklahoma

Photos of Wichita Wildlife Refuge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The Mount Scott crags (also taken from Lake Lawton...
BETA PHOTO: The Mount Scott crags (also taken from Lake Lawton...
Rock Climbing Photo: Aerial Anticipation 5.11c. In the Narrows.  Matt o...
Aerial Anticipation 5.11c. In the Narrows. Matt o...
Rock Climbing Photo: A male collard lizard getting some morning sun
A male collard lizard getting some morning sun
Rock Climbing Photo: Mount Sheridan seen from the Lake Lawtonka East Ca...
Mount Sheridan seen from the Lake Lawtonka East Ca...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mount Scott seen from the Lake Lawtonka east campg...
Mount Scott seen from the Lake Lawtonka east campg...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pear and Apple in Charons Garden Wilderness Area  ...
Pear and Apple in Charons Garden Wilderness Area ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Charons Garden Wilderness Area  Photo: Ryan Ray
Charons Garden Wilderness Area Photo: Ryan Ray
Rock Climbing Photo: Sun set over Crab Eyes (just left of center) as se...
Sun set over Crab Eyes (just left of center) as se...
Rock Climbing Photo: Three historically classic guidebooks from the gol...
Three historically classic guidebooks from the gol...
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the top of Crab Eyes.
View from the top of Crab Eyes.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking east while approaching Echo Dome. August 2...
Looking east while approaching Echo Dome. August 2...
Rock Climbing Photo: Definitely a year round destination! We had a grea...
Definitely a year round destination! We had a grea...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bridge has been replaced.
Bridge has been replaced.
Rock Climbing Photo: Objective hazards when driving through the Wichita...
Objective hazards when driving through the Wichita...

Comments on Wichita Wildlife Refuge Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 23, 2017
By Adam Peters
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Jun 13, 2007
That damn Sasquatch!
By Cels
Feb 24, 2009
Need a Climbing Partner from 3/1/09 to 3/7/09. Any takers?
By Steve DiMarino
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 31, 2010
A few things you should keep in mind when planning a trip to the refuge:

It is VERY humid and hot in the summer. All the climbing that we found, except for a cave area found on upper Mount Scott, is in the sun until later in the afternoon. Even The Meadows, which promised to be North facing by the guide book was directly in the sun until about 1:30 pm. (Somebody please list some a.m. shady climbing if you know of any.)

Bring long (20+ foot) slings or cords to build anchors around boulders. There are few anchors on any of these walls and 10 feet of webbing isn't going to be enough.

There is Poison Ivy everywhere--even inside some of the cracks you are jamming. Be prepared to wash exposed skin and separate clothes soon after climbing. You WILL come in contact with poison ivy--at least in the summer time--it really is everywhere you look.

There are lot's of ticks. We didn't have any tick spray and my son and I picked off 30 ticks between us. Bring something for the ticks or you'll need to find good friend to pull ticks off your ass cheeks and possibly beyond.

Some of the trails (as of 6/10) are a bit over grown, destroyed, or unmarked. Plan on doing some wondering to find the walls. It is not that bad, just not the 15 minute approach promised in the guide
This is just a preparation list of the things I wish I knew before climbing at the refuge. The granite is wonderful and solid. It offers great climbing. I found the rangers very nice and informative and there is no charge for parking or park fees. The park welcomes climbers.
Enjoy, but be prepared.
By Tony Mayse
Mar 28, 2011
I've never had to bring 20'of webbing to set up anything. Cams, cordellete, maybe a couple slings if you're toproping stuff.

Poison ivy in cracks? Hmmm.. I have never had that problem.

Ticks. Yea, like any green area there are ticks but in the 20 years I've been climbing in the Refuge I might get one or two if I don't use bug spray.

A good early AM area to climb in the summer is..
West Face of Crab Eyes, Echo Dome, Hidden Wall, Lost Dome to name a few..
By Jon Wood
May 16, 2011
Ha! Get 'em Tony. Thanks for a great book. Make the trip from Tulsa several times a year. It's like heaven down there. A lifetime of beautiful climbs.
By ddupree
Jul 24, 2011
My wife and I are new to the area and are wanting to learn to climb and rappell. we have NO experience but are eager to learn. Please let us know if there is anyone who can teach this in the area.
By ravisurdhar Surdhar
From: Phoenix, CO
Sep 24, 2012
Accidentally forgot a blue Sterling rope in a black Metolius rope bag at near the anchor ledge of Upper Mount Scott on 9/23/2012. If anyone found it, please message me or email me at ravisurdhar AT yahoo DOT com. Thank you!!!
By Jonathan M
Feb 5, 2013
If anybody is having any trouble finding a certain area I might be able to help, I recently made a trail map with Google maps of some of the areas! shoot me a message and i'll see if I can dig them up for your. Great granite reminds me of my home Wyoming. The wildlife is awesome out there! Stay safe have fun.
By Matt Handley
From: Fort Drum, New York
Jul 11, 2013
Looking for a partner who can lead with a decent trad rack on weekends between Aug 18th and Sep27th. I'll be at Ft. Sill for a class and would love to check out this area.
By rain cloud
From: the abyss (kansas)
Sep 5, 2013
Anybody out there want to climb with me September 26th through the 30th? Could be any of those days. I'm a experienced climber, and have been to the area before.
By Ryan Sheldon
From: Oklahoma City, OK
Feb 25, 2014
By Caden
Oct 28, 2014
I'm new to rock climbing and want to climb outdoors. I don't know how to and am looking for a guide does anyone have any suggestions?
By RestoredSteve
Sep 22, 2015
Wasn't sure where to post this but... I am pretty new to climbing. I have recently got into sport climbing at the gym, and obviously have done a lot of TR climbing in the gym and at the Wichitas. Basically, I have not got into trad (yet) and have no cams, only a set of nuts that i've never used. does anybody have any suggestions for top rope climbs (up to 5.11) that can be anchored with slings/webbing OR good sport routes at the Wichitas for a beginner? (max climb at a gym was 5.11 TR, and 5.10b lead)
By RestoredSteve
Sep 22, 2015
Also, when the guide book or the mtn project site says trad,sport rather than just sport, does that mean its a mix and I will have to have a trad rack?
By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Sep 22, 2015
Trad Sport - you are correct. Typically these routes have a few bolts along with some gear placements. On rare occasions the gear isn't necessary, like the #2 cam that can be placed on 'Come and Get Your Love' over at Lost Dome. More often you will find a situation like on Dr. Coolhead, where that first placement is imperative, and even with it, if you blow that clip at that first bolt you'll most likely deck. Coolhead is one of the bolder lead IMHO.
By Cfresh
From: Barrington il
Sep 29, 2015
Hey guys and gals I'm gonna be out this way mid oct to do some bouldering and camping I've made a pretty decent guide book for myself but with all the beta that's on here and how many boulders it seems like out there was wondering if there was any spots that still need climbs developed please let me know I'm a pretty decent route setting imo
By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Sep 29, 2015
If you are looking to establish some new problems. In the refuge, I would park at Treasure Lake and hike up around the area below Elk Slabs and Treasure cove. You can also start in the Sunset Pool on the other end. Lots of rock to play on. Plenty of established problems out there... if you can find them. So much good rock around, you are sure to find something that suits you. Good luck.
By Cfresh
From: Barrington il
Sep 30, 2015
Thanks so much Craig! Really appreciate the info and the quick response if ur in the area and wanna meet us out there please be my guest. I'm really excited the place looks beautiful! My cell is 1847seven36foursix17 I climb v3-v5 hmu I'll be with 3 of my good friends who are beginner climbers. Aka pad carriers (;
By Tristan Bradford
From: Oklahoma City, OK
Oct 12, 2016
By mike varlotta
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jan 12, 2017
I am going to be climbing in the middle swath of the country this summer and am looking forward to spending time in the WWR. I have never been there before. I know that mid june through july is not ideal for that region, but it is when i have the time off and so i will make due. I am hoping that there will be enough shade that it will not be unbearable. Can somebody give me some beta as to what to expect at that time temperature wise. I would also welcome any beta as to best place to camp and areas most suitable for July climbing.
By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Jan 12, 2017
Camp Doris is great central spot to stay, but is family oriented, so no booze, which goes for the whole refuge.

When it's hot. Narrows, you can chase the shade all day. I like to start at Lichen Wall, mid day have a siesta soaking feet in the river, and usually end at Zoo Wall or the Tower.

Longer hike out but you can find shade all day either side of Crab Eyes.

Mount Scott is another gem, most of the upper gets blazed, Romper Room sees no sun all day. Both upper and lower get shade late.
By mike varlotta
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jan 12, 2017
Thanks for quick reply. So is your experience that with a little bit of planning and good strategy there is great climbing to be enjoyed even in July? I would be very siked if this were the case! I will we driving down from Michigan, through Illinois and Missouri and then possibly into Texas in search of areas that are climbable in July. I would love any additional beta.
By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Jan 12, 2017
The heat is pretty brutal, but certainly you'll find plenty of shady spots to keep you busy.

Texas? You could go down to Austin, and Enchanted Rock... same swampy heat with lesser quality rock.

Now over around El Paso, Hueco Tanks... it's everything you've heard, but that's a mega long trip you need reservations for... consider 2 hours closer, around Carlsbad NM, You could hit what I consider the ultimate summer oasis with free camping... Sitting Bull Falls! Shade all day, swimming hole to cool off, and world class limestone. Do know, the warm up routes are all 10's, and this place truly shines in the 12's.

8 miles up the canyon from Sitting Bull, is Last Chance. Another crag where you can climb in the shade all day long no matter the grade you climb. Best practice during the summer is to hike in late morning to early afternoon, climb till sun goes down, simply to avoid getting blazed by the sun on the short but brutal hike out.
By Alec R
Feb 12, 2017
Left some gear behind at the base of zoo wall left in the Narrows, at the base of fantasy roof. 4 tricams + 4 hexes...if you find my gear let me know! Really appreciate anyone's help. In Dallas so happy to drive to pick it up or pay for shipping.
By Willie Martin
From: Odessa, TX
Feb 20, 2017
Hello Everyone!
I'll be in Duncan off-and-on for the next couple of months for job training and I am looking for someone who can show me around some routes at The Wichita Wildlife Refuge on the weekends. I recently graduated from UT Austin where I did a bunch of sport climbing but my trad experience is pretty close to zero. Right now I only have a harness and shoes but I'm really great at bringing good snacks! If you'd be interested feel free to shoot me a text at 214-two98-six892, I'll be here the weekends of 2/25 and 3/4, and back again in April-May and August. Thanks!
By mike haefeli
Mar 23, 2017
The weather is great! I have a crash pad and climbing shoes. Let's go boulder on the weekend. (If you want to sport climb I can belay)

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