23 August 2007

Wyoming's Bighorn Range - Climbing & Exploring

If I felt my job was secure until retirement, I'd want to move here. Even if I didn't .. Mia vetoed any such ideas quickly though. She needed face to face contact for her work. I work remote and need only a decent internet connection. Such is life. Maybe later...

The Bighorn Mountains are the most easterly mountain range in Wyoming. The Winds are to the West and the Tetons West of that. The Bighorns are more sedate than either but the exploration potential is huge - especially from the pure rock climbing perspective. Dolomite/ Limestone is everywhere and not just the little cliffs like Wild Iris or Sinks. It would be expensive to live here for a climber. Think of the cost of bolts for new routes ... I saw the alpine rock only from a distance - more jaw dropping terrain. And the Winds a few hours West. Damn! As I said .. maybe later.

Climbing was good in Tensleep Canyon. We checked Raven Wall and vicinity and French Cattle Ranch. Above Raven Wall is an "Indian" ice cave. Even in hot weather, you need a pullover to climb nearby. It blows cold! The 5.10s on Raven Wall + a number of new nearby routes made for a great day. French Cattle Ranch was a hike but well worth it. Good quality and long routes.

On a rest day, we drove up to Lower Medicine Lodge Lake via Hyattville. Beautiful country but it took about 2 hours on 4x4 roads. Glad it was Mia's idea. The hike around the lake was calming .. after hitting my head on the roof for 2 hours. This convinced me I need an on board compressor so I can air down the tires and air them back up after the goods. I wish I had a fishing pole and some time here but we were out of food and everyone was getting grumpy.

We drove North to Shell Canyon semi Baja style (i.e. fast) and it still took an hour to get to a paved road. (Shell Canyon could see a lot of route development on granite. Just frigging heartbreakin'. No one around to climb the stuff.) We found a nice restaurant in Shell and ate. We were lucky. It seemed to be one of two places in town and it was reservation only. They took pity on us since we were early. Wagon Wheel restaurant - good place - reserve a place on the deck if you have a chance.

On the way home, we found the "perfect" camping place. This will be the subject of a later post.

Pics are here. Enjoy!

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