Before cars, the town of Ten Sleep used to take about 10 days and 10 nights (i.e., ten sleeps) to get to from the next big town in any direction. Fortunately, this still fairly isolated location provides for some peaceful and less crowded climbing. As for the rock itself, some might say that Ten Sleep Canyon hosts the best limestone sport climbing in the ‘States. They are wrong. Ten Sleep is in fact dolomite, though the composition and style of climbing is hard to distinguish from limestone. Regardless of the rock type or whether it’s the best, one thing is for certain: the trip out here from anywhere is well worth one’s time and the well-bolted, consistently interesting and long lines will put a smile on your face.
Ten Sleep is essentially a single-pitch sport climbing destination. The climbs are well-bolted and on the longer side, though most will be fine with a 60-meter. Bring a 70-meter to have access to everything. An extra large rack of draws (18+) is helpful for the occasional uber-pitches, like The Eldorado Coral Club at French Cattle Ranch.
Aaron Huey’s wacky 2nd version guidebook is the only published comprehensive catalogue of climbs in the canyon, but is also perhaps overpriced. A more economical option is the Ten Sleep Climbing Guide App. It’s possible to get by without either guide, as Mountain Project has most of the areas, and locals and knowledgeable visitors are always happy to show you around.
- The Eldorado Coral Club 5.10d
- I Just Do Eyes 11b
- Cocaine Rodeo 5.12a
- The Great White Behemoth 5.12b
- Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) 5.12c
Being at an elevation of about 6000 feet in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, Ten Sleep is the busiest during the summer, but can be enjoyed during Spring and Fall as well. The different aspects of the walls allows for chasing the sun or shade, depending on the season.
There is a plethora of free camping on National Forest land off of Wyoming 435 (old Route 16) that opens once the snow has melted, usually sometime in June until November. Please pack out everything (including human waste) if you stay here. There are also some newer options that recently opened such as the Ten Sleep Rock Ranch ($5/person/night).
A well with drinking water exists next to the park in the town of Ten Sleep where one can fill up water (see map). Also, many of the fee campgrounds provide water as well.
The town of Ten Sleep is small but has some good eating options. Dirty Sally’s, Ten Sleep Brewery, Crazy Woman Café, and Ten Sleep Saloon will all treat you well.
There are a few places to pay for showers nearby – The Rock Ranch, Ten Sleep Brewery, and perhaps others. If you’re headed up to Buffalo to resupply, the Town of Buffalo outdoor pool is quite impressive, free, and has showers.
If you’re headed west to Lander perhaps, you can save your shower for the town of Thermopolis which has a free hot spring bath house with a shower.
As mentioned above, the Town of Buffalo outdoor pool is worth a visit if you’re looking to laze around for a day.
The free hot springs in Thermopolis to the south of Ten Sleep / Worland are definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re driving by here anyway.
The Worland Hospital is really nice in case you hook yourself in the head while fishing in Ten Sleep. Also, fishing in Ten Sleep is nice if you are not an idiot. You can buy a one day fishing license from Meadowlark Lodge for $14.
By Tyler Wellman, James Huang