Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ten Sleep!

This may be "the Mill Creek Report" but since a road trip took several of us, including Dane, Tim, Gray and Ken, away from witnessing or creating Mill Creek news, it seems appropriate to report on our travels.

Ten Sleep, Wyoming has certainly hit the international climbing radar the last couple of years, especially after elite climber James Litz blasted through in 2009, establishing a number of 5.14s. Full time sponsored climbers Alli Rainey and Kevin Wilkinson live there. Pro climbers Joe Kinder and Colette McInerney spent this summer climbing and establishing more hard routes. Jon Siegrist swung through on his summer road trip. And the Climbing Narc even stopped on his and Mrs. Narc's vacation to Yellowstone and Glacier.

Several of our local crew, among them Scotty, Levi and Kyle, also traveled to Ten Sleep this summer. Counting this last trip to meet up with us, Scotty's been there three times. Yeah, the place is that good.

Crux Mono on Cocaine Rodeo 12a

The canyon is oriented roughly north-south and the vast majority of climbs are located on the east-facing rock. On hot, August days, the routes begin entering the shade precisely at 1:30pm. Temperatures were in the upper 90s and triple-digits down in the flatland, but in the canyon we climbed in super comfort, always in the shade, often wearing a light jacket and hat while belaying.

School's Out 10d - First day, first climb

For morning climbing on hot days, there's the amazing Wall of Denial - Ice Plant. This sector features ice caves hidden inside deep chimneys. To belay at some climbs, you need full autumn garb to endure the (literally) freezing air that flows out of the chimneys. This canyon is a crazy natural phenomenon with the added bonus of dozens of great routes from sub-5.10 to 5.12.

Dane - Wagon Wheel of Death 11c

Ten Sleep climbs ascend Big Horn Dolomite. We found it very kind to our hands. We were able to climb 5 days in a row, and only on the last day did we start to feel some tenderness in our fingertips, and that was due to projecting a 5.12b on one of the more crimpy walls in the Shinto sector. This was climbing more reminiscent of Rattler. The rest of the climbing is quite diverse, with an emphasis on pockets, but not in the same way as Wild Iris or Sinks -- meaning, don't be put off it you aren't a pocket crusher.

Scott Parker - Mr. 8a to you

It's hard to single out individual routes. Basically, everything is so good. Just head up to a sector and start climbing. The routes are safely bolted (you need zero gear at Ten Sleep, only draws) and offer the entire spectrum of grades. Camping is free in primitive sites in the canyon. The town of Ten Sleep is close with good eats, drinks and free water at the Lyons Club park. Don't miss the new bakery and espresso bar with wireless internet. It opened just 2-1/2 months ago and features excellent lattes and amazing homemade bagels.

Gray - Sending 5.11 with GT style

The distance is right at 500 miles from Missoula. We left Thursday after work and spent the night in a free fishing access campground in Columbus next to the Yellowstone river. We drove the rest of the way on Friday and were climbing by noon even with a breakfast stop at a restaurant in the tidy little town of Cowley, WY.

Ten Sleep -- go climb there! We definitely will many more times.

Tim - About 12 bolts to go on a sweet 5.11

Gunner Livin' the Life