Wind River Range

Nothing says “wilderness” like a trip to the Wind River Range. Even the drive from nearby Boulder involves 30-plus miles on dirt roads to get to the remote trailhead. The nearest popular climbing is a 4-mile approach or 8 miles to the Cirque of the Towers. Even though the popularity of this area continues to grow for climbers, the feeling of wilderness is still remarkable here. The nature of the climbing here is alpine and adventurous and not for newer climbers. If going to the Cirque of the Towers, you need to have backpacking, camping and navigation skills.

You’ll also need alpine climbing knowledge to ensure you can escape the impending afternoon thunderstorm with speed, efficiency and confidence in your route finding and system implementation.

Wyoming rock climbing
Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range in one of Wyoming’s best locations for remote, wilderness climbing.

Cirque of the Towers is the main draw for alpine climbing routes

The Cirque of the Towers is the main attraction here even though Haystack Mountain near Deep Lake is only 4 miles from the trailhead, boasting amazing climbing such as Minor Dihedral (5.9) and Southern Wall Left (5.10c) at Big Sandy. With an 8-mile approach and sometimes faint trail over mountain terrain, the Cirque is remote and real. Come prepared for alpine-rock conditions, especially arriving early season (before mid-July) when snow can still be expected in decent gullies on north-facing aspects. Rockfall is a real hazard here and all of the tactics of alpine climbing should be taken into consideration. That said, the rock here is generally quite amazing!

Routes like the Northeast Buttress on Pingora, East Ridge of Wolf’s Head, North Face of Mitchell Peak, and Black Elk on Warbonnet are some of the biggest draws here. The Mountain Project documented climbing routes in Wind River Range for more detailed information.

Tips for navigating wildlife and rest days when climbing at Wind River Range

Marmots and sometimes bears are an issue here and care should be taken in dealing with your food. I highly recommend bringing an Ursack on your trip to store your food. Be sure to treat your water as with increased impact, the water cannot be guaranteed to be clean enough to consume unfiltered.

You shouldn’t miss the International Climbers Festival. Occurring every July, this festival is a stewardship, mentorship and social gathering of climbers of all stripes from all over the world. One of the longest lasting climbing festivals in the country, the ICF is a gathering to not be missed by any climber!

About the author

Cody Bradford

Cody Bradford

AMGA Certified Rock Guide and 57hours Ambassador

Cody began his guiding career with the North Carolina Outward Bound School in 2012 where he received his AMGA Single Pitch Instructor certification in November 2012. Cody gained his AMGA Rock Guide Certification in April 2018. Follow him on Instagram @thecodybradford to see #TechTipTuesday where each week he demonstrates a skill or technique to make your climbing more efficient and fun.

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