Rock climbing

Tourists go rock climbing in the region | Sports

SHERIDAN – It’s an outdoor adventure sport that takes athletes to new heights.

Climbing may have a small base in Sheridan County, but it’s a growing community throughout Wyoming. Rock climbing has recently had a boom across the world by becoming an official Olympic sport and also due to the Free Solo documentary about Alex Honnold, an American mountaineer who climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes, harnesses or the like. protective equipment.

Unlike Honnold, the Sheridan County climbing community is pushing sports safety measures. Bighorn Climbers’ Coalition President Bradford Burns says it’s essential for even experienced climbers to go with other people and let people know where you’re going, as cell phone reception is at best. patchy in the Wyoming wilderness.

Despite the low turnout from locals, many visitors seek guides for rock climbing. According to Burns, about 200 people contact Bighorn mountain guides during the summer months. The guide service cannot accommodate the large influx of people from Texas, California, Colorado and Midwestern states due to staff shortages.

Burns said tens of thousands of climbers traverse Ten Sleep each summer, but there are plenty of great options in Sheridan County for climbers, including Tongue River Canyon and Piney Creek outside of Story. There are even opportunities for beginners with a rock wall at the Tongue River Valley Community Center, and the Sheridan YMCA is also building a wall.

The Bighorn Climbers Coalition is a non-profit organization that protects and provides access to rock climbing in the Bighorn Mountain area. The coalition maintains restrooms and trash cans at Ten Sleep Canyon to mitigate and mitigate climate waste. The organization also has a fund called “The Bighorn Anchor Initiative”, which is donation driven. All funds go towards the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment to replace aging bolts and anchors to keep climbers safe.

Beginners to the sport are best suited to climbing with a professional guide, Burns said. Bighorn Mountain Guides is licensed and certified by the American Mountain Guide Association and has extensive knowledge and training in technical climbing. Burns anticipates the growth of the sport in the Sheridan area.

“I know probably 10 to 15 people who climb and only about five of those people climb regularly,” Burns said. “Every one of them, except maybe a handful, is male, white, and in their 30s. So it’s a very undiverse community that we find ourselves in, which is a shame. We would like to see that expanded and see more people climbing, more young people climbing, more old people climbing, people of different races and colors climbing in our area But right now it’s about like 15 white guys in thirties.

Rock climbing isn’t as scary as many people think, said rock climber Laine Parish.

“I think when most people think of rock climbing they think of these pretty terrifying documentaries like Free Solo. But I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that sport climbing in the county of Sheridan is incredibly safe,” said Parish. “I take the kids on many different adventures, from skiing and mountain biking to cross-country skiing and skiing. And with all my guidance, the event which has the least worry, stress and injury is sport climbing, so it’s a lot safer than people think.

justin hunter is a reporter for The Sheridan Press.