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ON ROCK! Sinks Canyon
JACKSON HOLE, WYO - As tempting as it was to ski the recently opened Beartooth Pass near Red Lodge, Mont., I recently opted for some climbing in Lander instead. It’s pretty easy to find once you get to Lander by turning at the sign and driving nine miles. The beauty of climbing in Sinks is the variety of rock and climbs. There is bouldering, trad climbs and sport climbs. The canyon is a geologic paradise as you drive through. There is sandstone down low, limestone as you drive higher and finally granite a little further up.
We decided to hang on the sandstone and limestone for the day, beginning with a grunt-fest up the classic two-pitch sandstone crack climb called “Gunky” (5.8). Mostly a trad climb with great pro, but there are a couple bolt anchors. Later, we checked out the limestone, hiking up to the Killer Cave and Scud Wall area. Pretty busy, as expected, but there is always somewhere to get away from the crowds, so we spent the rest of the day doing one-pitch, sport climbs ranging from 5.6 to 5.10 left of Killer Cave. Two favorites of the day were “Scud Alert” (5.10b) and “Stud Alert” (5.10b).
To end the day, we found it appropriate (and funny) to climb an excellent sport route with a roof called “More Funky Than Gunky” (5.9). For gear, we took a standard rack (up to 3 inch), 15 quickdraws, a clipstick and a 60-meter rope. There are fee camping options in the canyon, or free camping downtown in City Park, near food and beer. For more beta go to Wild Iris Climbing Shop in Lander, or read “Lander Rock” by Collins and White. Don’t forget about the International Climbers Festival July 10-14.