Along Highway 14, the northern of two high-country passes which cross the Big Horn Mountains east-to-west, are exposed sections of Big Horn Dolomite that has weathered over the eons into surreal spires. The rock is highly featured, but is crumbly and requires caution. Most of the spires offer relatively easy free-climbs to their summits, but protection is often scarce or untrustworthy. However, the pinnacles are aesthetic and should be appealing to all those tower junkies out there.
This is a prime summer venue, as the towers lie between 9000'-9500' and remain cool during the heat of the summer. However, thunderstorms are a common occurrence up here, so be prepared! The principle concern is the clay composition of the dirt roads accessing the outcroppings. When wet, these roads become treacherously slick...avoid this area if it's rained recently or is forecasted to.
4WD roads (generally passable for most vehicles) pass within close proximity to most of these outcroppings, making approaches minimal. The setting is gorgeous--rolling high-mountain meadows with nobody around. Ultimately, only a perverse few will be attracted to these spires, their redeeming quality lies not in worthwhile climbing, but in the ambiance and adventure to be enjoyed up here in another slice of Wyoming's high lonesome... Star ratings for these climbs are relative to this area only! They're all choss, but certain ones will appeal to choss connoisseurs more than others...enjoy!
Highway 14 is a major, year-round highway running across the northern Big Horns between the tiny towns of Dayton (east side) and Shell (west side). The different pinnacle groups are found along various Forest Service dirt roads branching off of Highway 14. Specific approach directions will be listed in each area overview.
The showpiece pinnacle of the Bear Rocks, this 80’ freestanding spire is readily visible from Highway 14. Start on the uphill side, where a faint trail runs adjacent to the base. Boulder up an arete diagonal cracks and a bulge; from the sloping ledge surmount the crux crack through the upper bulge and into easier terrain to the top....[more]Browse More Classics in WY