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Shell Canyon

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Shell Canyon  

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Administrators: Mike Snyder, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Trevor Bowman on Jan 3, 2008
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On the west flank of the Bighorns, Highway 14 cuts through this scenic canyon with its massive dolomite escarpments and deep granite gorge. Shell Creek cleaves through the red granite, forming a tight canyon with walls several hundred feet tall in spots. Access into this chasm is limited to the occasional break in the cliffs, or by rapping in and climbing out.

Apparently, there have been a decent amount of rock routes established on the granite, but the cracks are reportedly rather dirty and unappealing. To my knowledge, there are no published sources of information on these routes.

There are also several ice climbs scattered throughout the canyon. Some of these have been frequented for decades, while others are only recently seeing activity. Again, there is no published source of info, so this is currently the best beta available. The climbing history of the area is sparse; I'm trying to investigate this history more thoroughly, and if anyone else has info please contribute it here!

Getting There 

From the tiny town of Shell at the western foot of the Bighorns, drive up Highway 14 into the canyon. Or, drop into the canyon from above, by driving across the mountains on 14 from Ranchester/Dayton on the east side.

Climbing Season

Weather station 19.6 miles from here

24 Total Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Shell Canyon:
Post Creek Falls   WI3-     Ice, 3 pitches, 220'   Post Creek
Skinny Sister   WI3+     Ice, 1 pitch, 80'   Post Creek
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Featured Route For Shell Canyon
The route with belays marked, as seen from Highway...

Workin' on Leavin' the Livin' WI4+ M5 R  WY : Shell Canyon : Central Gorge
Easily the canyon's most spectacular line, but also it's most rarely formed in my experience....I've climbed in the canyon off an on for six seasons and never seen a hint of ice on this thing other than in the 09/10 season; it seems that the necessary combination of high groundwater from a wet fall and the extended cold and snow throughout the winter combined to give it life. Although this is just my hypothesis, as there is no major drainage above the climb, and it managed to withstand...[more]   Browse More Classics in WY

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