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Sinks Canyon

Select Area...
Addiction 
Brisket 
Cabin Boulders 
Camel Jockey 
Citadel, The 
Fairfield Hill 
Fallen Idol /Face Dancer + Wave/Moss Cave 
Grade II Wall 
Granite Buttres 
Happy Wheel Wall 
Hardware Wall 
Joint, The 
Killer Cave 
Purple Galaxy 
Rise wall 
Sanctuary (of Eternal Bliss and Happiness), The 
Sandstone Buttress 
Scud Area 
Squaretop boulder 
White Heat Wall 
Wilds, The 
Rest Day:
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Sinks Canyon  


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Elevation: 6,500'
Location: 42.8192, -108.783 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 281,497
Administrators: Mike Snyder, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Jesse Ryan on May 25, 2006
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You & This Area
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Sinks Canyon Panoramic taken from the overflow par...

Description 

Sinks Canyon is a premier climbing destination, plus its proximity to the Wind River range, Wild Iris, Fossil Hill, Baldwin Creek, and the NOLS headquarters make the Lander area something to check out. Maybe even over and over. If you haven't headed up there, maybe even check out the annual climbers fest (July - climbersfestival.org ), where Lander throws climbers a big 'ol party. This canyon has it all; three types of rock : limestone, granite, and sandstone; sport, bouldering, and trad; with alpine climbing just further up in the Winds.

The sandstone and granite are predominately trad while the limestone is mainly sport. The south facing cliffs of the Main walls and Fairfield Hill are sunny and warm, making the best season to climb here spring and fall. Rock quality is generally good to superb. The order of the cliffs on the main limestone wall from east to west (down to up canyon) is: Scud Wall, Killer Cave, Camel Jockey, Briskets, White Heat Wall, Addiction, The Citadel, Hardware Wall, Fallen Idol, The Moss/Wave Cave, Purple Galaxy, and the Wilds. Fairfield Hill (East, Central, and West) is further west (upcanyon). Watch out for 1) afternoon thunderstorms rolling off the Winds 2) numerous rattlesnakes and 3) locals who have 'Killer' wired.

For amenities, Lander is one of THE climber friendliest towns ever. You can camp in the grassy city park for free with a three day limit. There a three pay campgrounds ($10?) as you head up into the canyon, with the third located within walking distance of the main approach trails. These campgrounds are free September - April, which contains much of the climbing best season. A year-round free campground is located just 1/2 mile up the canyon on the left, after the Geology Camp. This has even has a bathroom and a trashcan, pretty sites, some accessible only via short 4WD types of roads or drag your gear into them. These can be popular with the local Lander teens. Theft has been more of a problem here, and somewhat at the pay campgrounds, according to local law enforcement. Lander has a decent collection of reasonable motels for 'that' kind of crowd. There are a handful of good restaurants, such as the Gannet Grill, a Chinese place, a Mexican joint and others. There are two grocery stores. There is a climbing gym for when you have been snowed out: Elemental Fitness (307-332-0480), 134 Lincoln Street. The National Outdoor Leadership School is centered in Lander at 502 Lincoln. You can get a showers at NOLS, Elemental Fitness, or the Lander pool.

Lander, Sinks and this area of Wyoming is something to cherish. Have fun, be respectful to the locals (including them feisty rattlesnakes), and pack out all trash.

Getting There 

Head to Lander (NW of Rawlins, NE of Rock Springs) and head southwest of town on Wy 131.

Crags L --> R 

Sinks Canyon is basically one long cliff band (plus a few boulders on the hillside with routes). Here is the relative position of the Sinks crags:

Far up canyon:
The Sanctuary (Granite)
The Joint (Granite)
Cabin Boulders (Granite bouldering)

Big break

Fairfield Hill

Break

The Wilds
Purple Galaxy
--> Squaretop boulder (on the hillside below the Moss Cave)
Moss/Wave Cave
Fallen Idol/Face Dancer
Hardware Wall
The Citadel
--> Wave of Mutilation Boulder (on the hillside below Addiction)
Addiction
White Heat Wall
Brisket
Happy Wheel Wall
Camel Jockey
Killer Cave
Scud Area

Big Break
Sandstone Buttress

Climbing Season



Weather station 2.6 miles from here

316 Total Routes

['4 Stars',15],['3 Stars',111],['2 Stars',119],['1 Star',57],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',6],['5.7',10],['5.8',19],['5.9',21],['5.10',62],['5.11',63],['5.12',81],['5.13',39],['>=5.14',3],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',4],['V4-5',4],['V6-7',2],['V8-9',1],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',1],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Sinks Canyon:
Gunky   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Sandstone Buttress
More Funky Than Gunky   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Camel Jockey
Duck Soup   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Scud Area
Action Candy   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Killer Cave
Stud Alert   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Scud Area
Sandman   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 70'   The Wilds
Elmo's Fish   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Killer Cave
Corner Drug   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Addiction
Harvest Moon   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Killer Cave
Face Dancer   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Fallen Idol /Face Dancer + ...
Achin' for Bootie   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   Purple Galaxy
Purple Galaxy   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Purple Galaxy
Bush Doctor   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Killer Cave
Blue Moon   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Killer Cave
Killer   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Killer Cave
Addiction   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Addiction
Nirvana   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Killer Cave
Pretty Hate Machine   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Addiction
Samsara   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Killer Cave
Endeavor to Persevere   5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Killer Cave
Browse More Classics in Sinks Canyon

Featured Route For Sinks Canyon
just before the crux

Blue Moon 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  WY : Sinks Canyon : Killer Cave
Varied climbing with a pump. Pull your way up the easy right facing flake. Yank your way onto the face via pockets. Decipher a right traveling crux and hang on to the chains. Fun climbing, good stone. For 12a it may be soft, but you might argue otherwise afterwards, at least your forearms might....[more]   Browse More Classics in WY

Photos of Sinks Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
The Popo Agie in fall.
The Popo Agie in fall.
Morning storm... Sinks Canyon.
Morning storm... Sinks Canyon.
Sunrise in Sinks Canyon.
Sunrise in Sinks Canyon.
This guy chose hanging out and pestering campers in the Sinks campground over migrating with the herd to the high country.  Ferdinand lives!
This guy chose hanging out and pestering campers i...
The Popo Agie, early morning.
The Popo Agie, early morning.
The Sinks.
The Sinks.
Looking up towards Sinks Canyon from the WMI campus after a snowstorm.
Looking up towards Sinks Canyon from the WMI campu...
A rainbow on an early fall morning in Lander, WY, just downstreem from the sinks.  Photo by Ian Wolfe
A rainbow on an early fall morning in Lander, WY, ...
Can't remember the name of this route or the name of the wall but I remember the quality of the rock.
Can't remember the name of this route or the name ...
The Popo Agie water slide offers a nice rest day diversion.
The Popo Agie water slide offers a nice rest day d...
One of the Killer Cave "locals"...
One of the Killer Cave "locals"...
Popo Agie
Popo Agie
Sinks' very fun, textured rock.
Sinks' very fun, textured rock.
No rattlers, but I thought these guys were going to jump in our car!
No rattlers, but I thought these guys were going t...
2012 ICF Poster
2012 ICF Poster
Cool buffalo boulder in the park playground.
Cool buffalo boulder in the park playground.
This year marks the 20th International Climbers' Festival, and the celebration is going to be big. We have recruited a huge line up of presenters (Tommy Caldwell, Henry Barber, Emily Harrington, Timmy O'Neil, Expedition Denali's Erica Wynn, and Cedar Wright). Our clinic schedule features top athletes like Jonathan Siegrist, Audrey Sniezek, Eric Horst, Nick Duttle and many more! Though, the biggest anticipation of all is debut of the HIstory of Lander Climbing Documentary at the festival. <div class='video-sizeLimiter'><div class='video-container'><iframe src='//player.vimeo.com/video/67092697?badge=0&byline=0&portrait=0' frameborder='0' webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe></div></div> <br /> <br /><a href='http://climbersfestival.org/tickets/' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >climbersfestival.org/tickets/</a>
This year marks the 20th International Climbers' F...

Comments on Sinks Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 7, 2013
By Dan Brockway
From: Boulder
Oct 17, 2006
Sinks now has a lot of 5.10s and even some great 8's and 9's so there is something for everybody. Climbed there last July 4th after the routes went in the shade (about 3:00 PM that time of year) and my son and I were the only people on the crag. In the shade the temperature was fine. Can't explain the lack of people but it was really a terrific day! Also don't miss the Gannett Grill.
By Matt TeNgaio
Oct 1, 2007
I've never been to Sinks when it's raining, is Killer Cave climbable in the rain?
By Dan Brockway
From: Boulder
Feb 16, 2008
Killer Cave is definitely climbable in the rain. The routes are hard though. Check the guidebook.
By Josh M.
From: Golden, CO
Sep 2, 2008
The second Forest Service campground is fantastic. If you can, snag a site on the river side, and be treated to the beautiful and crystal-clear Popo Agie. There were no rattlers when we were wandering around, mid-late Aug.
By Kyle P.
From: Lander, WY
Feb 23, 2009
Arson in Sinks Canyon. Looks like some of the main wall around the Killer Cave was burnt. The main wall's trail foliage is fried.
By Josh M.
From: Golden, CO
May 29, 2009
Just returned from a nice week at Sinks. Nice temps, 60-70F with a nice breeze. One day of solid rain and occasional drops on the sunny days.

Indeed, the fire damage is pretty extensive (arson from Feb '09, I've read). But, new growth is coming in all over, which is nice.

With due respect to punkencrack, there are snakes in the canyon. But, there's no need to panic. We came across one prairie rattler on the approach trail - s/he just slid across the trail in the middle of our party, while we gave wide berth. Just keep your eyes open, and you'll be fine. There's lots of info about them at the visitor's station down the canyon.

Regarding the availability of moderate climbs, we enjoyed a bunch of .10's. Some of our favorites:
Boy, I Gotta Go (10a), Scud Wall ; Climb Like a Girl (10a), " " ; Banofee (10a), " " ; Action Candy (10a), Killer Cave ; Firecracker Kid (10b), Harvest Moon Wall ; Elmo's Fish (10d), " " ; Child's Play (10c), " " ; Bones Brigade (10a), Happy Wheel Wall ; Happy Wheel (10a), " " ; The Guyver (10b), Brisket Wall;

... in short, there are lots of nice 10's at Sinks.

Also, the Holiday Lodge (behind the McDonald's on the hill downtown) offers showers, towels, soap, etc. for $5. Definitely nice if you've been camping for a while :)

By Derek Sullivan
Oct 29, 2009
Whats the weather like in Lander around mid/late August? Any one area better than the other as far as Ten Sleep, Sinks, Wild Iris? Any info some locals have would be great. Thanks.
By Monomaniac
Administrator
From: Morrison, CO
Oct 29, 2009
The Sinks cliffline faces South, so most routes will be baking most of the time in August. There are pockets of shade at different times of the day if you know where to look.

Wild Iris is 3000 feet higher than Sinks, so is generally a bit cooler. However, a lot of the routes at the Iris also face south & it can be hot. There is more shade at Wild Iris than Sinks though. The OK Corral & Zorro are in the shade till noon, and the Erratic is in the shade all day.

Never been to Ten Sleep but according to my guidebook it has crags of all aspects, so August is probably ok.
By Vance White
May 27, 2010
the Gravity Club no longer exists. the local climbing gym is Elemental Fitness (307-332-0480). one can also grab a shower there and throw some weights around as well. don't forget to stop by the wild iris mountain sports (307-332-4541) and check in for beta.
By Avi Katz
Sep 8, 2010
Im new to the area, but have probably spent at total of 10 days hiking and climbing around sinks and have yet to see any snakes.. Use your eyes well and stomp your feet. Wasps are definitely there. Killer Cave is climbable in the rain, if your climbing 11/12's. From everything I've seen in the book, Sinks canyon is perfect for the 5.10 sport climber. probably a total of 10-15 routes under 5.10, mostly spread out, but a decent concentration at Scud wall next to killer cave. Love the pockets, hate the heat. Best to climb after 3/4pm when it starts cooling off a little. Wild Iris is also great, but only spent 2 days there.

Anybody climb tensleep (sp?) at all?
By Vance White
Feb 16, 2011
Climbers,
Sinks Canyon lies on three different land agencies: State Park, BLM and Forest Service.
The State Park land is roughly from the Camel Jockey wall to the Stud Alert wall. State Park regulations state that dogs be on a leash. Do not let your dog(s)run wild! The State Park has posted a sign on the Killer Cave trail asking for the same. The State Park is concerned with unsupervised pets harassing climbers and wildlife; we also need to avoid shortcutting of trails and "braids" or networking off main trails. The hillside has erosion concerns as well as flora. Let's police ourselves and avoid closure of this section of the cliff band.
Local climbers are currently working with these three agencies and by self policing ourselves we should avoid closure issues. Our relationship with these agencies is great and we need to keep it as such.
Vance White
By Mike Anderson
From: Dayton, OH
Feb 20, 2011
Good to know, Vance. Thanks for the info. If you could just get SB to leash Olive that would be a good start:)
By punkencack
May 18, 2011
Well, it's Spring again, and here come (or go) the rattlesnakes again as they migrate to their nesting grounds below the rise. Each year it is the same thing . . . rumors of thousands of these buggers moving in packs of two to nine, venomous and angry . . . mostly angry at the endless onslaught of people intruding on their native habitat.

Fact #1: Be careful if you intend to climb in this area . . . dogs and children may be in danger of rattlesnake bites.

Fact #2: Only a few years ago a woman was bitten as she topped out at a ledge in the lower sandstone buttress.

Fact #3: Two years ago, snakes were seen in the Killer Cave area where dogs usually get water, one nesting under Blue Moon, a popular warm up 12a.

Fact #4: Last year, snakes sunned themselves in record numbers on the charred ground from the arson, perhaps before finishing their journey down canyon.

Who knows what will happen this year?

Lately, Sinks Canyon has enjoyed a real boon of climbers from all areas of the country (mostly Jackson Hole and Boulder). There are now as many as 48 cars parked below the cliff, overflowing both the primary and secondary lots, so foot traffic has increased.

Enjoy, but be wary . . . even Vance will tell you that the threat of rattlesnakes is very real.
By Vance White
May 30, 2011
Climbers,
Please park straight in and close to other cars in all parking lots, especially the main parking lot. Sinks season is here and poor parking really creates problems for all climbers. Ideally we should fit about 13 vehicles in the main parking lot.
Rattlesnakes!!!! Giant Bullsnakes!!!!
Thanks!
By punkencack
Jun 6, 2011
Due to parking abuse by visitors, the 13 parking spaces Mr. White references here have recently been designated "For Locals Only". The signs are to be installed very soon.

Non-local visitor parking is available further down canyon a hundred yards, near the cattle guard, or further up canyon at the Fairfield Hill parking area.

The local Climbing Ranger will ticket you if you don't have a pass to park in the right area! This is a $75 ticket, and that's the equivalent of two pitchers of beer at the Lander Bar! Save your beer money and park down the hill.
By Climbersfestival
Jun 3, 2012
climbersfestival.org/


2012 ICF Poster
2012 ICF Poster
By Climbersfestival
Jul 7, 2013
This year marks the 20th International Climbers' Festival, and the celebration is going to be big. We have recruited a huge line up of presenters (Tommy Caldwell, Henry Barber, Emily Harrington, Timmy O'Neil, Expedition Denali's Erica Wynn, and Cedar Wright). Our clinic schedule features top athletes like Jonathan Siegrist, Audrey Sniezek, Eric Horst, Nick Duttle and many more! Though, the biggest anticipation of all is debut of the HIstory of Lander Climbing Documentary at the festival. <div class='video-sizeLimiter'><div class='video-container'><iframe src='//player.vimeo.com/video/67092697?badge=0&byline=0&portrait=0' frameborder='0' webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe></div></div> <br /> <br /><a href='http://climbersfestival.org/tickets/' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >climbersfestival.org/tickets/</a>
This year marks the 20th International Climbers' Festival, and the celebration is going to be big. We have recruited a huge line up of presenters (Tommy Caldwell, Henry Barber, Emily Harrington, Timmy O'Neil, Expedition Denali's Erica Wynn, and Cedar Wright). Our clinic schedule features top athletes like Jonathan Siegrist, Audrey Sniezek, Eric Horst, Nick Duttle and many more! Though, the biggest anticipation of all is debut of the HIstory of Lander Climbing Documentary at the festival.


climbersfestival.org/tickets/