Bridge Bands and East Bridge Bands are a continuation of an outcropping of dolomite high on the south face of Rattlesnake Mountain, overlooking the Shoshone River. Most of these routes are 5-7 bolts. The lower section of the cliff is more of a slab with the upper half coming in close to vertical. Bisecting the two halves is a ledge, wide enough for walking. The rock can be sharp and crumbly, tearing at shoes and fingers and breaking off when you least expect it.
What Makes It Great
Anyone wanting to experience old school routes will enjoy the Bridge Bands. This area is generally quiet as most climbers favor other walls. It’s a great shoulder season spot with some good sun in the short afternoons of late fall and spring.
Meeteetse Chicks is a solid 5.11 route that starts as a thin slab and is a 7 bolt route. It can feel precarious at times. Fossil Crack is a 5.12C, 4 bolt techy climb. Trust your feet.
It’s hard to believe that this part of Wyoming once resembled coastal Florida. The dolomite of the Bridge Bands was formed from the contents of a warm, shallow sea that once stretched from Canada to Mexico, just a few eons ago. If you look hard enough you might even see the fossils of sea creatures.
Who is Going to Love It
If getting away from the crowds is your idea of fun, Bridge Bands is calling. Some great classic climbs are tucked in these cliffs, but most climbers are heeding the siren call of newer areas. Bridge Bands has decent access, less than 10 minutes from town and a little over five minutes walk from the car. Lots of sun makes for a great cool day climb.
The view from the area is spectacular. The Shoshone Canyon stretches out below you with the river pushing through its boulder strewn channel and towering above you the steep walls of jumbled granite, volcanics, sandstone and limestone. Bridge Bands is visible from the highway so you might have folks pulling over to watch your prowess.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Cody, take US HWY 14/16/20 west about 5 miles, just past the tall bridge over the Shoshone River. Immediately after the bridge turn right into the parking area. There’s a trail that goes up the slope to the base of the Bridge Bands. You’ll have to do a little scree hopping on this approach.
If the wind decides to kick up through the canyon, you might as well go home, otherwise you’ll get sandblasted by dirt. In mid-summer the intense sun will bake you off the rock. Watch for rattlesnakes and woodrats in the pockets of the cliff. Remember, there’s no water here so bring plenty. The nearest bathroom is back in town. Leashed pets are permitted, but it’s just not a good place for them due to the lack of shade and the steepness of the slope.