Sinks Canyon - Climbing

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Summary

Sinks Canyon is great for short climbing sessions, or for whole day outings.

Written by

Jeremy Rowan

Destination Distance From Downtown

7.1 miles

Difficulty

4 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hour to as long as you want

Land Website

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Review

Sinks Canyon is a unique natural wonder located southwest of Lander, Wyoming. The mouth of the canyon is approximately 6 miles from downtown Lander and the paved highway winds another 4.5 miles up canyon along the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie (Poe-Poe-Zhuh) River and then switchbacks out of the canyon above Bruce's Parking and into the forest above along the 28 mile long "Loop Road". While traveling up canyon travelers pass sandstone cliffs and "The Rise", where the Middle Fork re-emerges from its travels underground. The sandstone strata gives way to the older Madison limestone and Bighorn Dolomite strata, and it is in a cavern carved out of the Madison limestone that the entire Middle Fork River "sinks" into the ground and disappears from view. This river devouring cavern is the namesake for the canyon. The road winds up and the Bighorn Dolomite formation comes into view to the north. I think it is safe to say Lander sport climbing started on this section of cliff that we now call Sinks Main Wall. Further up the road, granite boulders come into view on the grassy hillsides to the north. They are mostly quite small and the few large enough for bouldering are spread out across the hillside. The boulders one can see on the hillside are collectively known as the Fairfield hill granite. To access these boulders, park at the Pete's Lake Trailhead a couple hundred yards up the Fairfield hill road and walk west across the hill to reach the higher boulders. Alternatively, it is acceptable to park off the shoulder of the paved road just before the Forest Service Work Center building and walk up the hill. Parking for the Bruce's Picnic area boulders is in Bruce's picnic area. The Cabin boulders and Middle Fork trail boulders can be accessed from the large Bruce's Parking area just before the road heads up the switchbacks. It is possible to boulder on Fairfield hill in the colder months. The Cabin boulders, being in the trees, are only climbable when they aren't buried in snow. For bouldering on Fairfield hill, park at Pete's Lake Trailhead or off shoulder of road before the Forest Service Work Center. For Bruce's Picnic area boulders, park in Bruce's Picnic area. To access the Cabin boulders or the Middle Fork Trail boulders, park in Bruce's Parking area. Bring water and your bouldering gear. Brush chalk and tick marks off boulders. On Fairfield hill be on the lookout for rattlesnakes and poison ivy. Along the Middle Fork trail and in the Cabin Boulders be aware Moose use the area. Bears have been spotted in the area and Mountain Lions are native to the canyon as well.

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Location

Sinks Canyon Bouldering

Lander, WY, 82520
42.747279, -108.81207

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