Wild Iris Wyoming Climbing, Trip Report

Wild Iris As you know from previous posts, we purchased an RV for our summer travels.  In mid June, we took that show on the road for a two week trip across country, from Pennsylvania to Wyoming. The trip took around 48 hours, with one overnight rest, and a brief stint in Cheyenne with a flat tire.  Our original goal was to stop at the Sierra Trading Post store, but by the time our flat tire issues were resolved, the store was unfortunately closed.

Wild Iris vs. Tensleep or Sinks Canyon

In our trip planning process, we spoke with friends who have climbed in Wyoming extensively.  Their advice for a kid friendly sport climbing area was to start at Wild Iris.  Other (somewhat close) crags include Sinks Canyon and Tensleep – both of which have exceptional climbing options, but both have a harder approach.  In addition, Sinks Canyon is known to be less of a summertime destination, with hotter temps and a higher likelihood of rattlesnakes so we started with Wild Iris and decided that we would try Sinks if we had time.  Turned out that Wild Iris kept us quite busy!

We camped at Twin Pines Campground, a nice family run campground a few miles south of Lander, Wyoming.  Twin Pines wasn’t a climber’s hang out (though they did have tent and rv options), but they had great bathroom facilities (with lots of hot water) and it was the closest campground (that we knew of) to the Wild Iris climbing.  Wild Iris itself had rustic camping options (and an outdoor/open pit toilet) with no running water. The campsites at Wild Iris were extremely nice for those interested in the more rustic and cliff side camping option.  Wild Iris has a few options for climbing walls/areas.  For the most recent list of climbs, access, and area information, we used the Lander Wyoming climbing guide, Lander Rock Climbs.  If you are looking for the Lander climber hang out, look no further than the Lander Bar/Gannett Grill – a local bar/grill with relaxing outdoor seating and some great home brews from the Lander Brewing Company.

OK Corral at Wild Iris

We started with the most accessible part of the Wild Iris crags – the OK Corral area.  The OK Corral is a short walk from the truck and offered a large number of moderate climbs in a dense area.  The approach was a short hike and the base of the climbs were mostly child friendly (though toddlers would likely need some off belay supervision given the uneven rock and the potential for a short roll down the somewhat uneven terrain).  Our kids were excited to find makeshift shelters for playing, and after a quick stability check and snake check they were free to hang out inside the makeshift shelters that were found within every cluster of routes.  

Our day one adventures introduced us to the vertical limestone walls of Wild Iris at the Blooming Rose Wall. We warmed up on a “eh” 5.9 called “Iron Horse with a twisted heart” and then went up a nice 10b called “Stacked Deck”.  The climbs had some great lines and nice solid holds, though it took some getting used to the limestone as it was a bit less textured and a bit more polished than we were used to.  We set up a toprope for the kids inside of a crack, (“Phat Phinger Phrenzy”) but the odd stemming left our four year old struggling to reach, so she didn’t make it too far up.

After a packed lunch, and a small detour while we helped search for a missing 11 year old (she was located after a few hours, so all’s well) – we hopped on Red Rider – a super classic 5.10a.   Big holds whenever you wanted made the climb a fun one, up an arete and with pretty vertical climbing.

On day two, we hit OK Corral again, this time for a run up “Claim Jumper” (10c three star)after the 5.9 warm up on the arete to the right (“Annie Get your drill”.  Claim Jumper had a lieback flake that Ryan made quick work of, but I couldn’t get the hang of pushing off the wall to the right, and leaning left. By this time the kids had had enough of the climbing, forts, and playing outdoor imaginary games – and the windy weather was a bit much for us all so we headed back to home base.

NOTE: the Wild Iris area tends to be a good 5-10 degrees cooler than Lander.  Bring extra clothes because the temperature varies greatly based on the wind.

Wild Iris for kids

There wasn’t much in the under 5.8 range for kids to climb on, and given that ours are 4 and 6, that limited their options for getting on the wall at Ok Corral.  The forts, though, made the area an exciting adventure.  The short approaches made it accessible, and the shade gave them relief on the sunnier days.  While rattlesnakes are reported to be seen in the area, we didn’t see any, though we did see a deer or caribou on our hike one day.

All in all, OK Corral would work for kids of all ages, though some landing areas would require more supervision than others.  I’d say that 3 plus would have no problems, as long as you do a snake check first and they aren’t prone to wandering off.





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About Laura Boniello Miller

Laura Miller is a internet marketing professional and a mother of two. Her interests include sport climbing, bouldering, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She believes that playing outdoors is integral to health and well being, and that if your kids aren't dirty, they haven't had enough fun.