Conquerors Of The Useless – Rock Climbing In Lander, Wyoming

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Climbing and unnamed route on the Shady Side in Sinks Canyon State Park, WY.

We have had the pleasure of getting our ego’s handed to us on a rocky platter this past week in Lander, WY. We have been sluffed off countless routes, had our hands thrashed by sharp crimps, and our mental game shocked by sudden falls. This climbing trip has certainly pushed the both of us to the breaking point and yet we keep coming back for more. Sounds a little insane, right? It is, but we love it…why? I haven’t the slightest clue, but it seems we have become climbing junkies – absolutely addicted to the battle of mind, body, and rock. We can’t wait to get the next hit of adrenaline rushing through our veins as we pull a single move that will either sink our fingers into a bomber hold, or send us plummeting 20ft. Sometimes I just cling onto rock thinking “what in the world am I doing up here”?

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A morning warm up waiting for the sun to shine.

Half of the time I’m on the rock I am in love with the challenge of making fine movements and using my limited energy needed to complete my route. The other half I’m in a mental battle of overcoming the fear of taking a whipper and scaring the $#!@ out of myself. For those of you who don’t know the term “whipper”, whipper means to take a sudden, long fall off of a rock face. This trip I took a nice little 20ft fall while going to clip my rope on a move I thought I could hold. It went a little something like this – “Okay Alex, be cool you got this…you got this…dang I’m in a weird move..f f f this is sketchy!!! *POP* My foot slips while the rope is in my hand just a few inches from the clip and thats it. I free fall to a heart-stopping halt a good way from my last position on the route. So there I dangle from a rope on the side of a crag shaken to my core. As you can imagine, it was a little nerve wracking to get back on the wall with trembling hands and the thought of having to do it again. When I did finally figure out the sequence to complete that particular route and was able to sent it, I felt like a hero. A hero in my own mind because I gutted up enough to battle this giant and won. One battle down, many more to come.

Bo Handy on the send of
Our friend, Bo Handy, on the send of “Diamonds and Rain”, 5.12a. Wild Iris, WY. This photo was taken as we were on hold for evacuation as a wild fire threatening the area loomed just beyond the ridge. Not wanting to leave his gear on the wall, Bo sent this route within 5 minutes and visibly little effort.

All insanity aside this trip has taken us to a beautiful place called Wild Iris. It’s right in the middle of nowhere, just the way we like it. The air has the scent of fresh pine and drying leaves as Fall is moving in. Each breath is like a little wisp of life in its purest form. Mountains stretch past the human imagination, while the crags are right in your face. Little chipmunks scurry around gathering up their Winter’s supply of provision. There’s not much to be heard out here but the reality of what is happening around us. The world continues to turn but we stay frozen and captivated in this awesome place taking in every moment we can. So when someone asks us why we do what we do, this is why friends – climbing is about as real as it gets when you watch life and flirt with death.

Wild Iris in all of its beauty and serenity.
Wild Iris in all of its beauty and serenity.

42 thoughts on “Conquerors Of The Useless – Rock Climbing In Lander, Wyoming

  1. Rock climbing is one of the things I’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to have the opportunity to try. Do you do much repelling, too? I would think the “what am I doing up here” moment is the best part of the adventure – what are you doing? Conquering your fears and limitations, of course! Keep up the amazing adventures 🙂

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  2. I admire your passion for rock climbing, Becca and Alex. I thoroughly enjoyed reading of your adventure and how you felt with that “whipper” and getting back on the rock and continuing. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm, your photos, and your appreciation of the beautiful, scenic landscapes around you. 🙂

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