Category Archives: Ten Sleep

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Log Entry 24 – Ten Sleep

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Today is my last day in Ten Sleep. I went with Wendy and group to the Valhalla wall and did a 10a warm up by the rock known as Darth Vader.

We climbed several harder 10s that were a blast. We then headed to a more difficult 11b called Mr Poopy Pants.


With 11b being well above my onsight grade, I didn’t really have much expectations other than fun. I did get up through the dihedral section without much trouble, but then I hit the roof. Overhangs always kill me. After several attempts and rests, my partners on the ground coached me on some good footwork technique for this type of climbing. I pulled through the overhang, but the rest of the way up was a struggle. I am very glad to have made it to the top though.


Log Entry 23 – Ten Sleep

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Today Mark and Abby were celebrating their anniversary, so it was best if I didn’t climb with them. Glenna and Earl suggested I talked to a group of ladies camping down the road. They said they are old time friends and were nice people. So I joined up with Wendy, Drew, and Demetria.


We went to the lower part of the canyon in an area called “The Ice Plant”. There is a huge crack in the rock and a frigid blast blows through it. Very refreshing on a hot Wyoming day. We started off on some awesome 10s and then split up. Drew and I went to a classic 10c while Wendy and Demetria went farther up the canyon. I have not sent a 10c yet, but I hopped on the lead. Close to the top my feet popped off the rock and I was within a foot of hitting a ledge. Drew was watching me closely and took in the slack as I fell. A good belay saves the day.


Once we were done with that route we went to find the other part of the group. On the way, part of the trail gave away and I took a bit of a tumble. Through a cactus of course. Eventually we found Demetria and Wendy on a sweet 10c. I followed a slightly overhanging dihedral crack up 30-something meters. A long haul and it used every bit of the rope. Being long limbed, I love stemming dihedrals. I lead up and as is my habit, I went off route at the last bolt. I had made a big move out from the crack to the face of the arete. A mistake that could not be reversed. So I had to swing on the rope back to the route. There goes my chance to onsight a 10c.

After a break, I tried an 11a. I made pretty good progress but not a send. If I had time to really work at it, I think I could get it. But I don’t have time. So afterwards I got on a 10. I was completely bushed at this point and took a pretty good whipper on it as I was trying to clip a bolt. With nothing more to give, I ended my climbing day.



Log Entry 22 – Ten Sleep

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I was climbing with Mark, Abby, Ellen, Earl, and Glenna again today. We are forming a sizable climbing party. I tried a pumpy 11a that I might be able to get if I projected it. But it was only a warm up for everyone else. Abby’s project has been The Great White Behemoth, one of the more famous routes at Ten Sleep. And for good reason too; it is very impressive. After a couple days of working out the moves, she finally got a redpoint! It was very inspiring to watch the progression of going from bolt-to-bolt, to getting a clean send. Once she sent that, Mark went over to the route he was working on and sent that too! They say that often when one of the sends, the other gets so excited that they send too.


With Mark working on his next project, I went climbing with Dan (another dirt bagger) for a bit. We did another Ten Sleep classic that has seen perhaps too much traffic. The beginning holds were very worn down and felt a little glassy. Dan then went to do an impressive 11 that pulled through a tough roof. As we were packing up our gear, I found out that Dan just graduated from studying geology. An impromptu geo lesson later, and I had learned about the formation of the rock we were climbing on. Learning new stuff is always so fun.


Thursday: Mandatory and unplanned rest day today. Last night as I was driving to camp, I got a flat tire. No big deal, just jack it up, take off the old one and put on the spare. Except it was a big deal. The old tire had rusted onto the hub. I worked at it for an hour and half (and bent my tire iron) and decided that it was beyond my skill. It just so happened that I was on a rough dirt road in the middle of a canyon without cell signal. So getting help meant walking. Fortunately there was a camp not too far up the road. They gave me a lift up to Abby/Mark/Ellen/Glenna/Earl’s campsite and we discussed how to get it off. But any action would need to wait for daylight.


In the morning we went down to my car and got out the blowtorch. After a bit of heat and a big smash of a rock, the tire came loose. (Using fire and a big rock felt very caveman-ish) I drove to the “city” (Worland has a population of 5k) to get my tire patched up. While I was in town I did some work and grocery shopping. No climbing today.


Log Entry 21 – Kathy Karlo

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I was only climbing with Kathy for two days, but that was enough to see that she is an amazing person. Only been climbing for 4 years, but she crushes 12s and isn’t afraid of 13s. At the end of the day, she was “cooling down” on a 12 and saw a 14 next door and was saying how she would want to try it. In short: a very strong climber.


But her strength is not limited to her muscles. Her determination and will is inspiring. She quit her job as a nanny and started to live on the road since November. And she runs a nanny placement business. Oh, and she runs a blog that has received notable attention from some big names.

At first I was a little worried about climbing with someone so high above my grade. She proved those fears to be unfounded. She was excited for me whether I sent a 9, or or just got part way up an 11. Climbing with her really contributed to my motto of “any time on the rock is a good time.”

The 11b I would never have tried if not gently pushed

The 11b I would never have tried if not gently pushed

While I didn’t feel out of place climbing with her, she did push me farther than I would have pushed myself. I wouldn’t have lead my first 10b, followed (with a take) an 11b through a roof, or have gotten 3/4 of the way up a 12a (that I will return to someday and send).

I am very grateful to spend a bit of time climbing with Kathy.



Log Entry 20 – Ten Sleep

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Matt and Kathy took off this morning. Matt’s next stop is Yellowstone and Kathy is going to Vedauwoo. She mentioned that she will be in Squamish in July, so perhaps we will meet up there. Before she drove off, she connected me with Mark and Abby so I would have climbing partners for the day.


Mark and Abby project at 5.12+ and were warming up on stuff that is beyond my onsight. Following on hard routes is a great way to learn. The next day when I was climbing with them again, they were starting out on a 10b that I tried on lead and sent it! A very fun route. I then lead up a 10d but didn’t get a clean send. It appeared to be vertical, but it was actually overhanging a bit at portions. Even though Mark and Abby climb much harder than I do, they were extremely patient and encouraging with me. It is always cool to have your belayer invested in your climb.

We met up with Ellen, a friend of Mark and Abby. Everything about her was very impressive. She was a bit short, but very strong, has sent some 5.14 projects, and is the most analytical climber I have seen. Watching her climb was amazing.


The chain of friends continued when Ellen introduced me to Earl and Glenna, friends of hers that teach outdoor courses like wilderness first aid, whitewater kayaking, and mountain sports. Glenna climbed just a bit above my grade, but Earl was a solid 12 climber.

Hanging with advanced climbers is very interested. I got to see gear that is not on the market yet (they were using prototype versions), study their technique, receive lessons on the art of belay, and hear their tips and tricks. I might not be getting in a whole lot of sends, but the education is awesome.



Log Entry 19 – Ten Sleep

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Today we went to the Word Domination Wall where Matt and Kathy were warming up on an 11b. I followed and actually made it pretty far. The roof killed me though. I am terrible at overhangs. After a rest, I pulled through and made it to the top. The pump was strong on that route.

Mark on "Weight of the World"

Mark on “Weight of the World”

We met up with Abby and Mark, two of Kathy’s friends from Colorado. They were climbing a sweet looking 12a while Matt and Kathy were doing another 12a close by. I lead a 5.10b route called Thor and lead it onsight! I nearly did not go for it until Kathy urged me to at least give it a try. Climbing with more experienced climbers is great because they push you farther.

Photo Credit: Kathy Karlo

Photo Credit: Kathy Karlo

Our little group went over to the 12a Abby and Mark were doing and roped up. The more experienced climbers onsighted it and did a beautiful job. I wasn’t even going to try but Kathy once again gave me the little push I needed. Following on toprope I made it three fourths of the way up the route until I fell. At the overhang of course. I am really really bad at those. Even though I didn’t send the route, I still had a blast. This is a climb I want to come back for when I am a better climber.

Dan on "The Great White Behemoth"

Dan on “The Great White Behemoth”


Log Entry 18 – Ten Sleep

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I arrived in Ten Sleep Wyoming this morning. I didn’t have any climbing partners lined up yet, so I was a little unsure about what to do. I headed down to one of the climber hubs in town and there was only one couple there. It turns out they were on their honeymoon, so they were not a climbing partner option. I started to drive down The Old Road (another climber hub) and there sitting on the side of the road was Matt from France!


Matt was climbing with Kathy (from and they were just about to meet up with two of her friends, Thomas and Karis. So we headed off to the Supererratic Wall. I was a little nervous because everyone I was with was a much better climber than myself. One week ago the best I had followed was a 5.9. These people were warming up on hard 11s. But they were all very welcoming and patient with me. I mostly followed (or tried to follow) the routes they did. Though I did have a chance to lead a really nice 5.8 called Macaroni. Matt and Kathy were ending the day on a 5.12d.