28 December 2009

Best of 2009 - "The Source" Lander Bouldering

Bouldering in Lander is very good! Wild Iris and Sinks canyon have good bouldering and Sinks in particular has a very good variety of it. The bottom of the canyon is sandstone of mixed quality, then limestone and dolomite fill in the middle of the canyon. The top of the canyon is all granite and very good smooth granite. Many people have contributed problems in the area over a very long time (in terms of bouldering time). After living in the area for two years and climbing most of what was known in Sinks Canyon I started looking farther up the canyon and up the "switch backs" that continue the road into the Wind River high country above Lander. After a few meager findings my wife suggested an old high school hang, up in the mountains where she remembered boulders.
We found so much rock on the first trip there that we loosely named the area above Sinks Canyon, The Source. The Source being the source of the good rock (granite) that finds its way into the valley below. The title refers to all the rock beyond the upper parking lot of sinks canyon (up the falls trail) and above the switch backs that lead a person out of the canyon below (Frye Lake, Worthen Meadows Reservoir, and the drainage above those bodies of water). Originaly we had only started bouldering on the rock near the lakes and reservoirs and thus created some confusion when Steve Bechtel put the location in the Lander Bouldering Guide. The fifty problems mentioned in the guide are not all in one location, rather they are spread in several different areas. All in the general area of The Source. Some people have suggested that the area of Frye Lake and Worthen Meadows Reservoir up in the high country are seperate from that of the Falls Trail below in the valley. The hill side directly under Frye Lake is a continoues boulder field all the way to the Popo Agie River and the Falls Trail. They are forever linked boulder to boulder.

Frye Lake is in the upper right of the picture while the Popo Agie River is along the bottom.
There are five seperate areas of The Source that have been bouldered at so far and much more is to be done at each one. The first is the area up river from Bruce's Picnic Grounds and the upper most parking in Sinks Canyon. The Falls Trail begins here and takes you up under the obvious Granite Buttress. Many boulders sit up the canyon from the parking lot.

Dave Nash on Rio's V5 a very good problem just off the trail.

Guili Zavaschi working on a project up the falls trail just beyond the Granite Buttress. This is a very good project that is close to going. A very hard move guards a V10 roof and hard exit.

Guili Zavaschi on a FA in 2008 along the Popo Agie River. This problem is seen from the trail on the far side of the river. Crossing the river in the fall is recommended as the river is deadly most of the rest of the year. From this problem several good problems are found up hill in the forest.

Bryan Vansickle Picture
A horse packer ignoring good blocs right off the trail.
The second area to consider in the The Source is the huge boulder field between the Popo Agie and Frye Lake. It is rarely visited but well worth the walk. The easiest way to get to the boulders is from above. Park at the lowest Frye Lake parking on the bottom end of the reservoir. Walk to the small dam and then descend into the forest diagonaling along a granite ridge of sort. A view of the hill side is the first picture on this post. Not a good place to be alone as large cats use the area and like the taste of you.

My sister looking over the Popo Agie drainage from below Frye Lake. The huge number of good boulders are below the crag she stands on.

The view below the crag of the previous picture. The upper most boulders are seen as huge lumps below the cliff band.
The third sector of the source is directly above Frye Lake along the road. I don't really have any pictures from this area yet because it is where I go when alone. It is close to road and down hill from the boulders in case something goes wrong. Most of the boulders are smaller here and a bit more spread out. Lots of good slopers!

Frye Lake with the smaller granite domes above. The road is between the lake and forest in the distance along the meadow. Park and walk into the woods up hill to find the rock.
The Fourth location to boulder in The Source is where it is listed in Steve Bechtels guide to Lander bouldering. It is the area of large granite dome just above the fork in the road. The granite is well featured and is rightly the most concentrated area of The Source. Park where the loop road continues straight and the Worthen Meadows road goes right. Currently the end of the paved road. Walk toward the large dome either heading to the left or right sides where big boulders have roled down the hill.

Unclimbed boulders above what has been climbed on the granite dome listed as The Source in the Lander Bouldering Guide.

Exit Stage Right Area on the left bottom side of the granite dome.
Exit Stage Right Area
The Fifth and final area that has been climbed at at The Source is the Worthen Meadows Reservoir Area. It is the original area that was developed for bouldering. Many of the boulders are directly off the road at the reservoir proper whle many that were found later are a ways off the road. A short walk provides many good boulders. There is a ton to climb here and camping is good. The boulders directly off the road are easy to find. The rock off the road is varied and hard to find in some cases. Some of the rock is along the drainage, above the reservoir. Be careful crossing the creek in the early season. Also, beware of the cats here.

 Myself on the first ascent of Cobwebs and Water V7 along the drainage above Worthen Meadows Reservoir.

 A beautiful project near Cobwebs and Water

 Some boulders up the drainage from Worthen Meadows Reservoir

 Dave Nash back in the day, on the second ascent of Viskers V6. This classic problem is next to Worthen Meadows Reservoir at the parking area for the reservoir. Look for the sign that explains the reservoir. Many boulders are behind the sign on the shore of the reservoir.


  1. Awesome Davin, thanks! I can't wait for spring. Until then, I'll check out winter conditions at Torrey Valley, and keep exploring Sinks. I hope you had a great Christmas. We're having a good time.

  2. Sounds good David. Let me know when you go up to Torrey. Would be happy to give you the info for the boulders there.

  3. Thanks for the information.

    I'm in Fort Collins. If you want a tour hit me up.