Wyoming Has a Rich History of Climbing

Devils Tower, The Tetons, Tensleep, Wild Iris, Fremont Canyon, Story, Cody, The Wind Rivers, The Bighorns, Fremont Canyon, Casper, Laramie, the list goes on. Wyoming is full of climbing. The geology and formations in our landscape have been luring adventurers towards summits for many years. Add to that the breath taking beauty of wide open vistas, incredible sunsets, a Wild West feel, and countless Pronghorn Antelope bounding across the plains and it becomes easy to understand why so many cant resist. We dont expect that to change any time soon. 

Early Expeditions

Who could resist the Grand Teton? Or the Call of the big granite peaks of the Wind Rivers? The first recorded climb of the Grand Teton is purported to be 1872. Although not born here, Henry Gannett is the reason we have modern topographic maps, was one of the founders of the National Geographic Society, and has a famous WY peak named after him in honor of his work. Wyoming had an official climbing club as early as 1958. 

Read about Paul Petzoldt as the youngest person, age 16, to summit the Grand Teton in 1924. Wikipedia.

Grand Teton

Climbing the 13,770 ft Grand Teton remains a rite of passage for mountaineers. Read more about its first ascent and history of subsequent ascents here courtesy of Climbing Magazine.

Devils Tower

The First Ascent of Devils Tower is reported to be completed by William Rogers and W.L. Ripley via a wooden ladder, July 4, 1893. First technical climbing ascent by Fritz Wiessner, Lawrence Coveney, and William P. House, June 28, 1937. Read more about it courtesy of ThoughtCo.

In 1956 the American Alpine Club and the Wyoming Mountaineers celebrated the 50th anniversary of Devils Tower as a National Monument by facilitating 81 ascents and demonstrating to the public that climbing can be done safely if you have the right knowledge and equipment. Read more about it courtesy of the American Alpine Club and journal entries from Walt Bailey.

Climb the Route "Walt Bailey" on Devils Tower. Put up by the Casper College Climbing Club in 1959. See Mountain Project for more.

Read about Frank Sanders and the Devil's Tower Lodge. Climbing.com

Bighorns/Cloud Peak Wilderness

Fred Beckey writes about climbing in the Bighorns in the 60's. American Alpine Journal

Read various articles that cover the history of climbing to present day ascents. American Alpine Journal

Get a Bonney Guide and find out more about the Bighorns here.


Walt Baily, founder of the Wyoming Mountaineers club was a professor at Casper college. You can access a record of his in-state and out of state adventures from the 1950s' here. Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Online Archive.

Read about the North American Andean Expedition and Walt Bailey's death. American Alpine Journal

More recent first ascents in Cloud Peak Wilderness. Climbing.com

Wind River Range

Monolith Cirque. First ascent by Fred Beckey. Read more about it courtesy of the American Alpine Journal

Cirque Traverse by Royal Robbins 1965. American Alpine Journal

Birth of Sport Climbing

Lander Area

Todd Skinner

Article and Film, "Wind and Rattle Snakes" about the history and the characters involved with developing Lander Area Climbing. Film: Kyle Duba

Climbing feature on the world class sport climbing in Lander

Paul Piana. Sit down with the Enormocast and listen to history.

Todd Skinner: The Renegade by Rock and Ice


A brief history and some things you might not know about Tensleep. Climbing. com

Fremont Canyon

Micah Rush. Climbing.com