Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tracie Mitchell
Staff Writer 

Manufactured rock-climbing holds in canyon leads to investigation


July 18, 2019

TEN SLEEP – Manufactured rock-climbing holds being created in Ten Sleep Canyon has led to an investigation by the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Manufactured holds to many climbers is unethical and to many it is not, but to the USFS and BLM manufactured holds are considered damaging federal property. “It is illegal. Yes we know that it is being done. We have evidence, we have photos as part of our work with the BLM, which is also experiencing this on their lands, so we have been meeting with different agencies and, yes, we know it’s happening. It’s considered damaging a natural feature, we are investigating right now, we have law enforcement working on it right now,” Public Affairs Specialist Sara Kirol with the Bighorn National Forest stated.

BLM public spokesperson Emmett Press stated that while they haven’t seen much evidence of the practice on their lands, it appears to be funneling down to their lands so they are working with the USFS to mitigate the situation.

A letter published to Facebook by Charlie Kardaleff, Aaron Huey and JB Haab and published in the climbers magazine “Gripped” states, “Ten Sleep Canyon is getting chipped, drilled, and glued to death. It’s not a few routes, or a few holds, it is substantial manufacturing. Reports from locals are of entire crags put up over the past three seasons with heavy fabrication. We want it to stop. We think that the routes should be removed from the walls and guidebooks.”

In the "Gripped" article Ace Ashurst alleges that the person responsible for the holds is Ten Sleep Rock Ranch owner Louie Anderson. He told "Gripped" that “When Anderson was confronted about his practices by a group of climbers from around the region in a meeting he said he believed leaving difficult climbs for the next generations was ‘bulls***’ and that he believed “every route should be five stars.” He was clearly willing to go to extreme lengths of modification to reach to create ‘five-star routes.’ He and another bolter made it clear that no one could tell them how to develop and that ‘you do what you want, we do what we want,’ as though this was going to be the new normal. This is a philosophy we find unacceptable using methods that I fear are jeopardizing our relationship with the US Forest Service granting us access to climb. These practices must stop. It is the climbing community’s responsibility to end this unethical behavior before more walls are ruined.”

The Northern Wyoming News has reached out to Anderson for comment. Calls were not returned by press time.

This is part one of a series on the manufactured holds in Ten Sleep Canyon.


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