“Wild Iris, Wyoming” the cover of the January, 2018 issue of Rock and Ice reads. Surrounding the words are familiar names—climbing route names I’ve read in the local climbing guide book, heard floating on the breeze in the Lander Bar, seen conquered by friends in Instagram posts.
Though, perhaps unbelievably, I call Lander home and am not an avid rock climber, I know the scene. And I love that Wild Iris climbing area is part of what Wind River Country offers. And I have pulled hard on rock a few times over the years.
So when “Wind and Rattlesnakes” and “Throwin’ the Houlihan” (names of well-loved climbs) stared out at me from the cover of a major publication, I couldn’t wait to tear it open.
The Wind River Visitors Council partnered with Central Wyoming College, which has a remarkable outdoor education leadership program, to host the magazine’s annual photo camp this fall. CWC was a natural pairing, as its Sinks Canyon Center is situated at the base of a second world-class rock climbing destination in Wind River Country: Sinks Canyon.
CWC graciously hosted the 15 photographers and athletes for nearly a week as they explored Wild Iris just off of Highway 28. And any student who wishes to spend more than a few days learning amongst the wild rocks of Wind River Country will find it in CWC’s two-year program.
The Rock and Ice photo essay—14 pages of it—is a stunning example of more reasons Wind River Country attracts students of CWC and students of life, alike: a local microbrewery, expansive public lands, an outdoorsy community with a cult-like climbing contingent, a small town with rich history, and an artistic downtown.
“The new Wild West,” as Rock and Ice calls it, awaits. It even, as the opening sentence states, “may surpass the hype” as one of the most beautiful climbing areas in America.
How long will you stay, play, and learn in Wind River Country?