This year, our summer road trip ended with a stop ino Ten Sleep, Wyoming over the Fourth of July. We’ve spent the last few Fourth of July’s in Ten Sleep, yet somehow we had no idea that there was an annual Ten Sleep Climbing Festival that goes on every year. #climberfail.
So, after a super fun day of limestone climbing, we headed to the Ten Sleep Brewing Co., where the event was being held, to see what the fuss was about.
We arrived shortly after it began, and the parking lot was more than halfway full. There were tents set up all over the grounds, as well as the super fun stupid human tricks that climbers crave. Ten Sleep has a population of almost 300 people, so it gets a little bit crazy when 500 climbers show up for the weekend and all head to the same location.
Christian and I have attended other climbing events in the past, but this was a little more low key. When we went to the New River Rendezvous years ago, we paid for a ticket, and had access to free beer, snacks, a ton of swag and more than enough crazy climber antics to fill an entire weekend. This wasn’t quite like that. The crowds were much calmer, the giveaways much less organized and the atmosphere was much more relaxed. You also had to pay for beer. What?
We opted to leave Savannah in the car (the sun was going down and it was about 72 degrees and dropping). We knew there would be a ton of dogs there and she was already pretty stressed out. It seems she wasn’t the only one as almost every dog we saw was terrified of the crowds. There was a lot of lick lipping, eyes popping out of their head and hiding between their people’s legs. Climbers, I know you love your dog… I know you like to bring them with you. I do too! But please, either take the time to train your dog that everything is okay at these crazy events, or leave them in the car/at home/anywhere other than hiding between your legs as strangers stomp around drunk and five year olds set off fireworks 20 feet from you. And don’t get upset when your dog won’t listen. They’re freaking out. You’re essentially asking them to do math while there’s a gun pointed out their head.
There were a ton of food trucks, with delicious pizza and bbq options, swag from Black Diamond, Prana and Scarpa, among a few others. There were pull up contests, rope coiling contests and partner games. Climber entertainment at it’s best.
Christian actually almost won a new rope in the coiling contest. We had originally only planned to stay for two hours, but he beat the fastest time by almost 12 seconds pretty early in the night. So, we waited and waited, and waited to collect his rope. The festival ran from 7-10, but sure enough at 10:45 another climber walked up and beat his score. Major bummer. Also sucked that we stayed an extra two hours to lose. No, I’m not bitter. Why do you ask? 🙂
Overall, we had a really great time, but I’m not sure we’ll be returning to Ten Sleep over the Fourth of July. This year’s scene felt more like a shit show than it has in the years before. Rude campers, crowded crags and even less well behaved dogs. But if we did return, we’d definitely make an appearance at the annual Ten Sleep Climbing Festival. And if you’re going to be there anyways, I highly recommend you do to.