Rock Climbing for Beginners

After a recent rock climbing trip to Vedauwoo, Wyoming (pronounced vee-da-voo), it still hurts to get into a hot shower, a real consequence to shuffling around this granite crack climbing mecca of southern Wyoming.

There is truth to the rumors about the blue-collar style of climbing at the "Voo", meaning there is no fancy way around the job other then really working for it like a blue-collar worker. Long sleeve shirts and pants are a must to protect your skin from the sharp crystals in the cracks.

Even so, there are plenty of traditional climbing, or trad climbing opportunities for the beginner at Vedauwoo and more than enough scenery to make it all worthwhile.

Traditional climbing, as opposed to sport climbing, requires that all safety gear used to protect the climber from a fall is placed and removed by the climber throughout the climb. Sport climbing, on the other hand, involves anchor points permanently fixed to the rock.

Vedauwoo is located between Cheyenne and Laramie, a stone throw away off Interstate 80. Its gentle approaches along with the cooler temps during late summer through early fall will weld a first time trad climbing experience into your memory for years to come.

Most of the routes are one to two pitches long with only a few as high as three. With over two million acres of public land at your toes, there is no shortage of discovering new climbing routes throughout the Voo.

Your First Climb

Edwards Crack is a two pitch 5.7 hand crack located on Walt's Wall, one of the central climbing formations. This is an ideal climb for beginners due to its gentle slope and easy rating. A standard trad rack of a double set of cams up to a number 3 will come in handy, along with a spare number 4. Additional routes on this wall with similar ratings are also worth checking out.

If you feel like you have crack climbing down and would like to step it up a few notches, consider Horns Mother to the right of Walt's Wall. You can't miss it. But if you do, take a glance at the cover of the Vedauwoo climbing guide for reference.

When to Go

September is one of the best months to be in Vedauwoo, as the weather is the most stable and the Aspens are beginning to change colors with no shortage of breathtaking views. There is nearby camping and a convenience store right off highway 80, making Vedauwoo a rather relaxing place to get comfortable learning how to trad climb.

Trask Bradbury has been climbing for over 15 years and is well disciplined in Big wall, Ice, Rock and Alpine. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado and is always ready for the next climb.  

Discuss This Article