Let’s pretend for a moment that we are whisked back in time to the year 1890. We’re standing on the side of Main Street in downtown Ten Sleep, Wyoming. Playing out before us in the middle of the dusty road are two well-weathered Cowboys bent on settling a disagreement, six-shooters ready at the hip. The time is high noon. The sun is so hot it could fry an egg on the tin roof of the Big Horn Bar, the same fine drinking establishment where the heated argument began.
One of the Cowboys reaches for his holstered weapon. The second reacts with lightening speed. His right hand is a blur as his weapon is drawn. The trigger is quickly engaged by the index finger as the pearl-handled Colt 45 exits the holster. His left hand crosses his body at the waistline faster than a rattlesnake striking its moving prey. The palm of his hand smoothly crosses the hammer of the killing weapon’s double action hammer three times in succession. It happens with such blinding speed that the only one loud sound is heard.
The first cowboy lurches violently backward as he slams to the ground, creating a cloud of dust large enough to hide the macabre result from our curious eyes for the moment. The weapon of the victorious gunslinger is cleanly holstered as he reaches to adjust the brim of his sweat stained dark brown Stetson, a ritual he’s developed after a clean kill…
Back to the future…
Life in north central Wyoming has changed some since 1890, but not a whole hell of a lot. Life is a little slower and a lot more laid back then most places, it seems. It’s a good feeling to know that pockets of the Wild West still remain in places like Ten Sleep.
The canyon that shares the name of the town is rife with technical sport routes on impeccable limestone. It’s a climbing destination that has steadily grown in popularity over the last several years, and that trend seems to be ongoing.
Amazingly, we’ve managed to avoid the common, popular terrain and instead have been enjoying the lesser known areas in the vicinity. The climbing has been incredibly challenging and the lack of crowded cragging has been a welcome comfortable beginning to our full-time climbing odyssey. Equally comforting has been the welcoming nature of the community here in Ten Sleep. With a population of less than 300 folks it’s easy to for others to notice you’re not a local, but you’re welcomed with a warm smile and polite Wyoming “howdy” just the same.
On rest days we often stroll through town, which takes less than 20 minutes down and back. There’s the Crazy Woman Café, Dirty Sally’s, Ten Sleep Saloon, Big Horn Bar, the Pony Express convenience store and on the far west side of town, the cultural hub for the region, the Ten Sleep Brewery. Between the pure sweet-tasting water filtered through dolomite limestone and the local hops grown in clean mountain air, you have the perfect ingredients for a mighty fine brew. Your choices are Amber Ale, Pale Ale and a Porter worth dueling over. Just make sure you’re wearing your sweat-stained brown Stetson if you do!
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