Ten Sleep: Forest Service Institutes Bolting Moratorium Following Controversy

By Rock and Ice | July 22nd, 2019

Climbing in Ten Sleep. Photo: Corey Zukie.


The controversy surrounding manufactured routes and route-development ethics in Ten Sleep Canyon—newly reinvigorated following actions taken by 18 climbers to remove some manufactured routes on July 1 and 2—has resulted in swift action from U.S. Forest Service: Effective immediately, there is a moratorium on the development of all new routes in Ten Sleep Canyon.

The Bighorn Climbers’ Coalition (BCC) held a Round Table Meeting on Saturday, July 20, to address increased tensions and attention stemming from the mass route removal on July 1 and 2. In attendance were two members of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS)— the district ranger for the Powder River District and a climbing ranger.


Get Caught Up on the Ten Sleep Drama


Open Letter: Chipping and Manufacturing Climbs in Ten Sleep Canyon Needs to Stop


Ten Sleep Update: Vigilante Climbers Remove Manufactured Routes



Photo: Corey Zukie.

According to an announcement on the BCC Facebook page, a July 11 letter written by the USFS and shared at the July 20 meeting, reads: “As of July 19, 2019, the USDA Forest Service will be enforcing regulations that prohibit constructing new climbing routes or trails on the Bighorn National Forest, including Ten Sleep Canyon. If an individual or group is manufacturing or creating new routes with any type of permanent hardware or apparatus to include bolts, glue, manufactured hand holds; or modifying routes through chipping or hammering new or existing holds, they will be subject to criminal fines, to include money for restitution to the impacted area.”

During this moratorium, the USFS and BCC will work to develop a Climbing Management Plan and guidelines for future route development in Ten Sleep.

The BCC notes on Facebook, “The USFS has stated that the moratorium will be lifted upon the implementation of these guidelines.”


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