Just west of the small town of Deaver, Wyoming, is an interesting row of sandstone-capped badlands formations that rise over 400 feet above the sage-covered plains of the Big Horn Basin
. I first noticed these peaks over a year ago, but because the highest point of the formation is both unnamed and unranked (just over 200 feet of prominence), I put off exploring here until I had visited all of the other mountains in the area.
When I finally took the time to get out and play around on this formation, I discovered a spectacular place with rugged cliffs and amazing rock sculptures that features many fun scrambling options in the Class 3 and 4 range; some of the lower pinnacles may only be climbable by dicey Class 5 routes. There is a Class 2 walk-up route to the summit block, which requires the use of hands to get up on the last ledge. I am calling this ridge Polecat Rim for the purposes of this page, as it is an extension off of the massive Polecat Bench
, which is located to the west of the Rim.
Getting There and Climbing Information
Travel west from the highway intersection in the town of Deaver for 4.2 miles and turn right on a dirt road marked by a white sign with black lettering marking the Polecat Oil Field. Turn slight right soon after turning and drive for 0.7 miles (keep left at the next fork) and cross the canal on a rickety wooden bridge. After crossing the bridge, drive for 1.7 miles until you find a good spot to pull off between the tall sagebrush; a 4WD vehicle with high clearance may needed in certain seasons and weather conditions.
Hike for a half mile to the base and go around to the right to find the walk-up route, which heads to the left behind the main band of cliffs. A more interesting option is to find a way up the hundred vertical feet of sandstone via short chimneys and long ledges that divide the cliffs into smaller sections. The summit block is easily climbed from the east side.
A climb to the summit of the Polecat Rim is about 0.75 miles and 300 vertical feet;
there are several other pinnacles along the rim to the north of the summit that offer some more difficult routes if climbing on the sometimes brittle sandstone sounds exciting.
Red Tape and Camping
The rock formations and sage-covered flatlands of Polecat Rim are a heaven for rattlesnakes during the warmer months. Step very carefully around the rocks and check all of the large holes above before sticking a hand in them to avoid a nasty surprise.
There is a fenced-off area a little farther up the road that is marked No Trespassing due to the oil field structures that are found there. General BLM camping rules would apply here.