|Climb 1||Climb 2||Climb 3||Climb 4||Climb 5||Rest Day||Climb 6||Climb 7||Climb 8||Climbing Stops To/From|
|One Way Sunset |
5.10c, 5 pitches
TO THE TOP!
|Tulgey Wood |
5.10a, Pitch 1
5.10d, Pitches 1-2
5.10b, Pitch 1
|Belle Fourche Buttress|
5.10b, Pitches 1-2
|Prairie Dog Photo-graphy|
Prairie Dog Town
|McCarthy's West Face Free Variation|
5.9+, Pitch 1
|Back to Montana|
5.10d, 2 pitches
5.10c, 1 pitch
a. Entering Devil's Tower National Monument. I see a tower and I have to get to the top.
b. "Please Do Not Take Registration Cards as Souvenirs". Climbers must register to climb at the booth in the parking lot; registration is free.
c. To get to the route, we hiked the Tower trail, a 1.3 mile trail which circles the entire base of the Tower.
d. We turned off the Tower trail around to the midway point, and then had to traverse to the far northwest side of the North Face. We had to go further around the North Face than we thought.
e. Looking up the base of One Way Sunset. We started a bit lower down than in the topo and climbed half a pitch of 5.7ish to get to the real base of the route.
f. The first pitch has a wonderful finger crack.
g. A piton on the first pitch.
h. The second pitch has a wonderful hand crack.
i. Looking down while climbing the second pitch.
j. The third pitch starts with a handcrack, goes over a bulge, and gets a bit wider. In general the route gets wider as it goes up. Notice the bolted belay in the photo. All the belays have two bolts on this particular route.
k. Eric leading up the chimney on the fourth pitch. The rock quality deteriorates higher on the Tower but it was still fun climbing.
l. Looking down from the nice belay perch at the top of Pitch 4. The birds obviously like this perch too.
m. Looking at the fifth pitch, blocky and licheny low 5th.
n. The view from the top!
o. Eric rappelling down the North Face Rappel Route. This required 1 single rope rappel followed by 3 double rope rappels.
p. A close up of the columnar form of Devil's Tower, formed by the fracturing of the granite as it cooled underground. The rock quality deteriorates towards the top so often climbers climb the first few pitches and then rap down the route. We wanted to summit with our first route so that is why we chose One Way Sunset.
q. A close up of bark on a tree on the trail.
r. The West Face of the Tower, on the hike back to the car at the end of the day. In this photo, One Way Sunset is on the left side of the Tower just left of the pillar that sticks out further than the rest (so has a large shade line just right of it). You can see the chimney pitch of One Way Sunset near the top.
s. We picked up some rocks alongside the trail and joked about walking around telling tourists: "Summit rocks, two for a dollar". (This is not as crazy as it sounds—I was actually asked by a woman a couple of days later if I had brought any rocks off the summit, and if she could have one!). I wonder if they'd notice that a couple of the chunks in my hand are asphalt.
a. We stayed at the campground just inside the National Monument zone. $12/night is not bad for proximity to water, bathrooms, picnic tables, parking, and prairie dogs. Plus the campground is less than 5 minutes from the parking lot below the tower.
b. I threw my garbage right on top of this guy. I don't know which one of us was more surprised!
c. Eric playing his Native American flute at the base of Tulgey Wood.
a. Eric leading up the first pitch (5.8+) to get to the base of the ultra classic stembox of Pitch 2.
b. Eric nearing the top of the stembox. This pitch seems to go on forever. The topo says 130 feet.
c. Steph nearing the top of the stembox. This was quite memorable climbing!
d. We rapped (double rope rap) from the top of the stembox pitch. Watch out for the rope-eating crack at the top of the pillar....we got our knot firmly wedged in it as we pulled the rope.
e. After an hour of trying to flick and pull the rope free, we finally resorted to jugging...
f. A photo of the rope-eating crack in action.
g. Our audience during our 3-hour climb and rope rescue.
h. A view of the first two pitches of El Matador taken from the base of the Tower in the afternoon sun. The deep stembox is obvious.
a. Eric at the base of Burning Daylight. We had come to climb the left crack (Casper College) but ended up climbing the crack/roofs in the dihedral, which was a great route.
b. The view of the campground from the Tower. It's a pleasant campground, kind of a little oasis.
a. We spotted this crack when we approached Burning Daylight / Casper College. We decided we had to climb it.
b. The shadow of the Tower on the plains below.
c. Alpenglow on the west side of the Tower, from a pullout on the road on the short drive back to the campground.
a. Morning light on Devil's Tower, from the campground area.
b. The roadside I-will-pose-for-cheetos prairie dog.
c-d. The roadside prairie dog eating his veggies to balance the cheetos.
e-f. The leaner, meaner, I'm-vegan-and-do-yoga types at the outskirts of the field.
f. A curious prairie dog.
g-j. I set up my camera with a wide angle lens on it about on the edge of a hole and waited for the prairie dog to pop up.
k-p. These photos show the old wooden ladders from the first known ascent of Devil's Tower on July 4, 1893, by William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. They completed this first ascent after constructing a ladder of wooden pegs driven into cracks in the rock face. It took me a few days to spot these ladders, but they are about 6 cracks right of the Bon Homme route on the southeast side of the Tower. The ladders are difficult to see from the ground unless you know exactly where to look. I took these photos with my 400mm telephoto lens from the area near Prairie Dog Town (photo k) and from the Tower trail (photos l-p).
q. Climbers on the Durrance Route. I took this photo with my 400 mm telephoto lens from the area near Prairie Dog Town.
a. A sign on the approach to the West Face warning that climbers need to register. Registration is free and done at the booth at the parking lot.
b. Morning shadow of Devil's Tower.
c. Eric starting up Way Layed, an 11a which we ended up backing off. 11a means something at the Tower!
d. After backing off Way Layed, we decided to climb the route just right: McCarthy's West Face Free Variation, a popular five-pitch 5.10b route.
e. But midway through the first pitch of McCarthy's West Face Free Variation, we heard a voice yelling up to us that the route was closed. We finished the pitch, rappelled, and then joined the ranger for a nice long reasonably-friendly chat in the ranger office back near the visitor center. It turned out that the entire West Face was closed to climbing due to peregrine falcon nesting, which we had not been aware of. We had somehow gotten away with climbing on the West Face a couple of days previous without being noticed.
f. A sign below the West Face warning about the climbing closure. We had approached the West Face via a path slightly left of this sign, so we never saw it until the ranger led us by it on the way down. It would help if the sign warning about registration and the sign noting the closure were at the same spot rather than on different approach routes. I'm embarrassed and a bit angry at myself that we did not notice any of the climbing closure signs during our four days in the area, but the park suffers a bit of signage overload and I think we had tuned out to the signs by this point ("Don't disturb the prayer flags", "Don't take the climbing permits as souvenirs", "Don't feed the prairie dogs", "Climbers must register", "Climbers must park in the gravel lot",...).
g. The remains of a peregrine's lunch. This alone is a good reason to not climb around them. Plus, peregrines are a threatened species and lived on the Tower long before climbers came along, so they deserve their nesting space.
a. Looking up the arete.
b. Triple chocolate turns out to be a bad flavor for trail mix in the heat of Devil's Tower.
a. The steep granite walls of Fremont Canyon.
b. To climb in Fremont Canyon, you set an anchor and rappel and then climb up. Pretty unique!
c. Eric climbing in Fremont Canyon.
d. The limestone crags along highway 16 just east of the town of Ten Sleep.
e. We stopped for a few hours and climbed at the popular roadside area called Home Alone. Even though I am not really much of a fan of sport climbing or cragging, it was a fun stop. I've not climbed on limestone much before this.
f. The view from the crag at Ten Sleep.
g. "Warning: Rock climbing and bouldering are extremely dangerous activities that can result in broken bones, paralysis, permanent injury, and even death...."
i. Eric "climbing" a Vedauwoo 11a classic offwidth called Horn's Mother. He did start to lead it but backed off. 11a is stiff at Vedauwoo!
j. We climbed Currey's Diagonal, a popular 10b diagonal crack on the Holdout formation.
k. We also climbed Beefeater, a popular 10b hand crack on the Holdout formation.
l. A precarious boulder on top of the Holdout formation. I would guess these formed when erosion left remnants of the upper layers as boulders.
m. A rock mushroom near the Nautilus formation.
n. We toproped Max Factor (11c) at Nautilus. I loved this route (stellar textured finger crack!) and did it three times.
o. A thundershower hit just after noon. Eric wanted a couple of rest days and the weather didn't look great, so we planned to meet up in Estes Park just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park a few days later.