Devils Tower, Wyoming

July 18, 2003

Devils Tower

Devils Tower, 5112 Ft.

Devils Tower is a spectacular 867 foot granite monolith located in Devils Tower National Monument in northeast Wyoming.  For those who have seen it in person or who have seen the movie, "Close Encounters," Devils Tower is an awe inspiring and fascinating geological feature.   This feature standing out for hundreds of miles around, looks like a looming giant standing desk in the middle of northeastern Wyoming.  A foreboding legendary folklore and degree of difficulty have enticed climbers from all over the world.  The nearly vertical columns of granite have invited climbers for years and we were no exception.  The Tower was first climbed by ranchers Willard Ripley and William Rogers in 1893 via a wooden stake ladder.  Since that time, it has been climbed by over 42,000 people via many routes.  We had the pleasure of climbing the Tower with Frank Sanders, a Devils Tower legend, who for 30 years has been climbing and guiding on Devils Tower.  When not climbing, we enjoyed the hospitality of the fantastic Devils Tower Lodge Bed and Breakfast.  Frank and friends run the lodge along with the climbing guide service, and both should be on every one's Devils Tower itinerary.  Come and enjoy a day on the Tower with us and Frank.

At the beginning of the Leaning Column pitch, Frank sets up a belay.  There are a total of six pitches on the Durrance route and this pitch was the second.  We started around 5:00 AM to beat the heat.

Jackie Climbing Flake Crack
Jackie cruises through the Flake Crack pitch a few hundred feet above the base of the Tower.

Jackie takes a break while Frank leads the next pitch.  Our method was for Frank to lead all the pitches, followed by Alan, then Jackie coming up the pitch last.

Alan doing the Chockstone Crack pitch.

Frank Sanders
Frank on belay bringing up Jackie on the Flake Crack pitch.  Frank has established many first ascents of climbing routes on the Tower.  His attention to detail and safety is unsurpassed.  Frank gave us the respect of being experienced climbers while showing us many climbing techniques and methods we did not know.  We are grateful for our learning experience.

On the summit!
We summitted on a beautiful day at about 10:00 AM.

Jackie on rappel
Jackie rappels off the summit with a big grin.  There are a total of three rappels, from 150 to 200 ft.

All done!
Back on the ground again.  What a great experience!  Thanks to Frank for the great two days of climbing and the fantastic hospitality of the Devils Tower Lodge.


"Blessed are those who live out their dreams."
Frank Sanders