Devils Tower Trip Report (#1502)
- Signed By: Steven Chandler
- Date submitted: October 05, 2004
Our summit bid started on Tuesday the 2nd of September at 5:30am in Loveland, Colorado, 360 miles from Devils Tower. Our climbing party consisted of Jerry "Zeke" Arzooyan, Dion "Marmot" Covelli, Jerry "Crumb" Kuras, Russ "JR" Schlehuber and Steve "The Anchor" Chandler. We started our day by stopping in Cheyenne, Wyoming to fill up on snacks and gas up The' Van. While driving through Wyoming we had several marathon games of Himalaya. We stopped in Gillette, Wyoming for a stretch and to have lunch at a MacDonald's. We hit the road again and arrived at Devil's tower at 1:30 in the afternoon. We checked out the visitor's center and registered for a fun day on the Tower to do a couple of warm-up climbs and attempt to summit the Tower on Wednesday. We gathered our gear and walked towards the Tower, heading straight thru to the boulder field and started to scramble our way around the shoulder. After an hour and a half of this we arrived at the base of the Leaning Column. Zeke racked up to led the first pitch and did a stellar job playing rope-gun. Dion was next and cleaned the pitch. Once he was at the ledge he belayed me to the ledge and I brought up a rope and a couple of liters of water in a backpack. I was on belay for Russ and Jerry while Zeke was on his way up the next pitch being belayed by Dion. Our warm-up climbed turn into a "Damn the Torpedoes", were going to the Summit!"
Zeke led the climb while Dion cleaned and the rest us followed. This system worked great because we were all keeping busy on this climb. We reached the final pitch at 7:30pm as the sun finally went over the horizon and we had about 1 hour of light left. All of us were on the summit at 8:30pm and signed the summit log, snapped a couple of photos, hugged and gave high fives to each other. Did I mention earlier in the log that we brought headlamps with us? No, because we didn't. We rappelled by the light of the stars. There was just enough light to see the ropes to put in our ATC. Zeke rappelled first and the rest of us followed. Finding the rappel anchors with no light proved to be a great challenge. We used the NPR (No Petzle Rappelle) method, which we had practiced at Red River Gorge in August, in our rappel. We reached the bottom of the Leaning Column and retrieved our gear, put our headlamps on and finished our decent to the trail. We reached The' Van and an empty parking lot at 11:30pm. We loaded our gear and headed to Devils Tower Lodge to meet Frank. At our arrival, Frank came out to met us and let us camp at his place for the night. A few of us had ice cream and talked with Frank for almost an hour. What we thought would be a 4 to 5 hour adventure turned into a 10-hour mini epic. This was definitely an adventure I will never forget or will I ever forget my climbing companions. Without their knowledge and spirit of adventure, we would not have been able to accomplish climbing Devils Tower.