Devils Tower Trip Report (#1587)
- Signed By: Walter Frank Mason
- Date submitted: November 01, 2002
Sometime in July 2002 I called Frank Sanders to make arrangements for him to guide me in a climb up Devils Tower. After introductions and necessary discussion we, at least I, agreed that I would be at the tower on August 13 for a play-day and smmmiting of the tower the next day...now this trip was not a spur of the moment idea because I have dreamed of climbing the Devils Tower for many years. In fact, my wife, Jo, and I drove up there in 1997 or 1998 from San Angelo, TX so I could put this dream to rest. Not to be because it seemed that everything that could go wrong, did. As a Christian who tries to follow God,s will I seemed to hear him tell me,"Not now, later will be better." I waited, and finally the time came that I felt good to try. Jo and I arrived at the D.T. KOA campground on August 12 and set up our camper for the stay. Early the next morning I knocked on the door at the Devils Tower Lodge Bed and Breakfast. I met for the first time Frank, Lorna and Jaap who were to be my hosts and guide for the next two days. There was also a Mechanical Engineer from Oregan who was a guest and who would enjoy play-day with us. After a delicous breakfast, Frank and I went out to his climbing wall for a bit of exercise and evaluation of me. It was a nice period of getting acquainted. Frank was already commited for the day,so I played on the tower with Jaap. We climbed the first pitch of New Wave, Junior Chief's Anniversary, Broken Tree and finally the first two pitches of Patent Pending up to Teacher's Lounge and rappelled down. Oh! What an emotional experience! Lorna even brought lunch up to us. I am indebted and thankful to Jaap for a wonderful day. Now I must try to get some rest for the big day tomorrow since I am no longer a young man. After a fitful night of peeking at the alarm clock morning or at least 3AM finally came. I went back to the lodge to meet Frank for the big day. There was a new couple at the breakfast table who had just arrive the night before. They were Tom & Deb from Pennsylvania and had a goal of climbing the Durrance Route also. They were joined by Steve at the ranger station to make a team of three. Frank and I would climb alone. They started ahead of Frank and I and I was glad because I could watch them and maybe learn a bit. We started at the Leaning Column after an extreme warm-up hiking up over the boulders at the bottom of the tower. The climb was fun and all the things that can be said of a dream coming true. I found that I really must work more on gaing traction between my feet and the rock face. The chockstone for which Chockstone Crack was named was the place that gave me doubts and pause for reflection. Once we reached the Meadows , Frank let me go alone to the summit. I was glad he did because after my shouts of joy at reaching my goal the realization of the blessing that God had heaped upon me after the long wait hit me and I had to fall to my knees in a moment of prayerful thanks. Tom, Deb and Steve did not come up on top, but Frank and I toured the summit and put up a flag as a memorial. I wrote in the summit log and we ventured a look over the west face. Then three long rappels down and we were back to real life again. We signed out at the ranger station and back to D.T.L.B.B. for a time of relaxation and reflection over a day well spent together. I had to leave early the next day for home as we reached the turn on to the main road Frank and Lorna caught up to say good-bye...How very wonderful. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Frank, Lorna and Jaap for helping me to achieve my dream.