Devils Tower

Devils Tower Trip Report (#1588)

  • Signed By: Paul Bedell of Saskatoon, SK, Canada
  • Date submitted: November 01, 2002

My wife, Blanca, and I visited Devils Tower Lodge and experienced a wonderful place, a wonderful group of people, learned a lot and are better people because of all of these things.

We had never cracked climbed nor slab climbed before. Our guides during our playday, Jonathan, Jaap and Johnny Walker, were no less than fantastic. We have been lucky enough to climb in many places (but not nearly enough yet!) and with some great people. We climb because we enjoy it...and these guys knew how to get the most out of the day! Safety, fun and technique (in that order) were the topics. Our group had a diversity of experience, including people experiencing real rock for the first time. I cannot honestly remember a moment when anyone was not having a great time, being challenged, nor learning something. Kudos to the guides!

Blanca and I summited the next day with Jonathan. We took the El Cracko route...quite challenging for the both of us. Jon had the patience of a saint and more encouraging words than could be expected. He followed and exuded what we were to learn was Frank Sander's guiding philosophy: guide clients by teaching them how to get from A to B, not just get clients from A to B.

After a much-needed day off, Blanca and I were lucky enough to coerce Frank into some "quality teaching time". It is a day that I will never forget, nor Blanca. We learned so much from Frank...techniques, gear placement, rappelling techniques and scenarios. The questions and answers went both ways all day...Frank learned from us, we learned from him...and it was fantastic!

We have recently returned from a trip to the Gunks. I was on the sharp end most of the time, and with great patience at her slow leader, Blanca was my second. We both used so much of what Frank had taught...technically and safety wise. I know, for a fact, that I never would have climbed what I climbed, nor as well, if it wasn't for Frank and his crew at the Tower!

To quote another Canadian climber (albeit a much better one than I), Peter Croft, it doesn't matter what you climb, but how you climb it. We both climb better because of Frank and his group at the Tower: technique, confidence, safety, enjoyment!

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