Devils Tower

Devils Tower Trip Report (#1598)

After our last adventure at the Devils Tower in December, we couldn't stop thinking of coming back for more. Opportunity came on March 16th. Like the last time we wanted to aid up "Mr.Clean". Just one look at route got us so exited we decided not to waste time for registering with park rangers. Our instinct was telling us that we should at least tell Frank Sanders (friend to all climbers) about our plans. We were so happy we did because as it turn out "Mr. Clean" and many other routes were closed due to falcons nesting. Thanks to Frank's great knowledge of the Tower and its routes within a minutes he rocommended couple of them and we picked "Centennial". We read about this aid route before and were even more than happy to try some hardcore nailing. Neither one of us had much of experience with pitons, but we thought what the hell we would learn it on a route. Frank guided us to the base of a climb, gave us few more advices and rappelled.

Stan was first to go. I was belaying him in a chilling wind with beautiful views all around me. Occasionally he let me know how great it was to put those "lost arrows" in a narrow crack. My turn came just in time when I start to freeze my butt off. Jumaring up I was looking at all the protection Stan place. He used only pitons and the smallest nuts. My heart start beating a little bit faster. At first I was aiding up using the smallest nuts, but quicly crack refuse any and was screaming for pitons. Here all fun had begun. I was driving in "lost arrow" after "lost arrow" and "knife blade" after "knife blade". I was testing them good and out of many only one gave up. Still, being up so high and for most parts having only pitons under me was very scary and mentally challenging experience. After rappelling of the bolts BEFORE sunset we were happy as pigs in mud. We rushed back to Franks house for well deserved, delicious dinner.

Next day weather was good enough for some free climbing. We set up a top rope on first pitches of "Southwest" and "Rangers are people too" and spend rest of the day climbing it, checking out other routes and taking "heroes" photos.

On a last day we wanted to aid up the "Southwest". Early freezing morning, scrambling over rocks covered with snow and ice we realized that conditions are no go for us. We practiced hauling a bag for some time. Around midday we rappelled and set up a top rope on "Lakota". This bolted route got us so tired I almost fell asleep belaying.

In late evening we headed back to Chicago thinking about when to come back again and we know it's going to be soon. Great thanks to Frank for all help, advice and gear.

Martin and Stan

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