Devils Tower

Devils Tower Trip Report (#1606)

On Dec. 29 we arrived at The Tower. We were planning on aid climbing "Mr.Clean". Thank God we met Frank Sanders, who sensed our inexperience and recommended "Hollywood and Vine". In early December morning with loads of 2 ropes and haul bag full of gear on our backs, we approached the route. For a climb to our first belay station we put our rock climbing shoes, and before we even tied them up, our toes were stiff. After free climbing a chimney, we settled down at the bolts and realized how unorganized we are. The clock was ticking with no mercy and freezing wind was doing it's own job. When Stanley finally started an aid climb, I was already cold, but great views and having tower only to ourselves was like a blessing to me. After two hours or so of belaying Stan, cold seemed unbearable. Drinking was out of question (drinks froze) and food was beyond the reach. I realized that the whole thing will not be about reaching the top of The Tower. We were fighting our own weaknesses. We struggled not with tower but with ourselves. An hour later came my turn. I started cleaning the pitch with undescribable joy. It was it. The highlight of the day. When I reached Stan, he was just as cold as I was some time ago. Hour was late, sun was going down fast. We were very disappointed with our speed, almost ashamed. We decided we will continue our struggle tomorrow and left two fixed ropes. While rappelling down towards Frank's flashlight (thank you Frank), we learned another lesson, the hard way. Never leave your flashlight behind. Next day jumaring up wasn't easy, but sure was fun. In no time we reached Meadows. Scrambling to the top in the big boots and with stiff fingers I'm sure was little more chalenging than in the summer time. We spend a whole hour on the top enjoying solitude and awesome views. Rappelling down "Durrance" we felt sense of accomplishment. We both knew we learned a lot and become stronger and tougher. We owe a lot to Frank Sanders. His advice and help were priceless to us.

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