Devils Tower Trip Report (#1612)
- Signed By: Jerry Kraus
- Date submitted: November 01, 2002
OK, back to the Tower Tree, Travis, and I go. A nice drive across South Dakota and were in Rapid City just after noon, get a little more gear, do the same in Spearfish and Moose the store clerk says tell Frank hi when you get to the tower. I asked who Frank was, Moose said he had a gray pony tail and frequented the Tower, I said I think I met him a few wweks ago when he encouraged me on my way up pitch 2 on Durrance. I told Tree and Travis it would be neat to meet Frank. With camp set up off to the boulders we go. A good plan for Saturday and a hot meal around camp with the Tower in the back yard ah life is good. As we wait our turn behind 6 other climbers Travis thinks he could better serve from the walking trail as the camera man and I agree so we got the keys and got him situated so he could pace himself back to the boulder field. Our turn, met some other climbers at the top of pitch 1 and 2 as mike worked up as the last climer ahead would leave. Well 4 pm top of pitch 4 I remember well what the top of 5 looks like at 5:30 pm, so down we go. A great day of climbing, a good burger and fries, and time for a snooze. Sunday 11/11/01 Veterans day time to get on with it, not with the only intent of making the top but for me rather to see what the climb is like above pitch 5. 8:30 sign in 9:30 top of Durrance approach, at the top of 1 and 2 just a hint of rain to envision how interesting wet rock might be to deal with. 11:30am top of 4. After having the chance to watch some other climbers it was very helpful as were able to do pitches 3 and 4 together and by 1:00 were on top of 5 after a break, I staarted back up what I thought was Bailey direct and pretty well ceaned out my limited rack but had nic big flat area with enough solid cracks for the few large stoppers I had and a large choke stone. Just as Tree was about to the slab out of the corner of my eye I see gray pony tail just above me at the bolts on top Durrance rappel he says you know there is a route just to the left of where you came up called the Bailey direct. I said thanks I do now, you must be Frank. After seeing Trees 285 puonds come over the ledge on an aider and ascenders he said great bit of climbing guys and was gone. 3:00 blue sky 360 degrees here comes Frank with a hand shake and smile. After short tour of the top rappel 101 from top and an invite to his lodge frank left Tree and I took a little time to soak it in. I'm sure why for person who plans as good as the next I've ended up rappeling down the Tower 3 times in the dark. Well after a quick gab with Travis off to Franks a 2 minute drive. All I can say to Frank is thank you for all. A warm meal, genuine interest in our climb, and home for the night talk about life being great. Good stories,laughs, and an invite to climb with Frank before we leave in the morning. After breakfast more stories and off Frank and I go and as much as I encourage everyone to get out of thier comfort zone, I have to say I personally had not been stretched that in some time. Frank thank you again. And one closing bit of wisdom for all of us to remember. If you are ever near the Tower, take enough time to slow down and meet Frank Sanders, because if its a free solo before Sundays NFL game while keeping an eye on a couple of greenhorns from Nebraska ( Frank by the way I got some pictures back, you had good seat watching the Sunday afternoon show) or stretching someone else Frank is about the business of giving to others.