Devils Tower

Devils Tower Trip Report (#1637)

This isn't a "true" summit entry since we didn't summit this trip but we had such a wonderful experience that I thought I would share it with you all anyway. Please don't be offended by this small detail. I assure you I will return to summit again! Here goes:

My climbing partner Lindsay Stevens and I just returned from a short four day road trip to the tower, one of my favorite places to climb! Having been a long hot, humid summer here in Minnesota, I was more than ready to get back to the dry, high desert air! Don't take me wrong now, for a state that has 7 months of winter and five months of road repair, the climbing ain't too bad, especially on the North Shore. Be that as it may, I was more than eager to get on some good rock and hit some real cracks, the destination of choice of course being; "The Tower".

After driving all day Friday, drinking way too much coffee and water in anticipation of the weekend ahead and stopping way too many times, after a grueling 13 hours of driving at 11:30 pm we pulled up to the lodge. Of course by then everyone was sound asleep so we crashed as quickly as possible and before we knew it we were awakened by the smell of fresh coffee and the welcoming sound of dear Frank's warm voice. It had been a half a year since my last visit to Devil's Tower lodge but after that heartfelt greeting by Frank and Lorna I felt as though I had never left. After reacquainting for a bit and having breakfast we set out for the day.

We had our sights on Patent Pending and possibly Assembly Line for our first day. The plan was for my partner Lindsay and I to head out with Jaap, who had just returned from Tibet and meet up with Frank, Lorna and some other guests later on. The day moved on quite quickly and after Lindsay led the first two pitches of Patent Pending we arrived at the Teacher's Lounge at about noon. For reasons I will explain later, let me say, I just wasn't into leading the next pitch so we prepared to rap down. Now the best descent route from this point is a double rope rappel on two sixties down Broken Tree but when we looked down there were top ropes set up on every conceivable line.

We later learned that a large group who had been training at the tower all week was spending their last day at he base of our climb. So we waited. And waited. And waited, until finally we just had to get down. After announcing a very definite "ROPE" we threw our ropes down in hope that the climbers below would appreciate our necessity and yield the way for our descent. And finally, after some more waiting some did and down we went. Let me back up a bit; last Fall, in an attempt to Summit quickly on the first day, before learning the elusive "right foot high" technique from Frank, I took a 35 foot winger from the top of Bon Holme when my left foot slipped near the top and when trying a desperate "layback" I couldn't hold on any longer. Not so excited by the prospect of repeating this ordeal, top roping the rest of the day sounded like a great idea.

With all the ropes up on this shady area we had plenty of choices of routes to climb anyway. After joining everyone at the bottom we had a great rest of the day topped of by a trip to Spearfish later that evening. We arrived just in time to catch Frank's last set at the piano and have a great Italian dinner. The next day was play day for everyone. We climbed the first pitch of Carol's Crack, Raindance, One Way Sunset and some crazy stem corner in between the last two. Once again, a good time was had by all! Again, I would like to especially thank Frank, Lorna, & Jaap for keeping things fun, safe, & professional and making another visit to the tower as memorable as the last. You guys are the real Rock Stars! Rock on! MS

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