Devils Tower

Devils Tower Trip Report (#1642)

  • Signed By: Roy Reichle
  • Date submitted: November 01, 2002

Even though this was my third visit to the Tower, it remains daunting to me; the sheer magnitude represented by its precipitous rise from the surrounding praire and its unfathomable representation of geologic time sends shivers down my short-lived spine and through my eternal soul. Tom and Cindy's and my ascent up the historic Durrance route reminded me why I climb--heightened fellowship, brought on by fear and struggle; scenery, a fabric of life stretched out quilt-like as far as my eye could see; the mathematical beauty of calculated risk and the joy of upward movement in a primal, vertical dance.

It took us nearly half a day to complete the route as we each wrestled the impersonal and the personal forces that fought to keep us bound to the horizonal Earth. Half a day is a molecule of water in a sea of time, but those hours will forever remain clear in my memory. They are a time when I touched some intimate part of nature and glimpsed a raw part of my friends.

The summit was anti-climactic, reaching the top held nothing for me but a greater view, trading one hundred and eighty degrees for three hundred and sixty. But the climb did become a metaphor for life and love.

The year before, Tom and Cindy had come to the Tower to climb, but Cindy's struggles kept her below the top. Tom resisted the summit's siren call and returned to her, which made her more angry than grateful. This year, Cindy pushed hard, to some degree fired by her husband's desire to summit. Don't we all need to look beyond ourselves sometimes to discover what's important? Such as, climbing shouldn't take us farther from those we love and sometimes we should climb harder for them too.

I guess that's the truest reason I climb--discovery, to face my life in a mirror of effort and emotion and come away with something more than the passage of a thousand feet of rock beneath my shoes. I will return to the Tower and may even ascend the same line, but I know it will not be the same climb, the same route cannot be climbed twice, nor can anyone ever live the same day.

Good Luck to those who come after us, enjoy the climb and may each one grasp something other than stone.

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