Devils Tower

Devils Tower Trip Report (#1643)

As it turned out, we arrived at the Tower woefully under prepared. With no rock at home, a year since the last crack was in front of us(and that sandstone), and obligations and projects to finish preventing adequate conditioning, we arrived like rubes in the city.

A day of top-rope left us feeling ready to go, and so on the 20th it was up El Cracko Diablo.

I have to say the route was not a fun climb. I have never given a rat's about summiting anything I've ever been on, taking the pleasure instead from the here and now of each move on the route itself. Getting to the top has held no meaning at all.

I found little pleasure in the beating this route gave me and great frustration, due mostly to my lack of preparation. I would have had no prayer of completing the route had it not been for the support, badgering, and incredible patience of our guide.

The trip was a last long weekend roadtrip with my son prior to his leaving for college. As I sat at the second belay, nearly beaten, gasping and frustrated, an image came to me of the first trip he and I went when he was around 3 years old.

On my desk is a picture of an empty Florida beach stretching to the horizon, he and I hunched over running down the beach hand in hand, shot from behind us by his Mom. The picture has been on my desk so long familiarity has made it nearly unseen anymore.

For some reason that picture came to me, as clear as day, as I sat waiting for him to reach us at the anchor. And I realized that, though we will almost certainly continue climbing together, this would be the last time as father and son.

He joined us at the anchor, we made our way to the top, and as he signed the log, with the whole world at our feet, the significance of this summit climb overwhelmed me. The two images, the child on the beach, and now the young man at the summit, are now forever linked on that Tower.

I would not have been there if not for our guide, and I want to thank Frank Sanders of Devils Tower Lodge.

It ended as the greatest climb I've ever had the priviledge to be on.

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