Devils Tower

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Devils Tower (also Bear Lodge Butte) is a laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains (part of the Black Hills) near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River – United states.

It rises dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the Belle Fourche River, standing 867 feet (265 m) from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet (1,559 m) above sea level. Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The monument’s boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres (545 ha). In recent years, about 1% of the monument’s 400,000 annual visitors climbed Devils Tower, mostly using traditional climbing techniques.

Climbing : In recent years, climbing Devils Tower has increased in popularity. The first known ascent of Devils Tower by any method occurred on July 4, 1893, and is accredited to William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. They completed this first ascent after constructing a ladder of wooden pegs driven into cracks in the rock face. A few of these wooden pegs are still intact and are visible on the tower when hiking along the 1.3-mile (2.1 km) Tower Trail at Devils Tower National Monument. Over the following thirty years many climbs were made using this method before the ladder fell into disrepair. The man most famous for climbing the tower is Fritz Wiessner, who summited with William P. House and Lawrence Coveney in 1937. This was the first ascent using modern climbing techniques. Wiessner led the entire climb free, placing only a single piece of fixed gear, a piton, which he later regretted, deeming it unnecessary.

In 1941 George Hopkins parachuted onto Devils Tower, without permission, as a publicity stunt resulting from a bet. He had intended to descend by a rope dropped with him, but Hopkins deemed it unusable after it became knotted and frozen due to the rain and wind. Hopkins was stranded for six days, exposed to cold, rain and 50 mph winds before a mountain rescue team finally reached him and brought him down. His entrapment and subsequent rescue was widely covered by the media of the time.

Today, hundreds of climbers scale the sheer rock walls of Devils Tower each summer. The most common route is the Durrance Route, which was the second free route established in 1938. There are many established and documented climbing routes covering every side of the tower, ascending the various vertical cracks and columns of the rock. The difficulty of these routes range from relatively easy to some of the most challenging in the world. All climbers are required to register with a park ranger before and after attempting a climb. No overnight camping at the summit is allowed; climbers return to base on the same day they ascend.

The Tower is sacred to several Plains tribes, including the Lakota, Cheyenne and Kiowa. Because of this, many Indian leaders objected to climbers ascending the monument, considering this to be a desecration. The climbers argued that they had a right to climb the Tower, since it is on federal land. A compromise was eventually reached with a voluntary climbing ban during the month of June when the tribes are conducting ceremonies around the monument. Climbers are asked, but not required, to stay off the Tower in June. According to the PBS documentary In the Light of Reverence, approximately 85% of climbers honor the ban and voluntarily choose not to climb the Tower during the month of June. However, several climbers along with the Mountain States Legal Foundation sued the Park Service, claiming an inappropriate government entanglement with religion.

Access : Coordinates : 44.590278, -104.715278 /  address :  WY-110, Devils Tower, Wyoming, 82714  , Phone: (307) 467-5283 x635  / Devils Tower National Monument is accessed by a single road, Wyoming Hwy 24 and located 9 miles south of Hulett, WY.
from Interstate 90, taking US Hwy 14 from Moorcroft, WY (exit 153 if approaching from the west) or US Hwy 14 from Sundance, WY (exit 185 if approaching from the east). Wyoming Hwy 24 intersects US Hwy 14 six miles south of the Tower at what is known as “Devils Tower Junction.” The Tower can also be reached from the north via WY Hwy 24 and/or 112 after passing through Hulett, WY.

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