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Peak(s):  Devil's Tower - 5,112 feet
Post Date:  05/12/2013
Modified:  02/20/2014
Date Climbed:   04/28/2013
Posted By:  Brian C
Additional Members:   JohnP FTC

 Devil's Tower via Durrance   

This is taken from the full report on my site. All the photos can be found HERE at Brian in the Wild.

Devil's Tower via Durrance (5.6+)

April 28, 2013

Crew: Pete Krzanowsky, John Pedrosa


I've been dying to head up to Devil's Tower for quite some time and finally, my last minute plans fell into place. Pete, John and I made plans to head up Saturday afternoon, climb on Sunday and then immediately drive home. We arrived just before sunset, and marveled at the astonishing formation glowing in the evening light. After taking in the views, we made our way out dirt roads plotting to camp on national forest land. The drive was nice and were amazed to see hundreds of deer lining the roads and even a herd of turkeys. A nice evening under the stars led to a short night of sleep and an early start. Looking at a lovely forecast, we had prepped ourselves to face hordes of people and wanted to get there early. Rolling into the parking lot, we were surprised to see a lone car, and congratulated ourselves for being second in line. We quickly grabbed our gear and made for the base of the climb. Wanting the most bang for the buck we decided on climbing the additional "approach pitch", and we hiked the nice trail system around the base of the tower. As we rounded the corner and the route came into view, we were shocked to see Durrance uninhabited. We quickly roped up and found the approach pitch to be easy, but harder than the 5.4 rating implied. This was expected, and gave a flavor of the challenging nature of the route. Pete soon was cruising up the Leaning Column, and I was disappointed that it didn't move while I squeezed up behind it. The Durrance Crack proved very challenging for me, and I felt like I was in a Lamaze class while I battled upward. Pete following gracefully and soon he began swearing his way up the aptly named Cussin' Crack. The Flake Pitch proved to be a nice change of pace from the seemingly endless offwidths, and the Chockstone Chimney put us on a nice ledge next to the Jump Traverse. I had been attempting to pump myself to jump the traverse, but after clipping the pin I couldn't make myself do it. Pete and I soon sat watching John follow the traverse and to our astonishment, he launched himself over the gap. After laughing about John's acrobatics, we unroped and soloed up the "3rd class" to the broad summit. Taking the view in was splendid, and it was made better that we had it all to ourselves. After taking our fill, we decided to leave and were thankful that the rappels all went smoothly back to the base. As we hiked back and went to the visitor's center, we heard about ticks being out in full force so we decided to check. To my horror, I had one embedded on my chest and Pete also had one on his leg. Disgusted and feeling itchy all over, we loaded back in and made the drive home. Devil's Tower had proved quite a weekend trip and will be something I am sure I'll return to someday.




Don't let the easy rating fool you. This is not a route for a budding 5.6 climber and it will likely spit you out if you can't lead harder than the rating. That said, it is a fun (although grunty) climb and well worth doing. The pitches are short but 2 ropes are required to rappel the route.

Set of nuts
Double C4s: 0.5, 0.75, 1, 2
Single C4s: 3, 4, 5, 6 **The wide gear could be done without if you are willing to run it out at the cruxes.**
TCUs: 1, 2, 3, 4 **These could likely be done without.**
6 shoulder-length runners
6 quickdraws


More photos can be found here.


  • Comments or Questions

Love it...     05/13/2013 13:14
This is great...day looked perfect.


Rock on     05/13/2013 16:24
Nice work on one of the 50 classics! Was the 'jump' obligatory, or can it be carefully traversed? I'd always seen the contemporary rating for this route at 5.7, though an old school rating at that, and maybe more like 5.8 according to some.

Brian C

Joe -     05/13/2013 17:10
The jump can be avoided by a few moves of 5.8 or can use the piton to go at 5.6 A0.


Great Job!     05/14/2013 11:46
Nice job, I've been wanting to get up to the tower for a while now!!!

Skip Perkins

Great Job     07/02/2013 23:33
I couldn't get myself to do the jump traverse so we went up Bailey Direct instead. Nice climb and your trip report brought good memories.

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