Saturday, August 14, 2010

Devil's tower Durrance route, 5.6/5.7 - August 8, 2010

Devil's tower description by

"In native American mythology, it was formed by a giant bear scraping its claws against the sides in an attempt to reach people on top. Modern rational inquiry yielded the more prosaic explanation that the tower is the heart of an ancient volcano, the slowly crystallized stone core that, due to the crystalline nature of the cooling magma, formed four- to six-sided columns of phonolite porphyry, a very hard and erosion-resistant rock that has remained as the surrounding landscape eroded away."

The Durrance route is probably the most popular route on Devil's tower. It consists of 6 pitches stretching about 412'. We also added in a 5.5 approach pitch which was about another 30-40'. The official climb is described as follows: P1 is the "Leaning Column", 80' of 5.6; P2 is Durrance Crack 72' of 5.7 (crux pitch); P3 is Cussin' Crack 30', 5.5; P4 is Flake Crack 40' 5.5; P5 is Chockstone Crack 40' 5.4; P6 Bailey Direct 150' of 5.6 and 3rd class scramble.

We slept in and didn't get to the Monument until 1 pm. While we had our hearts set on Durrace, we thought the late start might mean finishing in the dark, so we were thinking we would just check out the park and do a short climb. But, the ranger/climbing station turned out to be very helpful. They had a free topo of the routes and told us that the entire Durrance route had bolted belays! Since it would be easy enough to rappel off at any time, we grabbed our ropes and went for it. We started climbing at about 2 pm and we on the summit by 7 pm.

The start of the first pitch.
Anja leading up the leaning column.
Nice rest on the column
Comfy belays!
Pigeons were everywhere this one was very curious of us at our belay.
Ken enjoying the views
Anja following the squeeze chimney and chockstone chimney pitches.

Anja headed up the 5.4 chimney pitch. This was the crux for Anja as she struggled with the moves in this chimney.
Anja took the last pitch too through some 5.6 airy moves past a piton.

The summit!
4 long raps put us on the ground with just enough time to hike out without headlamps. It was physical climbing but a great route!

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