Voluntary Closure Every June and Seasonal Falcon Closures MORE INFO >>>
April 11, 2014: Devils Tower National Monument temporarily closed climbing routes on the west face and the northwest shoulder of Devils Tower to protect nesting prairie falcons. Over one hundred and fifty climbing routes remain open on the Tower. Such temporary closures are an annual occurrence at Devils Tower established under the 1995 Climbing Management Plan, with authority from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This closure affects 20 routes on the west face and northwest shoulder of the Tower. Prairie falcons have also been observed near the “Window” on the east face. Climbing and rappel routes between and including “Leaping Lizards” and “Deli Express” are currently closed, and the summit edge above these routes is also closed to climbers. “The closure is implemented not only to protect the birds, but also to protect climbers, as prairie falcons are known to defensively dive in order to protect their nests,” said Rene Ohms, Chief of Resource Management. The presence of climbers near or above falcon nests is distressing to parent birds, and disturbance from climbing activities may force falcons to abandon eggs or chicks. Climbers are asked to report any defensive falcon behavior to a park ranger or call 307-467-5283.
“Failure to comply with the temporary closure may result in a fine and or 6 months in jail. All climbers must register at the climbing office before they begin their ascent,” said Drew Gilmour, Chief of Law Enforcement. Please check at the climbing office for a list of all climbing routes which have been temporarily closed.
To learn more about Devils Tower National Monument, contact 307-467-5283, visit us online at www.nps.gov/deto
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
Devil's Tower crams a high concentration of great cracks into the smallest area possible. People come from around the world to climb on this unique wonder. Climbing is sustained, and cracks are beautiful and uniformly shaped. Essentially, there is a crack every 5 or 10 feet, and they mostly run perfectly up and down, which reduces rope drag. The majority of the tower is less than vertical, and faces are blank. There are few face climbs, but who needs them with all these splitter cracks?
The easiest route to the summit is Durrance, which is stout 5.6. In general, climbs that are 5.8 and under tend to be offwidths, 5.9 are hand cracks, and 5.10 are finger cracks. There is too many classics to list. However, check out Assembly Line, Walt Bailey, and Soler for 5.9. For 5.10, go to One-Way Sunset, Hollywood & Vine, and Tulgey Wood.
Many routes are best done by climbing the first few pitches and then rappeling. Fixed anchors are numerous. The rock quality is poor for the last 100 feet of the tower or so. Most parties who summit do so through the Meadows area. This is the ledgy area that is a small distance below the summit on South face of the tower. Climbs such as Durrance, Wiessner, Bon Homme, Walt Bailey, and Soler use this. From the meadows, follow a 4th class chimney and ramp system to the summit (some parties rope up).
To descend from the summit, a rap anchor is on the south side. two ropes are required. The summit part can either be rappeled or downclimbed to the meadows (easy, but exposed). Then, 3 two rope rappels are required to get down to the ground. Be careful when rappeling from the meadows -- it is very easy to get your rope hopelessly stuck in the cracks, so rap over the face.
Drive to Sundance, Wyoming, and then take highway 24 north from I-90. Just follow the signs, and drive towards the big chunk or stone. Turn into the monument and pay the entrance fee. Then continue to the visitor's center. From here, make sure to register for the climb (this is free - used for record keeping and rescues, etc.). Then, approaches differ by route from here.
Devil's Tower Climbing - Great site full of useful information, and home to the Devil's Tower Lodge and Guiding service. A fantastic place to stay just minutes from the climbing. Check out their fly-by footage of the tower!
The Durrance route is listed as one of the 50 classic climbs in North America. A 4-6 pitch route that tops out at the summit. The climb is mainly off-width and hand-crack with a few spots of chimney. You also get the choice of working a small traverse. Don't forget to register at the Visitor's Center before and after the climb. This is a crowded route and a few minutes can mean the difference between success and failure. Either plan to arrive around 5:30 AM or, if your fast and have headlamps, t...[more]Browse More Classics in WY
If you do go to the summit (which I would recommend doing only once to sign the book b/c of the poor climbing and rappel) be extremely cautious on the rappels. Not only is it easy to get your ropes stuck, it is also easy to launch big rocks if your ropes do get hung up on something and you pull hard. I've seen this happen several times and with the crowds on Durrance right next to the rap route it is prime territory for a serious accident.
Bring your own drinking water when you come to the Tower. The water in this area of Wyoming tastes like a$$. If you must drink the water, then the ranger station bathroom water is about as good as it gets.
Does anyone know anything about raptor closures on Devil's Tower? I know that the west face is usually closed but does anyone have the specifics. Do they usually reopen if birds don't nest, and when do they usually lift the closures if this is the case?
They have a list of route closers on the Tower at the trailhead near the parking lot. I was there on Sunday and it had quite a few routes on it. If you're looking for specifics, call and talk to climbing ranger Chuck Lindsey. He should be able to tell you about specific routes.
By Peter Gram Administrator From: Park City, UT Apr 14, 2004
You can also check out this website for the 2004 season closures:
Eric, there are climbing bans popping up al;l over the country, and it isnt becasue bolts are bad, but there are so many bad bolters. The tower is one of the most unique places i know of, and with all the cracks, i dont know who would make a visit to climb a sport face route. If you feel that there is a really quality line, go talk to the park service and ask them, if you are respectfull of them the rock, and everyone that frequents the tower, they are more likley to be open minded. look at the garden of the gods or eldo canyon, both have bolting bans, but both consider new lines if they seem like they are worth the dammage to the rock
Was climbing soler on 5/13 and summitted via a unknown route 1 crack system right of bailey's direct, was wondering if anyone knew what that was/rating. The pitch was over 100ft and varied between OW/chimney/face with an exciting overhaning move right at the top. Also was going to grab frank sanders rope for him from his epic the night before (electrical storm during moonlight ascent of the durrance), and some tool coming up the durrance fixed the rope at their belay below us so we could not pull it up. When the guy (said he was from montana, no revelence to his attitude) came up to our belay, said he "would appreciate if he could take the rope to turn it in since I got it unstuck from the crack below") The rope was fixed as a single line rap, I'm assuming because sanders party had to get down quick during the storm, and my partner and I agreed that this guy was was a lying sack of shit about his comment about the rope being stuck from bewlow, and that he was trying to get the rope to: A. keep it for himself or B. turn it in so HE could get the reward that was posted on the climbers board in the parking lot. I am writing this in hopes that the guy DID turn the 70m rope and 2 locking biners in to the park service as the note indicated and him being true to his word. If not unfortuntaley I forgot the guys name, he said he was from somewhere in montona, and was with his girlfriend from greely, co who just graduated from nursing school.
To all the cheap climbing bums out there! especially AC. There is free camping about 11 miles outside of Devil's Tower. Directions are from leaving the park entrance. Leave the park and at the juction turn left toward Hulet, and go less than one mile to a dirt road on the right. Follow the dirt road for about 10 or 11 miles to the Black Hills National Forrest, and please use existing camp sites.
Climbed here in August and I loved it. The Park service had just repaved the campground roads. The camping was excellent. FYI, I heard that there is some "master plan" that will close the camp ground, supposedly because of water pollution to the river that flows through the monument. I heard that this is all pollittically motivated attempt to close a public camp ground. Anyone else know anything?
By Chris treggE Administrator From: Madison, WI Sep 26, 2007
Interesting... Would be surprised to hear that this was politically motivated as most if not all national parks or monuments have public camping. Devil's Tower is a little unique in that there is the Native American connection though. Anyone know any more? It would be a shame if they move the campground as it's such a nice setting along the river...
I climbed the tower summer of 07 in 105 degree heat. It was pleasant in the shade, we started just as the sun got off Durrance in the after noon and did the same deal on Bon Homme. Got to the summit just in time for the sunset! Bring a headlamp.
hello guys, Im brasilian and i am planning go to devils tower, but im alone and i looking for partners to climb there in may. Other think, is possible to camp outside the park but near the rock? thanks
By Chris treggE Administrator From: Madison, WI Mar 14, 2008
Oi, tudo bem amigo. My understanding is that partners are relatively easy to come by at Frank's lodge or maybe at the campground. You can PM him here, look up Frank Sanders. Camping in the park is pretty cheap, maybe $12 a night if I remember right, but for cheaper or free camping, see the post above by jleining. Have fun.
Hey Luiz, When in May are you planning on going to Devil's Tower? I will be passing through there in mid-May and thought I might try finding a partner to do anything from the Durrence Route to El Matador. Let me know.
I am thinkinig about planning a trip to the tower (first time) and was wondering how the weather was in late Sept. or Oct. I was trying to avoid the biggest crowds and would sacrifice some heat for less crowd. When does it get too cold for a fun low-key climbing trip??
Just FYI, if you pick up Zach's book, ignore all the text that describes routes, and only pay attention to the topos and the names and grades at the bottom of them. There are certain raps that you can do with a single 60 or 70m rope (the Exit Us rappels, for instance), but in general, always carry two 60m ropes, most of the rap lengths are NOT ON THE TOPOS.
I consistently had a vastly different rack from Zach's recommendation, as well as different pitch lengths. I know, you can't expect it all to be dead on, but the least you can expect from a guidebook author is to have climbed most of the super-popular routes.
Top Rope, Frank Saunders the guide has developed camping for climbers on his property (at least he was when I was there ~2008). You drive into the park to get there and then a left on a dirt road to his place.
Durrance standard rack: C4's #.3 thru #4. BD Stoppers #4 thru #6. 6 quickdraws and 6 24" runners. The second pitch will accept a #5 C4, but if you pay attention a #4 works fine. Also, many folks use a 4' runner up high in pitch two as well. If you wanna go "old school", a full set of hexcentrics and BD stoppers will also do the trick!
Don't forget the voluntary climbing moratorium during June. It doesn't seem to be mentioned on this page, but out of respect for the Native American tribes in the area, June should be considered off limits. Indian names for Devil's Tower are: Na Kovea (Cheyenne), Mato Tipila (Lakota), T’sou’a’e (Kiowa) which roughly translate into “Lodge of the Bear”
The note at the top of the page that the June closure is being lifted by the park service is confusing. The ban is still in effect for June. I called the park service and they said the voluntary June closure is still in place.
Anybody want to climb on Saturday with a safe partner. I'm Driving back from Yosemite to Fargo, ND and wanted to squeeze one more day in before heading back to no rock land. Wouldn't want to lead more than around 5.9 or 5.10a on this different rock. (701) 399-9661 or email at Clayton.Knudson@gmail.com
Depends on your comfortability with the exposure. We untied, but a party following us did not. Its much MUCH easier than any terrain you have to climb to get to it, and I don't really recall any details about the pro.
Just thought I'd add this here since it's the most general spot for Devils Tower beta. Unlike what Brian says above, the Meadows/Bowling Alley rap route can be done with a single 70, off of bomber, obvious two or three bolt anchors. Zach's guidebook topos don't show all the available stations.
Nick, I was referring specifically to the decent off of Klondike, which is a full 60m. If my partner and I had only packed the 70, we would've had a lot of time to contemplate the mistake. I didn't bother with the Bowling Alley rappels, for obvious reasons.
Sorry, just reread my post and it sounded like I was calling you out! Didn't mean for that, just wanted to make a note in the big overview area about the Meadows/Bowling Alley raps being doable w/ a single 70 since it's the most common descent route for people summiting the Tower.
But I second your comment about not relying on Zach's beta for pitch/rap lengths. Awesome historical photos, decent beta photos, but man, as a guidebook... that thing just falls somewhat short.
sorry that i missed the comments before about camping my wife and I travel as much as possible and only believe in free camping. Among our many travels we climbed at devils tower and camped for free! Exit the park and travel east along the road that is basically across the street and drive on it for 6 or so miles (15-20 mins) the road turns to dirt and mud and cows can be in the road but keep driving and eventually you will see the sign for the camping and there will be a parking spot or 3 for campers. Good luck finding it and be sure to leave no trace!
Hey guys!!! Am heading out to the tower in June and read in the guidebook about the volunteering climbing. Anyone know how serious that is? I don't want to be disrespectful to the natives and customs of the area.
By Sean Nelb From: Grand Junction, CO May 31, 2013
A clarification on this year's falcon closures: routes on the north face from Belle Fourche Buttress to Psychic Turbulence are closed (including those routes). The closure includes the edge of the summit in that area and the rappel routes through that area. Unlike last year, where access to popular routes by Teacher's Lounge was allowed, this year no routes are partially open. Popular routes like New Wave, Broken Tree, Assembly Line, Patent Pending, and McCarthy North are all closed.
Edit: As of 7-12-2013 the closure has been lifted. All climbing routes are open. Enjoy shady afternoons once more.
Had an amazing summit adventure this past weekend on my first outdoor climb! I have to give credit to Felipe at FluxAdventures.com for his help and inspiration as he guided me and my friend to the top.
I'm super excited to start climbing and couldn't be more excited to being a new journey in climbing.
I'd recommend taking a guide if you're a beginner and bring lots of water. It took us about 3.5 hours to reach the summit.