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Devil's Tower

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Durrance Approach 
East and Northeast Buttress Approach 
North Face & Northwest Corner 
South and East Faces 
South Face Lower Buttress 
West Face 
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Devil's Tower  


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Location: 44.59017, -104.71742 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,178,953
Administrators: Peter Gram, Mike Snyder, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Peter Gram on Jun 29, 2002
Forecast:
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A foggy morning at the Tower.

Voluntary Closure Every June and Seasonal Falcon Closures MORE INFO >>>

Description 

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.

Getting There 

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.

Resources 

National Park Service / Devil's Tower site - Check for all the typical NPS stuff - camping, access, etc.

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!

Climbing Season



Weather station 0.5 miles from here

127 Total Routes

['4 Stars',35],['3 Stars',48],['2 Stars',34],['1 Star',10],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',11],['5.8',9],['5.9',13],['5.10',30],['5.11',44],['5.12',13],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Devil's Tower:
Durrance   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 6 pitches, 500'   Durrance Approach
El Cracko Diablo   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches   South and East Faces
Bon Homme Variation   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   South and East Faces
Soler   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 280'   South and East Faces
Walt Bailey   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   South and East Faces
Assembly Line   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   East and Northeast Buttress...
New Wave   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 220'   East and Northeast Buttress...
Tulgey Wood   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   West Face
McCarthy West Face (Variant)   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   West Face
Belle Fourche Buttress   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   East and Northeast Buttress...
Burning Daylight   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 160'   East and Northeast Buttress...
One Way Sunset   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 440'   West Face
Hollywood & Vine   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 270'   South and East Faces
El Matador   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   West Face
Mr. Clean   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 500'   West Face
Carol's Crack   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 320'   West Face
McCarthy's North Face   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   North Face & Northwest Corn...
Direct Southwest   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Durrance Approach
Deli Express   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 3 pitches, 375'   West Face
Digital Extraction   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 3 pitches, 350'   West Face
Browse More Classics in Devil's Tower

Featured Route For Devil's Tower
The 1st 2 Pitches of Durrance

Durrance 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  WY : Devil's Tower : Durrance Approach
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

Photos of Devil's Tower Slideshow Add Photo
Could this be the first ever SNOWMAN on top of DEV...
Could this be the first ever SNOWMAN on top of DEV...
Prairie dog and the Tower.
Prairie dog and the Tower.
Best sunset I've seen at the Tower.
Best sunset I've seen at the Tower.
Devil's Tower.
Devil's Tower.
Devils Tower twilight
Devils Tower twilight
Beautiful Tower Winter!
Beautiful Tower Winter!
Tower sunset after PM storm.
Tower sunset after PM storm.
A less frequently shot view of Devil's Tower, just...
A less frequently shot view of Devil's Tower, just...
Tower at night.
Tower at night.
Clouds over Devils Tower
Clouds over Devils Tower
The North Face
The North Face
Early morning Devil's Tower shot, October 2004
Early morning Devil's Tower shot, October 2004
West face lit by the setting sun.
West face lit by the setting sun.
Larissa Phillips watches a vulture glide by at eye...
Larissa Phillips watches a vulture glide by at eye...
Tower early morning. Spring, 2003.
Tower early morning. Spring, 2003.
As with the rest of the Northern Plains, the Devil...
As with the rest of the Northern Plains, the Devil...
Devil's Tower. Photo by Blitzo.
Devil's Tower. Photo by Blitzo.
Snowman on the Summit
Snowman on the Summit
October 2004 early morning shot.
October 2004 early morning shot.
Perhaps the first ascent with a full bottle of sco...
Perhaps the first ascent with a full bottle of sco...
Tower from the campground.
Tower from the campground.
Devils Tower at night
Devils Tower at night
Rainbow form Franks house
Rainbow form Franks house
Fall colors at the Tower
Fall colors at the Tower

Show All 79 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Devil's Tower Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 2, 2014
By Mark M.
From: Fort Collins, CO
Aug 19, 2002
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.
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 20, 2002
Any beta for camping? Is the park campground usually full? Is there any free primitive camping outside of the park?
By Joe Collins
Sep 8, 2003
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.
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 13, 2004
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?
By Brad Boner
Apr 14, 2004
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: New York, NY
Apr 14, 2004
You can also check out this website for the 2004 season closures:

nps.gov/deto/pphtml/newsdetail...

It details exactly which climbs will be closed and gives a rough timeline. There is also a phone number you can call for more specifics.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Feb 28, 2006
It is a shame that there is a bolting ban at the tower. Have you checked out any of the aretes or faces between the cracks. There would be hundreds of new routes to do!
By BWpete
Mar 14, 2006
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
By Armin
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
May 15, 2006
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.
By jleining
Jun 6, 2007
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.
By Eastvillage
From: New York, NY
Sep 22, 2007
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...
By Aaron Costello
From: Rapid City, SD
Oct 29, 2007
I saw Conrad Anker at the Tower on Sunday. He's a really nice guy.
By Michael Ybarra
From: on the road
Feb 3, 2008
Any beta on the best months for climbing?
By TomKingsbury
Feb 19, 2008
Best seasons are spring and fall, although if you chase the shade, you can avoid the summer heat, its a huge sun dial!
By Tradoholic
Feb 22, 2008
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.
By luiz Coslope
Mar 13, 2008
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.
By Keegan
From: San Francisco, Ca
Apr 27, 2008
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.
By Steve W
Jul 1, 2008
yeah, confirmation. A woman took a fall, i think on El Cracko Diablo, screwed up her ankle, caused a bit of rock-fall. She rapped herself and seemed totally okay
By Christian L
Jan 17, 2009
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??

Thanks for any input.
By Brian Scoggins
From: Eugene, OR
May 26, 2009
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.
By Chris Weber
From: Boulder, CO
May 2, 2010
What are routes 154-176? I don't have the same guidebook... Can someone post the starting route and ending route for this closure?
Thanks.
By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
May 7, 2010
i'm a dog owner road tripping, she sleeps in the car happily if need be, can any one tell me what the camping and climbing scene is like for a dog owner? don't worry, i'm a responsible dog owner...


thanks!!


jon
By Top Rope Hero
From: Was Estes Park, now homeless
May 17, 2010
Hey....so what's the deal at Devil's for camping?

I hear rumor there's some good-timer up there that offers primitive spots for free, for climbers...something outside of the National Park.

True?

Anybody got the beta on this or other, free, BLM camping for bums?
By Tradoholic
Aug 25, 2010
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.

His website here: devilstowerlodge.com
By Mr. Stevens
From: Boulder, CO
May 4, 2011
What is a "standard rack" for the Durrance route?
By John Gunnels
From: Gillette, WY
May 5, 2011
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!
By Jon Rhoderick
Apr 23, 2012
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”
By wilgear
Apr 24, 2012
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.
By Doug Hemken
Administrator
Apr 24, 2012
I was pretty excited the first time I read that note, too. But its just poorly written.
By Clayton Knudson
From: El Portal, CA
Aug 15, 2012
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
By Austin Fisher
Sep 17, 2012
Can somebody tell me more about the meadows top out? Do you need to rope up for it?
By Brian Scoggins
From: Eugene, OR
Sep 17, 2012
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.
By Nick Stayner
From: Billings, MT
Nov 12, 2012
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.
By Brian Scoggins
From: Eugene, OR
Nov 12, 2012
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.
By Nick Stayner
From: Billings, MT
Nov 13, 2012
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.
By Chance Philippi
Dec 29, 2012
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!
By fungi
From: spearfish
Jan 17, 2013
Anchor replacememt anyone?
By Zorider
May 30, 2013
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.
By Darryl H
Jul 21, 2013
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.

Good luck!!
By Will Buckman
From: Devils Tower
Aug 2, 2014
Just a heads up, the 2014 Falcon closure for the west face of Devils Tower is over. Come enjoy the shady side and some sweet cracks!
Thank you climbers for abiding by the closure and allowing a pair of nesting peregrine falcons to successfully fledge two chicks. Those chicks are becoming skilled aviators and are out eating pigeons daily.

There will be an official announcement sent out on Monday.

Cheers,
W.