Little Known Facts About Devils Tower

To Native Americans it is called Mato Tipila, meaning the Bear Lodge. To modern day tourist is is called Devils Tower. To climbers is is known for its remarkable lines. Weather it is  the classic Durrance Route or the notable El Matador stem climbers flock to Wyoming every year to face the epics found on the Tower. For most climbers it is not just about the climbs or the summit; it is about the history, the culture the stories to tell about our world. Climbers just get to experience the world a little different then the modern day tourist.

So, to help educate the outdoor world on some of those unanswered questions about Devils Tower we have compiled a list of fun fast that everyone should know before setting that first had jam up the Tower.

In no particular order, here’s the lowdown about Devils Tower and the answers to some common questions about the strangely unique landmark.

•    From its base, the Devils Tower is more than four football fields tall. 867 feet from the base to the summit above the Belle Fourche River.

•    The tower is made up of mostly hexagonal columns, but some have as few as four or as many as seven sides.

•    Devils Tower was the first National Monument in the United States – declared as such in 1906 by President Teddy Roosevelt.

•    In that proclamation signed by Roosevelt, the apostrophe in “Devil’s” was mistakenly left out, so the form signed by the president named the monument “Devils Tower,” with no apostrophe. The typo was never corrected and the spelling stuck.

•   The small, colored bundles of cloth that are often seen around the base of Devils Tower are sacred offerings left by American Indian tribes. The tower is a cultural and religious focal point for several different tribes. American Indians have regarded the Tower as a sacred site long before climbers found their way to the area. American Indian people have expressed concerns over recreational climbing at Devils Tower. Some perceive climbing on the Tower as a desecration to their sacred site. It appears to many American Indians that climbers and hikers do not respect their culture by the very act of climbing on or near the Tower. A key element of the 1995 Climbing Management Plan and 2006 update is the June Voluntary Climbing Closure. The National Park Service has decided to advocate this closure in order to promote understanding and encourage respect for the culture of American Indian tribes who are closely affiliated with the Tower as a sacred site. June is a culturally significant time when many (not all) ceremonies traditionally occur. Although voluntary, this closure has been very successful – resulting in an 80% reduction in the number of climbers during June.

•    During June, the NPS asks climbers to voluntarily refrain from climbing on the     Tower and hikers to voluntarily refrain from scrambling within the inside of the Tower Trail Loop. Please strongly consider the closure when planning a climbing trip to Devils Tower. Alternative climbing areas are located within 100 miles of Devils Tower National Monument. The Access Fund fully supports the voluntary closure and the Climbing Management Plan at Devils Tower.

•    More than 150 rock climbing routes have been established on Devils Tower.

•    The top of the tower was first reached by two local cowboys who constructed a wooden ladder system and attached it to the side of the tower. Remnants of the wooden ladder can still be seen on the side of the formation.

•    In the 1980s, the late Todd Skinner,free soled the Walk Bailey route in 18 minutes.

The Tower is truly a climbers dream and filled with some amazing culture. I hope you plan a trip the the tower this summer, but lets all be respectful to the Native American and the culture that surrounds this remarkable landmark. Cheers

For more great infromation about climbing Devils Tower check out: www.adventurechronicles.net

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