Elevation: 4,358 ft
GPS: 44.59, -104.717 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 612,284 total · 2,990/month
Shared By: Peter Gram on Jun 29, 2002 with improvements by Lucas Barth and 4 others
Admins: Peter Gram, Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg
Access Issue: June Voluntary Climbing Closure and Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


Devils 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 are 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 rappelling. Fixed anchors are numerous. The rock quality is poor for the last 100 feet of the tower or so. Most parties who summitrap 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 rappelled 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 of 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.


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!

133 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Devils Tower Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at Devils Tower

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Trad 6 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Bon Homme Variation
Trad 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
El Cracko Diablo
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Assembly Line
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Walt Bailey
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Tulgey Wood
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
New Wave
Trad 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
McCarthy West Face (Variant)
Trad 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Broken Tree
Trad 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Belle Fourche Buttress
Trad 2 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Hollywood & Vine
Trad 2 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
One Way Sunset
Trad 4 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
El Matador
Trad 5 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Mr. Clean
Trad 3 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Durrance Durrance Approach
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 6 pitches
Bon Homme Variation S & E Faces
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 3 pitches
El Cracko Diablo S & E Faces
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Soler S & E Faces
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Assembly Line E & Northeast Buttres…
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Walt Bailey S & E Faces
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Tulgey Wood W Face
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
New Wave E & Northeast Buttres…
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 2 pitches
McCarthy West Face (Variant) W Face
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Broken Tree E & Northeast Buttres…
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Belle Fourche Buttress E & Northeast Buttres…
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Hollywood & Vine S & E Faces
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
One Way Sunset W Face
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 4 pitches
El Matador W Face
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 5 pitches
Mr. Clean W Face
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 3 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Devils Tower »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


Mark M.
Fort Collins, CO
Mark M.   Fort Collins, CO
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. Aug 19, 2002
Any beta for camping? Is the park campground usually full? Is there any free primitive camping outside of the park? Aug 20, 2002
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. Sep 8, 2003
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? Apr 13, 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. Apr 14, 2004
Peter Gram
Portland, OR
Peter Gram   Portland, OR  
You can also check out this website for the 2004 season closures:


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. Apr 14, 2004
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
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! Feb 28, 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 Mar 14, 2006
Armin climber
Westminster, CO
Armin climber   Westminster, CO
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. May 15, 2006
jleining   CO
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. Jun 6, 2007
New York, NY
Eastvillage   New York, NY
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? Sep 22, 2007
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
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... Sep 26, 2007
Aaron Costello
Rapid City, SD
Aaron Costello   Rapid City, SD
I saw Conrad Anker at the Tower on Sunday. He's a really nice guy. Oct 29, 2007
Michael Ybarra
on the road
Michael Ybarra   on the road
Any beta on the best months for climbing? Feb 3, 2008
Best seasons are spring and fall, although if you chase the shade, you can avoid the summer heat, its a huge sun dial! Feb 19, 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. Feb 22, 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 Mar 13, 2008
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
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. Mar 14, 2008
San Francisco, Ca
Keegan   San Francisco, Ca
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. Apr 27, 2008
Steve W  
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 Jul 1, 2008
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. Jan 17, 2009
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
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. May 26, 2009
Chris Weber
Boulder, CO
Chris Weber   Boulder, CO
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. May 2, 2010
Jon O'Brien
Jon O'Brien   Nevada
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...


jon May 7, 2010
Top Rope Hero
Was Estes Park, now homeless
Top Rope Hero   Was Estes Park, now homeless
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.


Anybody got the beta on this or other, free, BLM camping for bums? May 17, 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 Aug 25, 2010
John Gunnels
Gillette, WY
John Gunnels   Gillette, WY
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! May 5, 2011
Jon Rhoderick
Redmond, OR
Jon Rhoderick   Redmond, OR
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” Apr 23, 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. Apr 24, 2012
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
I was pretty excited the first time I read that note, too. But its just poorly written. Apr 24, 2012
Clayton Knudson
Moab, UT
Clayton Knudson   Moab, UT
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 Aug 15, 2012
Can somebody tell me more about the meadows top out? Do you need to rope up for it? Sep 17, 2012
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
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. Sep 17, 2012
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
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. Nov 12, 2012
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
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. Nov 12, 2012
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
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. Nov 13, 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! Dec 29, 2012
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. May 30, 2013
Sean Nelb
Indian Creek
Sean Nelb   Indian Creek
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. May 31, 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!! Jul 21, 2013
Will Buckman
Devils Tower
Will Buckman   Devils Tower
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.

W. Aug 2, 2014
Grey Satterfield
Grey Satterfield   Broomfield
Hey, i'm looking to climb Devils Tower in the middle of March. Both campgrounds appear to be closed until May 1st. Any idea on a workaround for that might be?

Thanks! Feb 11, 2015
Logan, UT
Angee   Logan, UT
If I were going in March, I'd stay in Moorcroft or Huelett. Feb 23, 2015
CodyE   Utah
2015 Seasonal Falcon Closure

This year's closure is on the northeast face. Routes inbetween and including Belle Fouche Buttress to Psychic Turbulence are closed. This includes the northeast edges of the tower summit, the north face rappel, and all routes in the popular "teacher's lounge" area. The nesting falcons are being monitored and the closure will remain in place until further notice.

It is now June and climbers are asked to observe the June Voluntary Climbing Closure.

If you have any questions please contact Devils Tower Climbing Ranger Office at 307-467-5283 extention 632.

You can also visitnps.gov/deto/planyourvisit/… for more information.

Devils Tower Climbing Rangers Jun 4, 2015
Yeilor Reyes
Yeilor Reyes   Bogota
Hi, everyone I'm from Colombia and I'm planing to go to there, I'll be there alone trying to found some partners to climb, is easy that? and also found a cheaper camping is easy too? I hope someone can I help me. :D Feb 26, 2016
Andy Koosman
Riverside, CA
Andy Koosman   Riverside, CA
The Black Hills Climbers Coalition has put together a brief survey about the voluntary climbing closure at Devils Tower in June. Please take a minute or two to answer some questions.

surveymonkey.com/r/VWZV3JV Jun 27, 2016
Jeff Chamberlain
Grand Rapids, MI
Jeff Chamberlain   Grand Rapids, MI
In a few wks my family & I are going to be at the tower for half a day. My wife and kids (ages 8&9) just started climbing this year. I'm not looking to summit on this trip, most of the info I read talks about entire routes. Any recommendations on some fun climbs near the base that would be good for them? (my primary climbing goal on this trip is to have my wife enjoy the experience, so we can go on more trips in the future)

Jeff Jul 17, 2016
Jason Todd
Cody, WY
Jason Todd   Cody, WY
The South Face Lower Buttress area will be your best bet for some top roping with only half a day to climb. The area is easy to get to and should be relatively free of climbers above you. There are a lot of 5.7-5.9 routes/variations. Jul 17, 2016
Emily Pons
Johnson City, TN
Emily Pons   Johnson City, TN
On July 22nd or 23rd I lost 4 small black diamond nuts sizes #4,5,6,7 on a carabiner. Each on the nuts and the carabiner are marked with neon orange duct tape. I believe that they fell out of the car in the devils tower log parking lot when I was racking up for a climb. Would love to have them back! If you have found these please reply. Aug 20, 2016
It has been said that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. I was a participant at Devils Tower in those days of the initiation of the Devils Tower Climbing Management Plan Circa 1994. I have had several requests to post my experience of those times here on Mt. Project where such evidence may have some form of long lasting existence and posting it here does help to level the playing field as to whose words are heard on this matter as I cannot with my limited resources compete with mega battle DETO NPS agents will to do to ignore history and change what the constitution permits. You may learn there is a complete denial by USPS DETO of the Constitutional Rights granted to us.

We hear this again: Why doesn't the voluntary closure work?

Bottom line: Andy Petefish commercial guide took the original ruling of the NPS to federal court circa 1996? in Casper, WY. Judge Dowes ruled that the tower can never be closed to climbing due to religious reasons -- see ruling Badoni vs Higginson

complete text:


a version from sacredland.org


We had to drag their NPS asses to court before they would consider the meaning of the ruling Badoni v Higginson.

The voluntary closure does work. I decide what I want to do & when. I do not have to obey the lip service the NPS pays to 7 Indian Tribes that cannot agree on anything. The Park Service created in house the idea of a climbing closure back in 1992 as something to do for the Native Americans. It was not any form of a mandate from any of the Indian Tribes associated with Devils Tower historically or through their living representatives. It is another Park Service mess create by then Supt. Deb Ligget who could not comprehend the meaning of the 1st Amendment -- Devils Tower is not an Indian Reservation.

Seven Indian tribes that cannot agree on anything -- Danny Rosen and I guided about seven Indians from Minnesota up the Tower during the closure. These boys and girls could care less what the Sioux Indians think of climbing in June as they are still bitter enemies.

Climbing the Tower in June is no violation of the law. Nor does it constitute disrespect for Indians. It is just disrespect for a slight of hand ruling the Park Service has made.

The Tower cannot and will not be closed to climbing for any form of non compliance to the NPS voluntary ruling per Judge Dowes ruling based on Badoni v Higginson. So choose your climbing date as you please -- there will be no backlash. Again this is Federal Property open to the public. It is not an Indian Reservation.

The government is known for many bookkeeping tricks. If the NPS wants to see more compliance for the closure then move the closure from June to the period December 15 to Jan 15 of the next year. May 17, 2017
Ken M,

The AGREEMENT was voluntary. The action agreed to in the agreement, was to not climb.

Climbers stated, voluntarily, that "I will not climb in the month of June"

From what you have said it seems you do not know much of what went on at DETO during that part of the management plan and you are flatly wrong on how the word voluntary came about. We climbers never stated such an utterance.

There was never an agreement [like you suggest] reached with climbers and the Park administration. The admin had a list of several climbing management alternatives and said they were going with the voluntary closure, but that anyone could climb. Then they prohibited guided climbing in June and that is where Andy Petefish comes into play. I pointed out to him the case of Badoni and he then rounded up a high profile case law attorney pro bono.

Of the 804 unanimous letters against closing the tower in June to climbing[ from climbers?] during the comment period mine was number one. My letter stated that by law from the case of Badoni v. Higginson it would be illegal to close the tower to climbing for religious reasons. They tried to tell the climbing group this ruling did not apply to National Monuments and they used many other scapegoat tactics.

Up until I pointed this case law out to the Park Service we climbers had no known bargaining power against the Park Service. So to speak this case law paved our street to go where we wanted. After I firmly pointed this out to them and so did Lawyer Charley Anderson the park service dropped their one plan of a mandatory closure and inserted the word voluntary to one of their alternatives.

Petefish's attorney & case also challenged the use of the word "voluntary". Judge Dowes ruled that the Park Service could call their closure whatever they wanted but they could not ever close climbing on the Tower for religious reasons. Petefish did win the right to guide in June.

There was never any consensus among climbers for the closure as you suggest and do take note that a string of 804 letters were unanimously against the closure before any support of such a closure was penned to DETO as comment during the comment period. May 17, 2017
Here is another interesting disclosure that happened at the start of the Climbing Management Group. The team was to consist of 2 climbing group's representatives and 2 Native Americans and others that I have forgotten. The Park Service got two Native Americans form the seven associated tribes that claim past interest in the Tower.

While at the first Management Plan Meeting the two Native American Representatives said they had no problem with climbers on the Tower during their Spiritual Quest which took place in a zoned off [to visitors and hikers] region of the NW corner of the Tower. The NPS then ask one of the members to step down and they would seek another Native American with an opposing view. They got a high profile "rabble rouser" Native American from Oklahoma to come since he would have an opposing view.

The Oklahoma native [not of the seven associated tribes] got the Pine Ridge Sioux woman to change her view and so there were now 2 Native Americans against climbing on the Tower. The NPS had created the deck they wanted -- opposing views. I grew up 40 miles from where the woman lived and did get a chance to talk with her as I felt having grown up with families she knew like the Short Bulls, Truebloods and Braves she might be willing to talk to me. She was a little shy but at best seemed luke warm to the new idea she was to go with that of closing the tower to climbing. The pace of communicating with her was slow like most tribal peoples but the pace of the Oklahoma Native was rapid as he had an agenda.

Climber Carl Coy was the Access Fund Representative and he became a turncoat against climbing interests. Bob Archbolt was the other representative from the Black Hills Climbing Coalition. He had little interest in such sittings and negotiations and maybe little skill in keeping his sights on target. With agents like these two representing our interests Charley Anderson, Paul Duval, Hollis Marriott and I became the vocal public at large against the climbing plan.

We immediately set out writing a cogent and concise flyer letter with the exact aim to get action -- namely climbers sending letters to DETO protesting the plan. We were highly successful -- 800 letters in 2 months. After achieving this success I gained a hot line to the Access Fund. They could "never achieve such a response from the Public" how did we do it? We will pay your receipt proof expenses but to save face we cannot hold your point of view was the gist.

We all agreed to the plan as the meaning of the word voluntary is to be construed as a choice of no consequences. Latter agents of Park Service would threaten us as they were not seeing climbing numbers in June vanish. Judge Dowes's ruling that the Tower would never be closed to climbing for religious reasons made the meaning of the word voluntary to be construed as a choice of no consequences.

From Donini:

It's been my experience that climbers should be proactive in building good relationships with the land managers of the public lands where climbing exists.

I ask of this: Who has the last say in land management?

To make sense of his casual statement think of it this way: The agency of land management having the final say in land management in regard to climbing is the courts. Work with them if you have to. The NPS was told early on about Badoni v Higginson but they ignored us. There is no mention of Badoni v. Higginson in the Climbing Management Plan.

Remember this: The agencies of land management can do whatever they want until taken to court. Court action is likely proof whether they comply with the law as land managers sometimes have no intention of working with you -- behind that smiling face they carry their agenda. May 17, 2017
from luquitos,

from the Devils Tower Climbing Management Plan [CMP]

"It is within the existing authority of the monument Superintendent to close areas to certain activities to protect natural and cultural resources."

"The NPS maintains that future management actions could take place including a mandatory closure. The mandatory closure language is present to show that we are seriously committed to protecting a cultural resource and to acknowledge American Indian concerns. The NPS has the authority to implement a mandatory June closure, but hopes this will not be necessary."

What this statements from the CMP fails to note is that Supt Deb Ligget tried to use the cultural argument in the Petefish case. Judge Dowes said this case is not a cultural issue but it is a religious dispute. He told Deb Ligget to drop the subject of cultural issues.

The NPS land surrounding Devils Tower was/is for any measure devoid of any cultural artifacts[a personal talk with Dr Frisen retired head of UW Archeology & State Archeologist]. There are zero cultural artifacts on the sides or top of Devils Tower.

Edit: {Except the Stake Ladder is considered cultural as point out to me by WyoRockMan.}

The document luquitos cited is outdated and/or intentionally failed to make reference to the court case as it makes no reference to some very strict rulings the Federal Judiciary Court of Dowes imposed on Climbing/Regulations at Devils Tower. In other words the argument of cultural resource destruction has little meaning for Native Americans spiritual practices being bothered by climbers on the Tower as the court insists these are religious issues and not cultural issues.

In early court cases of religious practice interferences the courts have ruled that background effects cannot be construed as a prevention of a person to practice his religion. For example a church on a noisy street cannot close the public street on Sunday because the traffic noises interfere with the quietness they need for their religious practices.

Based on these interpretations the Native Americans or Park Service have no legal grounds to claim that climbers on the sides of Devils Tower are preventing Native Americans from practicing their religion. In other words they have to tolerate far visual infringements and noises like a jet airliner flying over head as they do not prevent them from practising their religion.

Supt Deb Ligget was also unsuccessful in initiating an argument that the Tower was the [their unique?] very monument the Native Americans needed for their religious practices and it had to be free of any other people's presence.

For more judiciary thinking on allowable infringements to one's religious practices see Badoni v. Higginson and some other cases have good discussions on this matter.

It looks like when you practise your religion you cannot have it such that when you look out a window there can be no one in the view. But you do have the freedom to build your church without windows. May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 - 05:57am PT

Thanks for the update on cultural artifacts in and around DETO.

Again, the Dowes court that set the framework of this settlement argument has said this is a religious dispute and not the NPS's CMP case of cultural infringement. All the cultural artifacts mean nothing for this case. For the purpose of religious practices on Federal property other than Indian Reservations all parties have equal access and they are subject to noises and visual impacts of other parties doing whatever practices on this property.

Without a doubt climbers have been singled out on the issue of infringement because they were the lowest hanging fruit. de facto: The Park Service decides to have a climbing Management Plan and not a Tourist Management Plan. But, so be it. The type of action like climbers on the side of Tower by all court cases of infringement of religious practices have sighted with sustaining the distant action.

Supt Deb Liggett tried to advance the argument that Devils Tower was the Native Americans Temple but the Dowes Court did not buy this argument as having in any power in the decision of the case. Dr. Frisen assured me there were no such artifacts on the NPS Devils Tower Grounds to construe that Devils Tower was such a temple if you will.

Within Federal Public Lands we are all bound to the makings of the US Constitution and it's case law. Why do the seemingly uniformed Devils Tower NPS agents try to make us climbers do? [Volunteering is ok] something other than what the law permits them to do. We do not see this kind of pseudo regulatory action happening at Rainbow Bridge National Monument where the case of Badoni v. Higginson arose. I use the adjective pseudo here to mean threats of closure that have no grounds.

The number of climbers since 1994 has risen dramatically. How about normalizing your data for this effect?

c wilmont,

I find the European mentality of needing artifacts in order to confer cultural/spiritual importance to a certain place odd.
Perhaps the natives had a different mindset?

Would you leave trash at a place of spiritual importance to you?

Interesting debate going on

This country is not a country of Europe. The jump to Plymouth Rock had its reasons.

The Native Americans using Devils Tower Lands for a Spiritual Gathering have left many items we white boys consider trash.

to wit: one car engine, car batteries, beer cans, eating utensils, clothing, electronic devices, mattresses, blankets, food, dead animals and other garbage that the maintenance division of DETO cleaned up. Is the Spiritual Practice at DETO a car cleaning ritual?

But having grown up very close to Pine Ridge, South Dakota this dumping action of Native Americans comes as no surprise.

And there you have it: Trash is the evidence of a temple. May 18, 2017
Lucas Barth
Yosemite, CA
Lucas Barth   Yosemite, CA
The 2017 Falcon closure has been changed. As of today, May 27th, closed routes are from Hollywood and Vine to Belle Fourche Buttress. Popular routes that are closed include Hollywood and Vine, Soler, TAD, El Cracko Diablo, Dusk in Dogtown, Casper College, Burning Daylight, and Belle Fourche Buttress. The park website has been updated with a full list of closed routes


The previously closed area on the N. side has been re-opened with the exception of Belle Fourche Buttress. Routes will re-open when the park biologists determine that the falcon chicks have successfully fledged. May 27, 2017
Lucas Barth
Yosemite, CA
Lucas Barth   Yosemite, CA
See the full discussion about the June closure, referred to by Dennis' above posts here:




Devils Tower Climbing Management Plan:


For questions, beta, and up to date information on Devils Tower climbing information feel free to call the climbing ranger office at (307)467-5283 ext. 632. May 27, 2017
Lucas Barth
Yosemite, CA
Lucas Barth   Yosemite, CA
The 2017 Falcon closure is lifted today, Wednesday, August 2nd at 12pm. All routes on the tower will be open after 12pm. Thanks to climbers for respecting the closure and allowing two chicks to successfully fledge.

- The climbing rangers Aug 2, 2017
Bill Atkinson
Cambridge, MA
Bill Atkinson   Cambridge, MA
Wyoming Towers: East Ridge of Wolf's Head/Devil's Tower wp.me/p6Isot-bF
With notes on the 50th anniversary of the Sturgis Rally (Harley hogs). Mar 29, 2018
PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB HERE IN THE MONTH OF JUNE. While it does not give reason for the "Voluntary" closure of climbing areas in June it is so that Native Americans from local tribes can practice their sacred rituals in the month of June. Climbing during these is considered not just rude but ruins their practice. One leader compared it to climbing on a crucifix in a church. Thank you in advance for respecting those here before us. Jul 6, 2018
FEEL FREE TO CLIMB HERE IN THE MONTH OF JUNE. The Native American nations currently in the area were not here “before us”, most migrated in during the 18th century, pushed by other nations further east who had better access to European guns and technology. You’ll hear clap-trap about the current nations being here “for millennia”, but that’s ahistorical myth. Jul 26, 2018
Adam Brink
on the road
Adam Brink   on the road
Lucien Devorros, your comments shows a very limited, white-centric understanding of Native American tribes and their history. The different tribes of the northern Great Plains have migrated, fought, intermarried and moved across the region for thousands of years. The tribes that are in the area now certainly have a strong genetic and cultural connection to the tribes that have been there “for millennia”. Their claim to the area is vastly more legitimate than any you can stake. Jul 27, 2018
i think lucien's family tree has probably been a straight line since the 18th century.... Jul 27, 2018
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
youtube.com/watch?v=oDYoV8-… Youtube version of some DT history 1 day ago