Type: Trad, 300 ft, 2 pitches, Grade II
FA: Dave Gallagher, Jack Morehead '56
Page Views: 10,356 total · 48/month
Shared By: Andrew Gram on May 23, 2001
Admins: Peter Gram, Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

You & This Route

75 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: June Voluntary Climbing Closure and Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


An excellent route that is the probably the easiest way to the top of the tower. Both pitches are long and fairly sustained, and the second is easily one of the best moderate hand cracks on the tower.

Follow the Ramp around a prominent corner. You'll see a nice double finger crack in a dihedral(Soler), a bush crack(Todtmoos), and then this beauty.

Pitch 1 starts out as face climbing with good gear to a wide crack. Thrash up the wide crack(crux) to a semi-hanging belay. 165' 5.7

Pitch 2 climbs the beautiful hand and finger crack to the Meadows. This is one of the finest easy pitches on the tower. 150' 5.6

An easy but exposed scramble up the 4th class Meadows gains the top, and use the Meadows rappels to descend.


Standard rack, extra 3-4.5" cams. The wide part is hard to protect without several #4 Friends and a #4 Camalot.
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
TAD climbs very near the left edge of this picture. The Meadows is the low angle broken looking area near the top left corner of the tower. Jul 9, 2002
Beware, while Soler, to the left of this climb, has a great bolted belay at the top of pitch 1, Tad, at least when I climbed it a couple years ago, has only a crappy lose chock stone with slings around it. Bring enough extra gear to back this thing up. It's not a solid anchor. Also, the off-width 1st pitch will try to spit you out every inch of the way up. If you're not an off-width climber, this may not be the best place to learn. I watched a party abort this climb last year only about 40 feet up, leaving a perfectly good cam to lower down from. My partner picked it up a couple hours later on the way down. If you can deal with all this though, the 2nd pitch is pure fun. Aug 15, 2002
The conventional ratings in previous guides have pitchs one and two as 5.7, in fact Rypkema's guide rated pitch one as 5.5. It seemed to me that pitch one was a lot of face climbing and very little if any offwidth, certainly not like BHV's first pitch. In addition, pitch two is much more sustained than the first. No question that the worst thing about this otherwise stellar climb is the first belay. Dec 3, 2003
Personally, I laugh when I am told that a party is going to climb this route. Just because it is old does by no means make it a classic ... well maybe a classic bomb. Even though Soler and El Cracko have harder ratings they are easier over the long haul. I have been told it is better for those who have the gifting of hieght. My wife and I did this once (she cussed nearly the whole way up and she RARELY cusses) and will never do this climb again. If it is on your tick list ... reconsider. Aug 17, 2004
Brad Boner  
While TAD isn't the greatest climb on the Tower, it certainly isn't the worst. The second pitch is well worth the slog through the first. Not fantastic by any means, but worth doing if you have a day of climbing and you're in the Solar/El Cracko area. So which route will I have to defend next, Chad? Does Valdez Overhang suck ass? Is Babba Cool not so cool? Bring it on! (please note the good humor in these statements). Aug 18, 2004
For the grade, T.A.D. is a wonderful outing on Devils Tower.The crack is a bit wide but offers great training for those whom are willing to expand their quiver of techniques. Aug 18, 2004
Paul Huebner
Portage, WI
Paul Huebner   Portage, WI
I agree with Jim. What off-width? I remember mostly face climbing on the first pitch and as far as needing lots of large (#4) cams, I left my one #4 Friend at the semi-hanging belay so I didn't have to drag it up the 2nd pitch (see below description of my belay anchor). The 2nd pitch is sustained 5.7 and the hardest (jamming) moves I remember were at the very top.

This not the best route for your first lead on the Tower since you have to construct your own belay when you reach the jammed/somewhat loose chockstone. Looking over at the anchors for Solar made me drool. But while standing on the chockstone, I placed a #3 and #3.5 Friend and a large nut above for my anchor, including my #4 Friend below for an upward pull. The worst part was while belaying up my second my feet were killing me. Do the Durrance and then maybe try this one. May 4, 2005
John Parnigoni
Golden, CO
John Parnigoni   Golden, CO
I went up this using doubles of camalots #.75-#3 and didnt have to run it out. A #3.5 could of been handy but not necessary.

The crack does get pretty wide but I found great fist and hand jamms all the way-- with rests. Sep 8, 2005
John Gunnels
Gillette, WY
John Gunnels   Gillette, WY
Ummm.... let's see.... oh yeah...

TAD SUCKS... Apr 8, 2006

I'll agree with John G that the First Pitch and the hanging belay on TAD SUCKS!!

but the 2nd pitch is a lot more fun!

not saying I'd do it again though!! Apr 10, 2006
Nathan Toothman
Mokuleia, HI
Nathan Toothman   Mokuleia, HI
First pitch is great, better and longer than it looks from the ground, the offwidth section near the top of the first pitch is short lived as holds on the left open up quickly.

The second pitch is long, sustained and will be memorable. I think the guide book description about this being a "easy" pitch isn't quite correct, hardest 5.6 I've ever done. The last pitch requires a lot of hands/off hands sized gear, we couldn't find many placements for smaller gear. The jams are flaring and less than eloquent, wear pants and be prepared for battle.

Be careful of not getting your rope stuck in El Cracko on the rappel to the right. Apr 11, 2006
Vince MacMillan
Dolores, CO
Vince MacMillan   Dolores, CO
BETA: You might want to keep at least one 3" cam in reserve for the Capital 'S' Schmankey Hanging Belay. But only if trusting two lives to a single chockstone makes you nervous ((shudder)). Apr 18, 2006
Nathan Fisher
St George
Nathan Fisher   St George  
Well, just got back from the Tower and we chose Tad as our means to break into and top out on the Tower. Thoroughly enjoyed it. First pitch, like most before me have said, was the odd fist/hand/offwidth moves, but good face holds to break them up. The 2nd pitch just kept coming at me. Consistent and long, with nary a comfortable rest. Well worth the flight for one long route. Oct 8, 2006
John Korfmacher
Fort Collins, CO
John Korfmacher   Fort Collins, CO
This is a very good route; I'm not too sure about it being the "easiest" route on the Tower.

P1-thought this was the better of the two pitches; the OW is short but is passed easily with some stemming. A #4 is helpful at the crux; if you're comfortable shuffling it a bit, you won't need more than one. Stand on top of the chockstone for the belay.

P2-very stout indeed for the given grade of 5.6; I think it would be a 5.8 at most other crags. There are few good rests, and the top is steep, sustained, and a little dirty. I had three #2 Camalots and could have used another. Mid-size hexes are useful on the lower part of this pitch--conserve your cams for higher up where the rock is uneven.

Overall the difficulty of the route is size-dependent. I found it fairly rated at a stiff 5.7 with excellent jamming. My partner S. Costello has smaller hands and shorter arms; at times she couldn't reach far enough back in the crack to jam, and even when she could, she found the jams insecure and very strenuous. Jul 9, 2009
Frank Sanders called this route, a "CLUSTER****" I am in complete agreement with his assessment...and wear a long sleeve shirt and pants if you want to have any skin left Aug 20, 2009
El Cracko is a much finer route. Instead of having to reach deep into a wide crack for the hand crack, El Cracko is sweet all the way. Jun 2, 2010
Jon Stein
North Vancouver, BC
Jon Stein   North Vancouver, BC
I found this climb harder than the 5.7 it is rated. I did not enjoy the route as it was dirty, and a bit too off widthy for my taste. At least my jams were not really fitting for me anyways. I thought it would be a great easy route to lead as a beginner Trad Climber and I had a much better and easier time leading Soler 5.9 just left of this Tad route. I am happy to tick it off my list as a never again route. Sep 3, 2010
Sean Nelb
Indian Creek
Sean Nelb   Indian Creek
Every season this route sees traffic from people attracted by doing two pitches of 5.7 to the summit. The majority of them bail off the first pitch anchor or leave gear below. How do you want to ruin your day? Sep 15, 2012
Clay Cundy
Gillette, WY
  5.7 R
Clay Cundy   Gillette, WY
  5.7 R
Building an anchor on the sketchy chock stone and belaying from that point is a horribly uncomfortable experience. The second pitch has a decent crack that was fun but it didn't make up for the crappy belay. So yeah I agree with John Gunnels TAD sucks. Mar 30, 2013
Will Stat
Will Stat  
"Tiring, Annoying, Depressing"

The belay at the top of the first pitch is the embodiment of all these adjectives. The first pitch really is a slog, the handcrack is way deep in there and requires groveling the whole way. Not on the repeat list. Did soler, got happy. Jun 17, 2013
Mark Orsag
Omaha, NE
Mark Orsag   Omaha, NE
Didn't think this one was nearly as unpleasant as a lot of other folks do... Feb 21, 2014
Jason Todd
Cody, WY
Jason Todd   Cody, WY
Take a #5 or two for the crux wide at the top of P1, forget about face climbing trickery to the left to avoid the wide. Embrace it!
The belay sucks, but all things worthwhile require a bit of suffering. The reward comes on P2 with straight in perfect hands for 100'+. Sep 14, 2014
Lucas Barth
Yosemite, CA
Lucas Barth   Yosemite, CA
I thought this route was pretty enjoyable. Yeah, the belay at the top of first pitch is kinda uncomfortable, but the climbing is good. Even my girlfriend with tiny hands enjoyed this, and led the crux pitch. Don't build an anchor off the chockstone, but about 5 feet above. May 15, 2016
J Wallis  
Good old fashioned fun. It might feel a bit hard, but there are no technically difficult moves it's just a bit physical. Also, I managed to get a good anchor with medium sized cams and nuts above the chockstone, it was bomber even if a bit tight for a party of three. Oct 9, 2016
Ben Henson
Denver, CO
Ben Henson   Denver, CO
I am surprised by all the one stars! I thought this route was classic. perfect hand crack and the offwidth just adds a little spice to the route. The crack is pretty polished so no need to tape up for it. Oct 12, 2017