Type: Trad, 270 ft, 2 pitches
FA: probably dingus
Page Views: 5,852 total · 30/month
Shared By: Ben F on Nov 18, 2002
Admins: Peter Gram, Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

You & This Route

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Access Issue: June Voluntary Climbing Closure and Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


This route is a good way to access Assembly Line. It starts to its right. Scramble up to a ledge and start your typical low-angled easy DT crack (starts as left-facing dihedral) for P1. When I did it, there was a "broken tree" near its base. This pitch is probably a 5.6 or so. To the left are 2 eye bolts for an anchor. Continue from the anchors as P2 becomes a set of dual cracks with some increased difficulty and trickiness towards the end. This pitch ends on a nice ledge, where you can move left about 20 ft or so to access Assembly Line. If you are feeling comfortable at the good stances, the second can do a bit of modified simul-climbing (clipping to the leader's pieces occasionally) to do this as a pseudo single pitch climb.

Like many DT climbs, there is no move as difficult as the route's rating. I didn't even think that Broken Tree was too sustained as there were several good rest stances. That being said, the climbing was enjoyable.


Like most other DT routes, bring at least 2 sets of nuts and some cams in the blue Metolius to 2.5 Friend range.
Agreed that BT is not that sustained like a lot of Tower cracks and it does have some good rest stances but I would say it has a definite crux at the top and is 10b. The first pitch makes for a nice moderate 5.6 route of its own. Dec 3, 2003
A must do for all who visit. The moves seem no harder than the crux of Walt Bailey and much easier than Tulgey Wood, Burning Daylight, 1st pitch of Carols Crack or the Belle Fourche Buttress. Sep 19, 2004
Broken tree is 5.10b, it is not 5.9. If you want to lead 5.9 Try solar, walt bailey or assembly line. Assembly line is hard if you don't have good crack climbing skills. If you have good crack climbing skills it is really fun.

I don't want people to be misinformed by individual entries on this web site, it is very common for climbs to be underrated in the northern hills/spearfish canyon, this trend should not extend to the tower.

Broken tree has some loose rock! There is a flake with chalk all over it that sounds like a bongo drum. By careful when passing it, you can avoid this LOOSE FLAKE by grabbing a solid edge under the loose flake. A pop gets you to the next solid finger lock.

Sep 20, 2004
john walker
john walker  
My understanding of Tower grades is in direct contrast to your statement. The YDS system as it applies to routes at DT reflect the single hardest move, ie. a 5.10b route like broken tree has at least one move of 5.10b

Your suggesting of simuclimbing the route can put the leader in danger of a big fall.

This route has great moves, gear and rests. The rests may make it seem easier than 5.10b. Sep 28, 2004
I disagree with john walker's statement that Devil's Tower routes are graded by the difficulty of the hardest move. Devil's Tower, along with Indian Creek, UT, is the epitome of an endurance-based rating system.

For example, El Matador doesn't have a single move harder than 5.9 (or easier than 5.9); you'd be hard pressed to find a move harder than 10a on Mr. Clean; McCarthy West Face is characterized by repeated 10/10+ stemming cruxes without rest. All of these routes, however, are rated between 10+ and solid-11... and rightfully so! Endurance is a real factor affecting the difficulty of a climb.

Broken Tree, however, is a 10b route with a 10b crux, IMO. Sep 30, 2004
I rest my case... Broken Tree is still only 5.9+. Sep 30, 2004
john walker
john walker  
ya ya bla bla. Thanks for the great send off Curt, have fun out there. I do think that Broken Tree is easier than MAC WEST, however they are both rated 5.10b. Whats important here? I feel the most important thing any climber can do is to know and follow the rules currently in place. I'm not trying to kiss the proverbial ass of any land manager but the days of renegade climbers with power drills, chisels, guns, chainsaws, etc. doing as they please is detrimental to climbing as a whole. It is everyones responsibility to know and follow the rules as they exist. If you don't you are risking access to the resource or intense regulation and fees associated with climbing, am I wrong? Sep 30, 2004
Yo Walker,Speaking of illegal acts, What about the Tinton Trail? Oct 1, 2004
john walker
john walker  
Coward,What about the Tinton trail? I rode my bike through the woods where many followed. Is that illegal? My personal ethic in regard to trail building does not allow for use of hand tools. Oct 2, 2004
John Gunnels
Gillette, WY
John Gunnels   Gillette, WY
9?... 10b?... who really cares... it's BEAUTIFUL... Apr 8, 2006
This climb rocks, I love the finger locks at the end of the climb which is the crux, it's a gorgeous climb, and as long as you can climb a 10 don't worry about how hard it is, the climb is well worth it Sep 23, 2006
Joshua Merriam
Boulder, CO
Joshua Merriam   Boulder, CO
I did not think any of the finger lock moves were harder than 5.9

It is less than vertical. There are plenty of feet. The locks are solid. 5.9 finger locks are possible under these circumstances, right? Sep 5, 2007
Joe Dawson  
The climbing is enjoyable but there is plenty of hollow sounding rock on the route. I spoke to other people who climbed the route and they though the rock was fine, but I think a lot of it is rotten. I would recommend the route to confident 10b climbers who are strong enough to be able to check and be discriminate about which holds they use so they can avoid the loose stuff. Jun 1, 2009
Salt Lake City
cragsavvy   Salt Lake City
The first pitch is a breeze! Good for a beginner leader, good gear, low angle, and fairy short. I would rate the first pitch 5.5, but it is said to be 5.6-5.7 Sep 25, 2010
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Expected a crux and less gear up high. Got no crux, but got great gear. Nice route regardless of the grade. May 30, 2014
I agree with Joe above. The rock quality on this pitch is far from stellar. Lots of hollow rock. The climbing is super fun but be careful climbing and protecting on this route. May 24, 2016
Miguel D
Miguel D   SLC
You can do this route as one pitch with a 70m rope from the staging area below. Had only about 3 feet of rope leftover at the ledge.

Crux moves up top felt right about 10a/b to me. Oct 16, 2016