Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: Rod Johnson and Pat Padden, 1973
Page Views: 28,602 total · 150/month
Shared By: Brad Boner on May 30, 2003
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


See approach for TAD and Solar. This route starts to the right of TAD, and is in my opinion by far the best route of the three mentioned. Pitch one is a good lead of about 5.7 and is well suited for those getting into trad climbing on the Tower. Pitch two is longer and is very sustained 5.8 climbing. Both pitches swollow up gear and you can protect pitch 2 with as many hand-fist sized hexes and cams as you can carry. The crux will prove to be the small bulge 2/3 up on pitch 2 and the slightly narrowing crack as it tapers toward the top of the route where it ends at the Meadows. NOTE: This route can be rappelled with two ropes in two pitches, but it's recommended that you rappell in three pitches, the third being at the anchors at the ledge about 25-30 feet up from the start of the route. Rappelling in two will increase the likelyhood of having your ropes hung up on the aformentioned ledge when it is pulled.


P1 will take medium and larger pieces, P2 has unlimited hand-fist size placements of cams and hexes
John Gunnels
Gillette, WY
John Gunnels   Gillette, WY
Another Tower JEWEL. Enjoy every move... Apr 8, 2006
Sam Prentice
Sam Prentice  
A good alternative to Durrance when you're looking to summit but not stand in line. Sep 27, 2007
Frank Sanders
Devils Tower, WY
  5.8 PG13
Frank Sanders   Devils Tower, WY
  5.8 PG13
Of the 3 CLASSIC 5.8's on this Tower,(Bon Hamme, Extended Weissner, Patent Pending, McCarthy North 1st Pitch, etc), this one, of Pat Padden & Rod Johnson's creation, is Surely the Best !!! Going out to climb it Right Now, as a Matter of Fact !! Nov 15, 2007
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
Goes into the shade around 3pm in summer.

I was expecting something similar to TAD, and so I was surprised at how much p2 reminded me of Soler. More fun than I expected! Jul 29, 2008
2-wheel Schollett
Colorado Springs, CO
2-wheel Schollett   Colorado Springs, CO
Warning: Like most of the Tower routs, this rating is more difficult than the ratings most climbers are used to.
The first pitch is mostly an off width and will eat size 2 through 4 C4 cams. Bring lots of slings. Climb past the first pair of bolts, but sling one bolt for a directional; this keeps the rope out of the poison ivy.
Rappel from the second pair of anchor bolts (end of the first pitch) with a single 60m back to the first bolts, or double rope to the base if you want to bring a second rope.
I can't say anything except hear-say about the rest of the climb so I'll refrain except to say that you may want to try leading 5.9 elsewhere before leading the rest of the rout. Sep 12, 2011
Laramie, WY
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
Devils Tower grades will feel pretty stiff if you aren't already proficient at crack climbing techniques of the requisite grade, and I recall El Cracko being especially unforgiving. However, I also recall Walt Bailey feeling easy for the grade, but so sustained that even the 5.8 climbing near the top was pushing the limit of what my pumped arms and especially legs were capable of. Even so, the rock at Devils Tower forms enough face holds that you can cheat from time to time, which makes the climbing feel a lot easier than an equivalently sized and inclined crack in say, Indian Creek or Vedauwoo.

Spend more time doing sustained crack routes ahead of time and you won't feel so sandbagged. Sep 13, 2011
Nate Flink
Minneapolis, MN
Nate Flink   Minneapolis, MN
We were able to rappel from the summit of Devil's Tower to the meadows with a single 70 meter rope with 3 feet to spare and then walk to the top of El Cracko Diablo route and rap with a 70 meter rope in several rappels using the bomber bolted anchors.

Knot your ends. Oct 21, 2012
Wilson On The Drums
Woodbury, MN
Wilson On The Drums   Woodbury, MN
Great route, left hand jam in, left foot in, mantle on the right and repeat. Lots of features inside the crack on the 1st pitch to use, great hand jams on the 2nd with ample rests. Fun movement at the buldge. Note: can do 1 rap with 2 70m ropes with about 2 feet of down climbing. Mar 15, 2013
David Raines  
Solid old-school 5.8 hand / fist crack. Lots of good pro, fun moves, excellent route.

We carried a double rack of hand and fist sized cams, plus plenty of nuts. I thought it was pretty safe with that gear.

IMHO, one of the easier ways to reach the summit, if you're solid at hand and fist cracks. Jul 3, 2013
Kirtis Courkamp
Kirtis Courkamp   Golden
I recommend bringing at least 5-6 #2 Camalots. I have climbed this route a few times now the first and second pitch eats gold. Mar 23, 2015
Camalots: 1 #.75, 1 #1, 4 #2, 2 #3, 1 or 2 #4 (save at least one towards top of pitch 2), few large nuts.
Watch out for mini-fridge sized block at top of pitch 2 that you might be tempted to place gear in when building an anchor, do note that it is completely detached. Apr 1, 2016
gblauer Blauer
Wayne, PA
gblauer Blauer   Wayne, PA
I can confirm that you can get down from the summit with a single 70M rope. Rap from the meadows to the meadows trail, follow the trail to the anchors (top of P2 El Cracko), rap to the chains on a different climb, midway down the face, rap off those chains to the top of P1 El Cracko. Rap P1 to the ledge. We had just enough rope to get to the ledge. Then of course, reverse your direction on the ramp. I roped up for the walk off, but, it felt much easier than walking in. Rope was not really necessary. Although a fall off the ramp would be catastrophic.

P1/P2 are sustained, with repetitive movement all the way up. Very well protected, you can plug and chug. Jun 22, 2016
Le Bob
Le Bob   Lakewood,CO
We we're able to continue rappelling down to ground (tourist trail) from the sport line to the right "Extension". Using the lowest sport anchors about 25' up from the El Cracko start, rappel to another spacious anchor ledge to the climber's right of and 5' below a knarled tree. Twin 50's had plenty of rope left on this ledge. On the next rap, twin 50's will get you 10' off the ground to down climb easy terrain. Enjoy this easy descent! Sep 11, 2017
Andrew Schrader
Helena, MT
Andrew Schrader   Helena, MT
Rap'd with dual 70m ropes in one rappel to just below the OW section. Minor face down climbing. May 29, 2018
Curtis Baird
Johnson City, TN
Curtis Baird   Johnson City, TN
This route felt secure the whole way. Plenty of rests and it will take as much gear as you can put in. Other than some smaller pieces, I placed 4 #2's, 3 #3's, and 2 #4's. May 31, 2018
Franck Vee
Franck Vee  
Climbed this yesterday.
I MO if you can do good foot jam this ends up being quite easy. It is sustained in the sense that difficulty is very even but not pumpy (though uncomfortable for your left foot). For what it's worth my pros on 2nd pitch:

Friend #4
2× Bd #2
2× Bd #1
bd .75
Totem purple (bd .5?)
Totem yellow (bd .4?)
Lacd nuts # 9 8 and 7. The #8 is roughly a Bd #13. So bigger nuts.
A fixed nut was also clipped earlyon.

I would have liked more fist size pieces. Small nuts & cams are useless. Jul 23, 2018