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YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 300', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Dave Gallagher, Jack Morehead '56
Page Views: 9,148
Submitted By: Andrew Gram on May 24, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (70)
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BETA PHOTO: Soler, TAD, El Cracko Diablo

June Voluntary Climbing Closure and Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


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.

Photos of TAD Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up the first pitch of TAD.
Starting up the first pitch of TAD.
Rock Climbing Photo: Early morning shot of the SE face of Devils Tower:...
BETA PHOTO: Early morning shot of the SE face of Devils Tower:...
Rock Climbing Photo: Blitzo on "Tad". Photo: Blitzo collectio...
Blitzo on "Tad". Photo: Blitzo collectio...
Rock Climbing Photo: P1
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down TAD from 3/4 of the way up  the secon...
Looking down TAD from 3/4 of the way up the secon...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Routes in the TAD area
The Routes in the TAD area
Rock Climbing Photo: Busy day on the east face.  From left to right, Th...
Busy day on the east face. From left to right, Th...

Comments on TAD Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 9, 2016
By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 9, 2002

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.
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 15, 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.
By Jim McGuire
Dec 3, 2003

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.
By Anonymous Coward
Dec 14, 2003

By chad m. davis
Aug 17, 2004

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.
By Brad Boner
Aug 18, 2004

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).
By Anonymous Coward
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.
By Paul Huebner
From: Portage, WI
May 4, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

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.
By John Parnigoni
From: Golden, CO
Sep 8, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

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.
By John Gunnels
From: Gillette, WY
Apr 8, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Ummm.... let's see.... oh yeah...

By Unassigned User
Apr 10, 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!!
By Nathan Toothman
From: Mokuleia, HI
Apr 11, 2006

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.
By Vince MacMillan
From: Dolores, CO
Apr 18, 2006

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)).
By Nathan Fisher
Oct 8, 2006
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

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.
By John Korfmacher
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jul 9, 2009

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.
By chris21
Aug 20, 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
By simpsong
Jun 2, 2010

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.
By Jon Stein
From: North Vancouver, BC
Sep 3, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

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.
By Sean Nelb
From: Indian Creek
Sep 15, 2012

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?
By Clay Cundy
From: Gillette, WY
Mar 30, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b 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.
By Will Stat
Jun 17, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

"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.
By Mark Orsag
From: Omaha, NE
Feb 21, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Didn't think this one was nearly as unpleasant as a lot of other folks do...
By Jason Todd
From: Cody, WY
Sep 14, 2014
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

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'+.
By Lucas Barth
From: Devils Tower, WY
May 15, 2016

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.
By J Wallis
Oct 9, 2016

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.

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