Monday, July 1, 2013

Devil's Tower Trip!

Scott and I rolled in last night around 1:30 in the morning.  He was snoozing in the passenger seat, and I was literally pulling my hair to keep myself awake.

We had left Devil's Tower around 9 am that morning, and drove over 700 miles in one day.  One thing the long drive did, however, was give us a chance to rest and recuperate.  We climbed a lot over a three day period!

Scott and I both really love climbing hand crack and finger crack, but we definitely picked routes that were bigger than that.  I tried to lead Gooseberry Jam- and over halfway up the off-width, I realized that I still had 50-60 feet of climbing and only one cam big enough to fit in the crack.  Oops.

We did get more climbing in that first day, and we ended the day dirty and (for me) sunburned.
Our second day included some climbing in the morning, a siesta in the afternoon, and starting up the classic route "Durrance" later in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, a wrong turn in our route reading and a 3-person party (we brought a friend of Scott's along for this climb) meant that we got as high as we could (literally could see the top, just not there) just as the sun went down.  We realized that between the 3 of us, we had one headlamp and 600 feet of rappelling in the dark to do.  Oops...
It ended up being fine- our rope never caught, we all got down from the Tower safe, and we even got a glimpse of the Northern Lights!  I didn't get to pull my camera out until we got to the parking lot at the base around 11:30 pm.  We were all so hungry that we boiled water for mac and cheese right there, eating our dinner more than a few hours late.

We even ran in to a guy wandering down from the tower not long after we started inhaling our food.  He showed us some pictures he took of the Tower with the northern lights behind it- and a little headlamp light halfway up the tower!  I gave him my email address, and hopefully I'll get an email with a copy of that picture soon.  :)

Our last day consisted of more climbing- this time actually doing a hand and finger crack called Walt Bailey, and finally reaching the very top of Devil's Tower.

We all signed the climber's register at the top, got some pictures, took in the view of 4 states (depending on which way you were looking), and rappelled down as the sun started to set.  A fantastic end to a fantastic trip.

All the driving across South Dakota meant that I had time to chug along on my Spring Affection shawl.  I got a ton of the third color section finished, despite a few of the naps I took along the way.  Scott and I have to head up to Tofte on Wednesday to reclaim our kittens, then we have a wedding in St. Cloud on Saturday.  I'm hoping between the driving time for all of those trips, I'll be able to finish this thing.  I have a lot of other knits that I need to work on (oh goodness!), so getting this completed would be great. :)


Mark said...

Reading in reverse chronological order, first the 1-brake working story on the old bicycle, and now the 1 cam large enough story. Do you recall that you once were a girl scout? Aren't they supposed to be prepared? Or is that the boy scouts? And if so, wouldn't Scott have some large cams to loan you? You left us hanging with 'Ooops' as the end of your story! And you teach college English! Would you give somebody an "A" with that story ending?

Mark said...

So why didn't you (later) post that photo of you 3 knuckleheads descending with 1 lamp in the dark with the northern lights behind, that you actually got via email? 'Twas a spectacular shot!