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North America, United States, Wyoming, West Face of the Devil's Tower

West Face of the Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. In the latter part of July Jim McCarthy and I arrived at the Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, hoping to put up a new route on one of the previously unclimbed faces. The tower is granite, with vertical fractures (resulting in the well-known hexagonal columns) which offer numerous possibilities for artificial climbing. We chose a route beginning in an inside corner between two columns on the west face. Using stirrups and double rope, Jim McCarthy led 120 feet, with one belay from stirrups, to a small ledge beneath an overhang. We continued by traversing right to a vertical V crack, which we ascended for about 150 feet to a large overhang, again using artificial aid. Fortunately there were two belay points available on the tops of broken columns. After a free pitch over the left of the overhang, we tried what looked to be an easy vertical crack. It proved unexpectedly difficult, there being a lack of both holds and piton cracks. The remainder of the climb was of only moderate difficulty, proceeding through the heavily broken area at the top of the tower. The climb required three days to complete, no climbing being done after noon because of the heat. We rappelled down, leaving the ropes, and reascended the next morning, using prusik knots. About 75 pitons were used. Jim McCarthy led the difficult pitches, using artificial aid entirely on the first 250 to 300 feet.

John Rupley