American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Devil's Tower

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1957

Devils Tower. Climbing every day during "Mountaineer’s Week" in July of 1956, rock climbers from 13 states, France, and Switzerland made 81 ascents of the Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming. The climbers were invited by the Wyoming Mountaineers of Casper College, to this 50th anniversary commemoration of the establishment by President Roosevelt, in 1906, of the first national monument, the Devils Tower. The massed assaults on the Tower clearly demonstrated to more than 15,000 visitors that climbing is a safe sport for those who are trained for it.

Although six new routes were driven up the Devils Tower this summer, bringing the total to ten, the Durrance and the Wiessner routes remain the only ones which have been climbed without the use of tension and the direct aid of acrobatic rope-engineering. Under the impetus of this climbing celebration, more mountaineering ascents of the Tower were made during 1956 than in all the previous years, and more ascents in one week than in the first 25 years of climbing there.

American Alpine Club members, who led or organized eight of the ten teams, climbed on seven of the eight days of the event, and included: Mary Sylvander, Henry A. Waldrop, Robert W. Swartz, Walt Bailey, Henry C. Hoyt, Wilber F. Arnold, Harold F. Walton. Climbing teams also represented these groups and clubs: U.S. Army Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command, Wyoming Mountaineers, Appalachian Mountain Club, Wyoming Outing Club, Los Alamos Mountaineers, Colorado Mountain Club of Denver, Colorado Mountain Club of Boulder, Iowa Mountaineers, and the American Mountaineering Association.

Albert W. Bailey

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