Top 10 – 5.10s of Devil’s Tower
Finger cracks, hand crack, fist cracks, stemming and smearing – find it on Devil’s Tower.
Located in Eastern Wyoming the tower stands more than 500 feet above the approach trail.
11 Walt Bailey
Officially rated at 5.9, don’t let this fool you, this climb is harder than some of the Tower 5.10s. The route is a full 165 feet long, and is the only “one-Pitch” route to the top. The climber is mainly working out of a crack on the left facing slabby dihedral. The crux of the rout starts about thirty feet of the ground and doesn’t stop for another 50 or 60 feet. The second half of the route lightens up a bit, but there are few good rest stops. This is the only one pitch climb, that goes from ground to summit [class 4 scrambling on both ends}. Start to finish, a great route.
10 Tulgey Wood
This route is the easiest climb on the west side of devil’s tower(5.10a), this location means morning shade during those hot summer months and late sun on those cool spring afternoons. First pitch is around 110 feet, the crux is near the top, you will be using some small nuts on this one. This right facing crack rout is more an exercise in stemming. The next pitch is only 30 or so feet and takes you to the next column top
9 Bell Fourch Buttress
On the East side of the tower a buttress extends up 150 feet from the shoulder. Four routs [bell fourch, gooseberry jam, burning daylight, and casper college] converge on the ledge. This rout starts with a blind traverse into the clean hand and fist crack. Mostly 5.9 climbing till about 2/3’s the way up. At this point all flaws on the rock disappear and the climber is left with just a hand sized crack. This twelve or so feet are the crux of the rout.
For a little change, this is a bolted face route. Follow the bolts and the line of least resistance up the middle of the column, near the middle of the pitch the rout moves left toward a ledge. Standing here a climber needs to place protection for the next couple of moves, have small and medium nuts ready for this part. Move back onto the face and continue on to the top. For me the crux was the last six feet of the route, with the full weight of 150 feet of climbing rope, smear and palm your way up the last few featureless feet of the rounded column top.
7 One Way Sunset
[my nemesis] West north west side the tower. This is one of those great 5.10 routes, 150 feet and totally lacking a move less then 5.9. Up 20 feet, traverse right 20 feet, up 120 more. At about half way the crack gets thin – shallow stemming and a finger tip crack protected by small nuts.
6 New Wave
The “easiest” of the Devil’s Tower 5.10s. First pitch is 70 or so feet of easy 5.7 climbing. The second pitch starts easy and keeps giving you easy moves until the crack you are dropping pro into diminishes to nothing. This is the crux of the rout, moving over the aerate to the right the climber makes his or her way to the next workable crack. Oh yea, this move is protected by a beefy hanger. If I remember correctly, the key is the feet and staying low through the traverse. The rest of the rout is again well protected and goes 5.8 and a couple of easy 5.9 moves to the teachers lounge.
5 Hollywood and Vine
A classic route, a must do for any Devil’s tower lover. Located on the south or meadows side of the tower, just two cracks to the left of the route Solar. Originally an aid rout, it now goes free in the hard 5.10 range. Another slightly less then vertical rout with thin fingers, meaning lots of small nuts. [this is the only route on the list that I have not lead] the first pitch gets you to a large column top and this is the start of the 5.10 climbing.
4 McCarthey West Face
I will be honest, the only reason I lead this route was to get me to the top of El Matador. At the top of the second pitch a climber is in the position to top belay this world famous route. mostly hands and fingers,feet smearing and finding small toe pockets, on a right facing inside corner.
3 Casper College
This route is the crack just right of the bell fourch buttress. Mainly face moves with a thin crack to place pro. On the way up you pass some old pitons and a hucoe big enough to sit in. For this lead prepare yourself with small nuts and micro cams. There are several cruxes on this climb and very few moves less then 5.9. The rout ends at the same bolts as Burning Daylight, 150 feet off the ground.
2 Broken Tree
This route is next to the climb New Wave and also finishes at the teachers lounge. Similar start as New Wave, the second pitch goes from 5.7 moves to 5.8 to 5.9 – the climb keeps getting steeper and the moves thinner till the last thirty feet. Here the crack thins to just fingers making the the crux of the route the last few feet of a 150 foot pitch. I really love this climb, a near perfect “Devil’s Tower” route.
1 Burning Daylight
This is my absolute favorite route on Devil’s Tower. One hundred and fifty feet of joyful climbing adrenaline. As far as I know, it is the only route, in the 5.10 range, at devil’s tower that has two overhangs on it. The route is a right facing crack that starts out right from the deck giving you hard 5.9 moves, thirty feet up the first overhang looms overhead. Key foot holds get a climber through the first crux only to be looking at the next overhang. All moves on this climb are easy to protect, finger size cams, medium nuts, and fist size pieces for the last 40 feet.