puns are usually so awful. THAT title on the other hand...awful! he he!
drove out to the black hills on oct 31st. headed up to Devil's Tower late on the 1st. back to the Black Hills on the 3rd. headed home on the 4th...caught the Badlands on the way home. Super Tuesday=Super driving for a f'n long time for me and Gale. A friend of mine put her phone up to the speaker while listening to Barack's acceptance speech so I could hear it first hand while we were driving home! Very cool. but, I really wanted to hear and see it for my self. who woulda thought that this election would've been decided by 9pm central on the very day of the election?
back to the trip report.
jumped into the civic and enjoyed 35mpg split between two people over the course of the about 1800 miles for the trip. and, with gas prices at $2.20, not a bad deal for the budget for a six day vacation! so 1800/35= just over 50 gallons x 2.20 = about $110/2 = about $55/person!! nice. that's about one dinner out for two (without vino!). Needless to say, we didn't drink any wine over the weekend, either. AND, this time, we stayed away from drinkin' a bunch of beers every night. learned the hard way during climbing trips with that one. sucks to ruin a climbing day due to too much drinking the night before! right, matt...jon...?
All the campgrounds in the Black Hills were...CLOSED!...ridiculous luck with closed campgrounds at the end of the campground season this year. same thing happened in Yosemite. but, with some creative thinking, good things reared their head during those dark and trying times...I still can't believe Palin said, "When Putin rears his head..." That's some pretty funny stuff. Thank God or whoever that she's not our f'n V.P.! The first campground we ended up staying at was Sylvan Lake, same one we stayed at, Matt. The gate was closed, but not locked! so we opened it, drove through, and closed it behind us! perfect! camped for free there. did some climbing around Lake Sylvan in the Hills the next day. drove out to Devil's Tower that night. had a contact of a place to stay but found out late that, again, since it was so late in the season, the folks who ran the place were on vacation. they offered up the land to camp on which was very cool. But, Gale and I got creative, found a closed KOA cabin with an open door! stayed there for two nights...for free! sweet!
climbing Devil's Tower. get the new guidebook. the one we had is not a good reference...
great ledges and solid new bolts at each station...very nice.
pitch 1: either a class III/IV approach on the ramp or a 5.6 pitch. we opted for the ramp approach. should've woke up sooner and done the first pitch. ended up wasting 45 minutes trying to sort through the ramp approach.
pitch 2: 5.6, 60'. I led this one. some fixed pitons, some chimney stuff. fun climb as long as you're not wearing the backpack. will haul it next time with the rope trailing.
pitch 3: 5.7? no...5.8. wullfie led this one, thank god. I would've been able to do it, but it would've been a solid lead for me. following, carrying that f'n backpack, was awful. shoulder width crack to the right with gear placements in a crack to the left. gotta throw your entire right side into the crack. I couldn't get my shoulder in the crack due to the f'n backpack which made my ass hang out pulling me off the entire pitch. lot of smearing and stemming. final move on the pitch is a doozy.
pitch 4: 5.5 wulffie led this one. pretty straightforward. touch placements during the first 20' or so. but, that's the hard part of the pitch. lost a cam in this one. overcammed and locked for good. oh well, part of the deal! nice to have a solid piece of pro fixed in the rock! hopefully folks will just use it for a while and not pull it. good luck trying to get that piece out, though. finishes nice.
pitch 5: 5.6 I led this one. creepy chimney deal with a huge overhang at the end. bomber blind holds to finish.
the jump traverse. interesting move. some do really jump it! no need. angled slab to jump off of is not ideal. creepy crawly little step down, super exposed breath taker. :o
that's where out climb ended! from this point there's a 30min hike up to the summit. we ran straight into darkness! shitty! we had to rappel from there rather than get to the top. we'll have to summit another day. so, you'd think that the hard part was over. but, of course, not the case...
rappel 1: drop down to the next ledge...rope would not pull! SHIT! wulffie took the lead in climbing the rope using a reverso backed up with a prussik while I waited for the problem to just be fixed. head lamps on, aliens watching and laughing...the wind started to blow HARD. Wulffie gets back to the ledge (about a 120' rappel) thinking since he dislodged the damn knot from a crack that the rope would pull. NOT THE CASE! ROPE WAS STILL STUCK! had to return to the top of the rap again. he flipped the rope from off to the right of the nose to the front of the nose. rapped down again! rope pulled. bravo.
no problems on the 2nd and 3rd raps. semi-flat ground felt good and not as f'n windy! the winds were 40-50 mph up there actually blowing us over! made for a tough rope toss...but that worked out just fine.
started the approach at about 11am. back to the car at about 9pm. ridiculous...as usual doing a climb for the first time. all in all, a great experience and great climb. after all, it's fricken Devil's Tower, man!
finished with beers, a bacon cheeseburger, some pool and a nap in the bar chair. mmmm. perfect. and back to the free cabin we went! woohooo!
headin' back to the hills the next morning after a hearty breakfast in good ole Hulett, Wyoming! had some car trouble that was easily remedied with new spark plugs and wires, one plug of which had been seized in the cylinder ever since I owned the vehicle! came out just fine! that was such a relief. the ole civic is running better than ever now!
returned to the hills, driving through Spearfish and Deadwood. awesome towns! they feel more old west than the old west! hiked up to the top of Harney's Peak, the highest point east of the Rockies all the way to the Pyrenees! camped at Sylvan lake again, FREE, of course. headed back to MPLS including the Badlands loop, a great little scenic off-shoot worth the while, about 2 total hours. got back into Minneapolis by 11:30pm, in time for 2 shots and two beers to celebrate the end of the current administration and the beginning of the audacity of hope.
here's some photos!