Durrance Route - Devils Tower has hundreds of routes. Where there is a column or a crack, there is a route. The mountain is unique in that it contains 360 degrees of crack climbing. The technical rock climbs I have done in the past have been face climbs, which is where you follow an unnatural line up the rock using hand and foot holds that protrude from the rock face. Crack climbing follows the natural lines of the rock (i.e. the cracks) and force you to jam your fingers, hands, shoulders, knees, feet, etc into the cracks for support or use friction with your feet or hands on opposing rock features, such as a column or the rock within a large crack. It is extremely rare to see someone trying a face climb on Devils Tower. I had never really done crack climbing, so I was not sure how this climb would turn out.

The route I took was the Durrance Route, which is the standard route for the mountain. There are seven main pitches and four rappels on the route. Andy Petefish, who has been climbing and guiding for over 30 years in the area, was my guide for the climb.

A closer view. The Leaning Column is seen in the lower left.