4 July and Devils Tower
Climbing Devils Tower
As Americans celebrate their National Holiday, the 4 July, we pay homage to one of the States most iconic landmarks, Devils Tower, Wyoming. Devils Tower will be familiar to anyone who has seen the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind – the dramatic climax of this film was shot there. Rising, dramatically from the rolling prairies which surround the Black Hills, this awesome 383m high geological wonder can be seen from miles around. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt named Devil’s Tower, the US’s first national monument. The site is considered Sacred to the Lakota and many other tribes that have a connection to the area. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest rock climbing areas in North America. For over a hundred years, climbers have tested their skills on the vertical faces of Devils Tower. Using various techniques and specialised equipment, climbers have inched their way up – and down – the steep walls. On a recent holiday to the area I watched in amazement as 2 climbers scaled the precipitous heights.
The first successful climb took place exactly 120 years ago today on 4 July 1893, Two local ranchers made elaborate preparations for the climb. They built a 350-foot wooden ladder to the summit by driving wooden stakes into a continuous vertical crack running between two columns on the southeast side of the Tower. The stakes were braced and secured to each other by a continuous wooden strip. On 04 July a thousand spectators watched in awe as William Rogers made the first ascent of the Tower. To the wild cheers of the crowd, William Rogers ascended the ladder and ran an American flag up a flagpole.
For anyone travelling in the area a detour to Devil’s Tower is an absolute must.
And while you are in the region enjoy more US icons … perhaps a traditional rodeo, Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone…
See our website Wild West itinerary for more idea
Crazy Horse Memorial
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