Image of Devils Tower in Wyoming.

Sylvan Rocks Blog

New Mountain Pro Edition

Daryl Stisser - Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The UK's E-zine Mountain Pro has a new edition out.  There are a few nice articles to check out.  Snow falling here for the past 3 day.  Should have done a time laps when it was really coming down this morning....or stayed in Moab instead of coming home!!!

Click on the pic and check out the magazine...grab a cuppa good coffee and enjoy.  Climbing season will be here soon enough.


Devils Tower Climbing Video - Jenn Flemming and Guide Anthony Schwartz

Daryl Stisser - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Many of you have climbed and been guided by Anthony Schwartz.  He loves climbing as much as anyone I know.  He lives it...breathes it...and he is mighty good at it.

This video, put together by the National Park Service about climbing at Devils Tower National Monument, does a great job of not only describing what it is like to climb on the rock at Devils Tower, but captures a little bit of why rock climbing is such a great activity.  The images feed into the feeling of empowerment / respect for what surrounds a climber up on the stone, and the sheer joy that people experience when they slide fingers and toes into perfect holds and micro ledges.  Up on the wall with just a rope, gear and a partner or guide, life is simplified.   Life is good.

Pull, push, rest.....flow....enjoy the moment, embrace the challenge.  

These are things that make climbing so worthy and life worth living.  We all have to have something to motivate us beyond the normal day to day grind.  For many people, the adventure of rock climbing is that thing that takes life to the next level.

Tony was part of the team of pro climbers and videographers that put this great piece together.  He shared his knowledge of Devils Tower, his love for climbing and rope skills to help put that crew in position to get those inspiring shots.  

I hope you enjoy the video and descriptions Jenn Flemming shares about climbing in special places like "Devils Tower National Monument in beautiful northeast Wyoming"....  Anyone take a guess who I stole that line from?

Should you choose to hire Sylvan Rocks to guide you up the top of Devils Tower...I promise we will choose routes with appropriate challenges.  While there is no super easy way to the top of the Tower, there are many ways with much larger handholds and footholds then the routes that were shown in this video.  Climb on!


Jenn Flemming in Devils Tower:  National Parks Epic Challenge video.  Thanks to Camp 4 Collective for doing such a great job putting this video together for the National Park Foundation.


AMGA Survey Results

Daryl Stisser - Friday, September 27, 2013

Whats it like to be a rock climbing guide?  Best job in the world right?  Well most guides do enjoy a sweet office space, but it does help to enjoy living out of your backpack and being extremely tolerant of less then idea weather if you choose to pursue this career path.

The AMGA collected some data about guides and this is what they to shared.  Click to read more.  


Mount Rushmore Access Fund Trail Day July 27

Daryl Stisser - Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Access Fund Conservation Team is scheduled to arrive in the Black Hills in a few weeks to help the Black Hills Climbers Coalition with a trail project at The Mount Rushmore Climbing Area.   On Saturday July 27, plan to come and volunteer on the project.  Along with working on improving the climbers trail up towards Garfield Goes to Washington on the Emancipation Rock Formation...there will be other projects that we could use some help with.

 Be sure to keep watching the Sylvan Rocks and BHCC Facebook pages and calendars for more updated info as the event gets closer.

 Check out the video of the Access Fund Conservation Team working in Utah with the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance.  You might recognize a Black Hills local in the video moving a few stones.  

 

Happy Salathé Day. 25th anniversary of the FFA

Daryl Stisser - Sunday, June 16, 2013

I was emailing with Paul Piana yesterday, and he wished me a Happy Salathé Day!  25 years ago, he and Todd Skinner made history.  Here is how he described it in an interview with NPR  

"Mr. PIANA: Well, it made a big splash in the climbing world, actually. It was something that the climbing world hadn't considered as possible. And in some ways, parts of our minds didn't consider it possible either, but we believed it just enough to continue trying. And we tried and we tried and we tried. And most of those tries we failed. We only succeeded on one of the tries. And I can remember being a rope length from the summit with Todd, when we knew we really had it done, we'd succeeded, and how much fun that was. I can't imagine giving so much physical and mental effort to succeed on something as ridiculous as climbing a big rock wall with anybody but Todd."

Free climbing thousands of vertical feet like that.....I cannot imagine the giddy feeling these to men must have felt as they finished something so bold. 

The climbers of today continue to break records, climb new lines, and create rad new challenges for themselves, but without a doubt, Paul and Todd were an unforgeable team that opened the minds of many to what might be possible.   Thanks to both of them for dreaming big and going on to live out those dream!

If you are interested in seeing some great photos of that trip.  There is a collection of Bill Hatchers work on Todds website.  Click Here for the Link

Take Care of Your Rock Climbing Gear

Daryl Stisser - Saturday, June 15, 2013

During staff training, we talk about all kinds of things that concern how to best take care of ourselves and our guest while rock climbing.  How we take care of our rock climbing gear is on that list of topics.  While discussing this, Cheyenne brought up this Blog post from Black Diamond.

 

 Acid was the reason found for this harness failure.  Bottom line.  Watch what you do with your harness.  Word to the wise.  Do not lay your climbing gear down in a parking lot.  There can be bad things on the ground that you can accidentally pick up.  Your climbing gear is your life.  Take care of it.  Don't be afraid to replace it early and often.

Everest First Ascent 50th Anniversary

Daryl Stisser - Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May 1st 1963, Jim Whittaker, now 84, was the first American to reach the top of the world and summit Mount Everest.

The BBC put together a great short video remembering this moment in time. 

I love the line that "if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up to much space."

Adventures continue to happen, but this was a magnificent climb.  All the trekking and preparation is far beyond my ability.  Good job Jim and Sherpa Gambu!

Click on the photo to visit the BBC page with the video.

 Jim Whittiker on everest

Palisades Adopt a Crag

Daryl Stisser - Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The annual Palisades Adopt a Crag event is coming up, so plan to be there, do your part, and have some fun!  

Be there Sat April 20th from 9am to 2pm.  Plenty of schwag and good stuff.  Contact Eric at eric.weidenman@doyotes.usd.edu for more info if you have questions.

adopt a crag poster

Jan Conn press release

Daryl Stisser - Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sorry I did not get this on the calendar sooner, but if you are not doing anything tomorrow Sunday April 14th, come down to the Outdoor Campus in Rapid City from 1 to 4pm, and hear Jan Conn speak about rock climbing and caving.  Should be a good show.

 

 

Rock Climbing Access and Bolting

Daryl Stisser - Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I saw this video on the Outdoor Research clothing site.  Thought it did a great job of explaining how things happen with the people who manage the land that we depend upon for access to rock climb.

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The Devils Tower legends and early history - how it got its name, and how it was formed as told by the American Indian Tribes.

Wyoming is an incredible place and Devils Tower is part of what makes it “like no other place on earth, ” at least that is what the Wyoming license plates say.  Devils Tower was made famous in modern times by the 1977 movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” but for many moons before that, tribal people had been visiting it, and regarded the area as a sacred site. The legends surrounding the Tower are many, and the stories were no doubt passed down through the generations around the fire.

Many tribes from all over America consider the site of Devils Tower to be sacred.  "Devils Tower" is a name the white man gave the formation. It was named in 1875 when a mis-interpretation from Colonel Richard Irving Dodge's expedition somehow translated the native name as "Bad God's Tower," and this eventually led to the name Devils Tower.  It has many tribal names.  The Lakota indians have their own names for it such as Mato Tipila, which means “Bear Lodge.”  Other names from other American Indian tribes are Grey Horn Butte, He Hota Paha, Bear Rock or Bear Mountain, Tree Rock, and Grizzly Bear Lodge to list a few.  The bear theme comes from a common story about Devils Tower.  The Legend of its creation goes something like this…..

Long ago, two young Indian boys found themselves lost on the great prairie. They had played together one afternoon and had wandered far out of the village. Then they had shot their bows still farther out into the sagebrush. Then they had heard a small animal make a noise and had gone to investigate. They had come to a stream with many colorful pebbles and followed that for a while. They had come to a hill and wanted to see what was on the other side. On the other side they saw a herd of antelope and, of course, had to track them for a while. When they got hungry and thought it was time to go home, the two boys found that they didn't know where they were. They started off in the direction where they thought their village was, but only got farther and farther away from it. At last they curled up beneath a tree and went to sleep.
They got up the next morning and walked some more, still traveling the wrong way. They ate some wild berries and dug up wild turnips, found some chokecherries, and drank water from streams. For three days they walked toward the west. They were footsore, but they survived. How they wished that their parents, or elder brothers and sisters or tribe members would find them as they walked on what is now the plains of Wyoming. But nobody did.
On the fourth day the boys suddenly had a feeling that they were being followed. They looked around and in the distance saw Mato, the bear. This was no ordinary bear, but a giant bear, so huge that the boys would make only a small mouthful for him.   He had smelled the boys and came in search of that mouthful. He came so close that the earth trembled with each step he took.
 The boys started running, looking for a place to hide, they found none.  The grizzly was much, much faster than they. They stumbled, and the bear was almost upon them. They could see his red, wide-open jaws full of enormous teeth. They could smell his hot breath.
 The boys were old enough to have learned to pray, and the called upon Wakan Tanka, the Creator: "Tunkashila, Grandfather, have pity, save us." 
All at once the earth shook and began to rise. The boys rose with it. Out of the earth came a cone of rock going up, up, up until it rose more than a thousand feet high. And the boys were on top of it.
 Mato the bear was disappointed to see his meal disappearing into the clouds. This grizzly was so huge that he could almost reach to the top of the rock when he stood on his hind legs. Almost, but not quite. His claws were as large as a tipi's lodge poles. Frantically Mato dug his claws into the side of the rock, trying to get up, trying to eat those boys. As he did so, he made big scratches in the sides of the towering rock. He tried every spot, every side. He scratched up the rock all around, but it was no use. They boys watched him wearing himself out, getting tired, giving up. They finally saw him going away, a huge, growling, grunting mountain disappearing over the horizon.
 The boys were saved by Wanblee, the eagle, who has always been a friend to our people. It was the great eagle that let the boys grab hold of him and carried them safely back to their village.

Other legends such as that from the Kiowa tribe tell that the boys in this story were instead seven sisters…and when they ran from the great bear they hopped upon a great stump that grew into the enormous stump like formation we see today on the NE corner of Wyoming, and that the seven sisters were borne unto the sky and became the stars which now make up the Big Dipper formation.

The story from the Cheyenne tells us that there was a band of Cheyenne traveling to worship the Great Spirit at Bear's Tipi (aka Devils Tower).  One of the warrior's wives was charmed by an enormous bear with out a mate…the warriors set out to find and kill the bear….The woman is turned into a bear…The great bear chased the men...they climbed a great tree that then grew into Devils Tower and the Creator gave the men the strengthen to kill the bear that chased them.  The woman who had been transformed into a bear made the great rock her home, such that it came to be known as Bear's Tipi.

Geologist tell us that Devils Tower was formed by the intrusion (the entry of molten rock into or between other rock formations) of igneous material, but there are several theories as to exactly how that process took place.  Learn more about how Devils Tower was formed.
Slide Show
click any 'pic'
When you see Devils Tower, everyone dreams of climbing it.The summit is over 1200 feet above the Belle Fouche river below.
Devils tower is sacred to many people for good reason.Devils Tower is a challange to climb.
Climb to Devils Towers summit.There are may routes to the top, but the Durrance is the most popular.
The Durrance Pitch is the routes biggest challange.All the work is worth is at the view contues to improve.
Even Uncle Sam loves climbing Devils Tower.Last pitch of the Durrance Route.
Last rappel through the bowling alley on Devils Tower.Once you get down, the glory rock photo is manditory.
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