Mark Twain once said, “But we are all insane, anyway. Note the mountain-climbers.”
I had never heard of this quote from Mr. Twain before but I fear that he may be right and that I may now be headed on the path to insanity! Don’t get me wrong there is no doubt that there may have already been a bit of craziness in me. Just look at all the bizarre things we have listed in our Adventure Activities & Experiences Bucket List! But recently, I volunteered to do something really insane, soon I’ll be Climbing Devil’s Tower!
Now when I put things on the various lists of The Bucket List Project, sometimes I add them impulsively! I mean rock climbing in general isn’t necessarily outside of my personal abilities. Since my youth in the Boy Scouts, I always liked being in the mountains backpacking and climbing. But climbing Devil’s Tower? Well that is a whole new level!
What is Devil’s Tower?
For those who don’t know, Devil’s Tower is located in the Black Hills, near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It was officially declared the first national monument in the USA, on September 24, 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Now it isn’t just a remarkable landmark in Wyoming. For many Northern Plains Indian Tribes, it is also a very sacred site with many different stories and traditions tied to it. Here there are often ceremonial rituals, including sun dances, sweat lodges, and prayer and artifact offerings celebrated. It is also known by different names like Bear Lodge Butte, Aloft on a Rock, Tree Rock, or Great Gray Horn among others.
But most Gen X-ers like us, are likely familiar with Devils Tower because it was featured in 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, after an alien mothership descended upon the rock formation.
In terms of actual structure, the butte stands at 867 feet (265 m) from summit to base, with a summit 5,112 feet (1,559 m) above sea level. The top though is slightly dome shaped and rocky, with native grasses, cactus, and sagebrush. Plus, the boundary of the whole National Monument encloses an area of 1,347 acres.
Mark Twain said, We are all insane, anyway. Note the mountain-climbers. Perhaps, that’s true but is climbing Devil’s Tower to Find a Cure for #ALS insane? You decide! #ClimbingForaCause #EndALS @ALSTennessee @SteveGleason
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So Why Does Anyone Want to Climb Devil’s Tower?
According to Mark Twain, anyone climbing Devil’s Tower must be insane right?
Well, he may not be too far from the truth! I mean anyone who knows us, knows that we are often a bit crazy or missing a few screws.
But in our commitment to accomplish our various bucket list goals, something unique has occurred: the opportunity to help others!
All of this may sound a bit confusing so let me backtrack a bit to a few months ago.
See, in order to tick Climbing Devil’s Tower off our bucket list, I had to do research on how to make this happen. In doing so, I found out that Darcee’s cousins, Chris Nolan had once climbed Devil’s Tower. So, I reached out to him for advice & guidance on what it would take (you don’t really want to know cause it is wild)! Thankfully, Chris was not only gracious with his time but also information on when he had climbed.
Then something happened…a Spark!
While talking with him,