Yellowstone is a pretty fascinating park. The hydrothermic activity leaks out all over the park creating steam vents and geysers. We were able to see Old Faithful erupt while we were there. It shot water and steam over 100 feet high!
As we were driving through the park we saw a handful of Elk and a Bison. We did a few short hikes and got to see some really cool steam pools. The pools have such a pretty blue color to them. The pools are extremely hot and are very acidic, so you cannot go in them.
That night, Jazmin drove back out to meet up with us. So we went back into the park around midnight to catch a geyeser at night under the full moon. We missed the one we were waiting for but ended up seeing another one. All the steam and the full moon made it feel pretty eerie out there at night; it was a cool experience though.
After Yellowstone we drove down to Grand Tetons National Park. Grand Tetons was a really cool park! We only stayed for a day and half, and didn’t get to climb. But we did a short hike to Jenny Lake. We hung out for a bit and decided to jump in. The water was cold, but it was nice to rinse off a bit...it had been a few days since we last showered. I definitely want to go back to the Grand Tetons.
After Leaving The Grand Tetons, Jazmin and Jackson drove down to Colorado. Graham and I spent the next couple days climbing in Wyoming. We first climbed in Wild Iris and the climbing was fun. The limestone is rough on your hands and the routes are pretty tough for the grade, but we were able to get on some fun routes. The next day we headed east to Ten Sleep, which has a ton of good climbing. We camped out in a rock quarry and did some fun routes. This strip along the center of Wyoming is beautiful. We were there at the perfect time to see the trees changing colors.
Graham and I had been planning to climb Devils Tower for a couple weeks now, so we were getting anxious. We left Ten Sleep and got to Devils Tower at night. We camped just outside and woke up early for the climb. We were climbing the Durrance Route, which is listed as one of the 50 classic climbs in North America. The climb was 6 pitches up, totaling about 500 feet. Devils Tower is lined with these tall columns that go all the way up, so the style of climbing here is crack climbing. Crack climbing means just that: you jam and wedge your hands, feet and body into these cracks to hold on. It’s fun climbing, but it can be brutal on your hands and feet. It involves a lot of grunting and groaning as you wedge your body into these giant cracks.
On the 6th pitch, there are two options. First is to do a sketchy jump traverse and the second option is to climb around. We decided to go for the jump traverse. This involved shimmying out on to this really awkward rock under a roof, and then going for the jump. The jump was only about 5 feet wide, but the jumping point made it feel really tricky. After jumping across and not finding an anchor or bolts, I had to put Graham on a body belay and loop the rope around a rock. That way if he fell it would not yank me off with him. We made it across and then free soloed the last pitch which is only a 5.5 scramble or something. Even though it was easy, it was a little scary!
After reaching the summit and filling out our entry in the book, we began our descent. We rappelled down and the approach that took us about 10 minutes in the morning ended up taking us about an hour. All the tourists were so interested in the climb and all the gear. We felt like celebrities with people taking our pictures and video interviewing us. This was much closer to the celebrity treatment we were expecting at Takakkaw Falls. Devils Tower is such a unique formation. The climb was amazing and definitely somewhere I’d like to go back.