Durrance Route

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Durrance Route
Durrance Route (Devils Tower).JPG
The route begins below and to the right of the two trees. It then ascends the left side of the leaning pillar and continues up the most inset dihedral. There are two possible finishes; a direct vertical finish, or a "classic" traverse to the right which involves leaping a gap.
Location Wyoming, USA
Climbing Area Devils Tower, Durrance Approach
Route Type Trad climb
Vertical Gain 500 feet (150 m)
Pitches 6
Rating 5.7 (5a)
Grade III
First ascent Jack Durrance & Harrison Butterworth (1938, FFA).

The Durrance Route is a climbing route on Devils Tower in the U.S. state of Wyoming. First pioneered by Jack Durrance and Harrison Butterworth in September 1938, it was the second free ascent of Devils Tower, following the first ascent led by Fritz Wiessner in 1937. The Wiessner Route lies a few hundred feet to the right of the Durrance Route and has a comparable difficulty. Today the Durrance Route is the most popular route on Devils Tower. It is considered a more interesting and enjoyable route than the Wiessner Route due to variable terrain and better belay stances. The route is recognized in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America[1] and other guide books.[2][3][4][5]

Significant Features[edit]

Leaning Column[edit]

An 8-metre (26 ft) volcanic column has been slightly tipped from vertical. Reports that it was too unstable prompted a U.S. Geological Survey inspection in 2006. The inspection found that it was unlikely that a climber's weight would dislodge the pillar.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Roper, Steve; Steck, Allen (1979). Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. pp. 141–146. ISBN 0-87156-292-8. 
  2. ^ Mark Kroese (2001). Fifty Favorite Climbs: The Ultimate North American Tick List. The Mountaineers Books. ISBN 978-0-89886-728-2. 
  3. ^ Dingus McGee and the Last Pioneer Woman (1996). Free Climbs of Devils Tower: A Poorperson's Guidebook (14th ed.). Laramie, WY. 
  4. ^ John Harlin III (1996). Devils Tower Wyoming and The Black Hills, South Dakota. Helena, MO: Chockstone, Falcon. ISBN 1-57540-028-6. 
  5. ^ Orenczak, Zach; Lynn, Rachael (2006). Devils Tower Climbing. Laramie, WY: Extreme Angles Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9746532-7-3.