Devils Tower El Matador climbed by Jorg Verhoeven and Katharina Saurwein
Video: Jorg Verhoeven and Katharina Saurwein repeat El Matador (5.11a), one of the classic climbs up Devils Tower in Wyoming, USA.
Devils Tower is one of the most striking features in Wyoming’s Bear Lodge Mountains and, unsurprisingly, in 1906 it became the first declared United States National Monument thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt.
Rising 265 meters above the prairie, every year the monolith attracts circa 400,000 visitors. Obviously the vast majority view the tower from below, but for climbers the network of parallel columns, corners and cracks prove an irresistible draw.
While most ascend the easiest route to the summit - the ultra classic Durrance Route (5.7 ) first climbed up the South Face in 1938 by Jack Durrance and Harrison Butterworth - there are in fact over 150 routes on the peak. One of the standout climbs is El Matador, first ascended in 1967 by Fred Beckey and Eric Bjornstad and freed in 1978 by Chick Holtkamp and Robert Yoho. With its famous 40m stemming pitch it is an absolute must do, as Jorg Verhoeven and Katharina Saurwein demonstrate in this video.
For those wishing to visit there area, please note that a voluntary climbing closure on Devils Tower is in effect during the month of June. This voluntary climbing ban was implemented in 1996 out of respect for traditional cultural activities of American Indians, who consider the tower sacred and call it Bear Lodge.
Link: La Sportiva, Petzl, Marmot