Devils Tower plays host to Independence Day celebration 125 years in the making

July 4 marks 125 years since the first ascent to the summit of Devils Tower. Join us to commemorate this milestone in Devils Tower’s history.

The first recorded ascent of Devils Tower was July 4, 1893 when two local ranchers planned a climb to the summit. For months, William Rogers and Willard Ripley pounded large pegs into one of the cracks in the Tower.

Rung by rung, they built a ladder to the area now known as the Meadows. From the Meadows, they could climb the rock the last 50 feet to the top.

(NPS photo) Park Rangers will reenact Rogers’ and Ripley’s historic 1893 climb during next week’s Independence Day celebration.
(NPS photo) Park Rangers will reenact Rogers’ and Ripley’s historic 1893 climb during next week’s Independence Day celebration.

To promote their enterprise the pair handed out flyers claiming it would be the “rarest sight of a lifetime.” Approximately 1000 people gathered near the base of Devils Tower with some coming from over one hundred miles to see the pair make the ascent.

One of the climbers put on a red, white and blue “Uncle Sam” suite for the ascent. The pair climbed up the 350 foot ladder and reached the top a few hours later.

An American flag was carried to the summit and unfurled. The day was a great success.

Schedule of Events July 4, 2018:

Park Rangers will reenact the climb of July 4, 1893 (without the assistance of the wooden ladder). Festivities will include unfurling a US flag previously flown over the White House in Washington, DC.

  • 8 a.m., Ascent to the summit, Phil Knecht and Andrew Lyons-Gould
  • 10:30 a.m., US flag unfurled on the summit
  • 11:30 a.m., Begin the descent down
  • 1 p.m., Presentation of US flag, Wyoming State Senator Ogden Driskill, Speaker Mitch Mahoney, Director Hulett Museum

To learn more about Devils Tower National Monument visit www.nps.gov/deto or www.facebook.com/Devils-Tower-National-Monument-Official-NPS-Site or twitter.com@DevilsTowerNM or Instagram at #devilstowernps