Weekend Warm-Up: Frank and the Tower

Frank Sanders on Devils Tower, Wyoming.

“First time I saw Devil’s Tower was in a flash of lightning on a dark night. Even from a distance, it looked like Frankenstein’s castle or Dracula’s Palace.” — Frank Sanders

At the base of 265m Devils Tower in Wyoming lives Frank Sanders, a quirky, 60-something climbing guide with a penchant for the dramatic. Frank and the Tower tells the story of Sander’s decades-long relationship with this fluted outcrop of igneous rock, famously featured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Since first clapping eyes on the Tower in the early 1970s, Sanders has crafted his way up its vertiginous slopes more than 2,000 times, mainly by guiding Tower first-timers. He calls it, “The best job, the best way to spend life that I have yet found by a long shot.”

Some dark memories rear up: At one point he recalls being drunk for 33 days straight, with no inclination to stop. And despite climbing all across North America, Devils Tower was, ironically, the one place that could quell Sanders’ demons.

Mixing interview scenes with tomfoolery and climbing action, the film is a great start to the weekend.

About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash Routen is an outdoor and adventure writer from the UK specialising in adventurous travel and expeditions, such as mountaineering, polar travel, and ocean crossings. Ash juggles a day job as a public health scientist with this second career in outdoor writing.

His words have featured in national newspapers, national and international outdoor and adventure magazines, and various websites. Bylines include Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Outside Magazine, Rock and Ice, and Red Bull.

Alongside writing, Ash also spends some time undertaking his own adventures, and completed a 640 km foot crossing of a frozen Lake Baikal in 2018. His next arctic journey is a 700 km trek along the coast of Baffin Island in Canada.

Read more at www.ashrouten.com

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