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Rock climbing restricted at Devil’s Tower National Monument

DEVILS TOWER, W.Y.  – Rock climbing routes on the East and Northeast Faces of Devils Tower summit will be temporarily closed effective immediately to protect nesting Peregrine and Prairie Falcons. The closure is implemented annually to provide the falcons with an undisturbed nesting location during this critical courtship and nest-selection period.

Climbers’ presence near falcon nests can be distressing to the parents, and falcons may abandon their eggs or chicks if they are disturbed by climbing activities. Climbers are also protected by the closure because falcons are known to dive defensively to defend their nests. Climbers are asked to notify park staff of any defensive falcon behavior.

The climbing routes affected by the closure are between “Cave” and “McCarthy’s Brother” (numbers 47-106 in the Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Handbook). This closure includes the North Face Approach and the North Face Rappels. These closures are posted at the climber registration kiosk near the Visitor Center and on the approach trails. Over one hundred climbing routes remain open for climbing.

“The closure of these routes to protect the falcons is strictly enforced,” said wildlife crew lead, Caralie Brewer. “Climbers play a critical role in the success of falcon nesting at Devils Tower. Please report any nests or observed flacon behavior to a park ranger and remember that all climbers must register before beginning an ascent of the Tower.”

Climbing routes and approaches that have been affected will remain closed until the young falcons fledge and no longer rely on the nest location, or until the nesting falcons relocate to another location. The closure area may be moved, extended, or rescinded depending on the nesting and fledgling activity, which is monitored by park staff.

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