Rock climbing routes on the southwest face and the southwest edges 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.
The presence of climbers near falcon nests can be distressing to parent birds and disturbance from climbing activities may force falcons to abandon eggs or chicks. The closure is also implemented to protect climbers, as falcons are known to defensively dive in order to protect their nests. Climbers are asked to report any defensive falcon behavior to park staff.
The climbing routes affected by the closure are between “Good Holds for Godzilla” and “Accident Victim” (numbers 135 – 182 in the Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Handbook). Route closures will be posted at the climber registration kiosk near the visitor center. Over one hundred climbing routes remain open for climbing. Climbing routes will remain closed until the young falcons fledge and are no longer dependent on the nest location or if the nesting falcons move to another location. Park staff monitor falcon activity and the closure area may be moved, extended, or rescinded depending on nesting and fledgling activity.
“The closure of these routes to protect falcons is strictly enforced,” said Resource Program Manager, Russ Cash. “Climbers play a critical role in the success of falcon nesting at Devils Tower. Please report any nests or observed falcon behavior to a park ranger and remember that all climbers must register before beginning an ascent of the Tower.”