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I would guess that many of us are familiar with the Devil’s Tower National Monument, one of the filming locations for 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in northeast Wyoming? The volcanic neck tops out at 5,112 feet above sea level and juts up 865 feet from the ground with nothing but grasslands and pine forests surrounding it. Such an odd formation to be in this location that it is known as a sacred site to the Lakota and over twenty other tribes in the area. The tower is a popular destination for rock climbers and park tourists alike.
When you’ll need this: This knot is useful for climbers as well as campers and boaters.
Why it’s important: The figure 8 knot is a fundamental knot. Despite its bulky appearance, it does not stop a rope from running through a slot. It unties easier than an overhand, so it works when a stopper needs to be tied and untied often. The figure 8 is the basis for many other knots and it’s a knot one needs to know. Modify it as a bend, loop, or hitch. The International Guild of Knot Tyers dubs it the best overall knot.
No stretch of water on the planet is as feared as the legendary passage around Cape Horn, where gale-force winds, rogue waves, icebergs, and summertime blizzards have sunk more than 800 ships. Freya Hoffmeister intended to paddle around it.
Ah, the cactus—one of the most interesting and beautiful plants in the desert. Don’t be fooled though, cacti are found in many places other than the Southwest. There are numerous species of cactus spread throughout the United States. We have encountered them on hikes in Missouri, Illinois, and North Dakota, to name a few places. None of the cacti we have encountered though are nearly as cuddly, cute, and dangerous as the semi-aptly named Teddy Bear Cactus.
Check out this cool crack climbing video of 22-year-old Hayden Kennedy making the first ascent of Carbondale Short Bus (5.14-) in Indian Creek, Utah, which he redpointed on March 21, 2012. Indian Creek is featured in Stewart Green’s upcoming new edition of Rock Climbing Utah.