$50.00 – $140.00
Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming
The dramatic Devil’s Tower rises out of the Black Hills of Wyoming with many geologists still trying to figure out how it formed.
It’s agreed that it’s a mass of igneous rock which began as magma but its still not understood how the rock cooled to form the Tower.
The Tower formed 50 million years ago where it began as one to two miles underneath the Earth’s surface but erosion has forcefully and gradually exposed the Tower, and continues to erode over time.
The most notable feature are the striking columns on the Tower, with their size unmatched by the rest of the world.
In 1941, in a media frenzy that swept the nation, a well known daredevil named George Hopkins made a $50 bet (about $800 today)that he could parachute from a plane and land atop of the Tower. He wanted to prove he could land precisely on a small target (about an acre wide) and be able to safely climb down.
On the day of the stunt, even with high winds, Hopkins made the leap and roughly landed atop of the butte, due to a partially collapsed parachute. He waited for his pilot to toss him down a bag of his climbing supplies-a poorly planned kit of only a sledgehammer, an old sharpened car axle and 1000 feet of rope, even though the Tower was much taller than 1000 feet.
Hopkins watched helplessly as the pilot tossed the bag out of the plane and completely missed the mark; the bag tumbling down the side of the Tower and leaving Hopkins stranded.
Hopkins, stayed stranded for five days atop the butte, but remarkably in good spirits and requesting whiskey for “medicinal” purposes.
After much rumination of what to do, a Dartmouth student spoke to the National Park Service and told them that he and a few climbing friends would attempt a rescue.
After a nine hour climb to the top, along a slippery and sleet covered Tower, they found Hopkins and showed him how to rappel down.
Hopkins, to the delight of an enormous crowd of spectators, made it safely down; before smiling and asking where his $50 was.
A month later, the U.S. joined WWII and Hopkins enlisted in the Airborne Division, dedicating his efforts to teach none other than parachuting.