Lodge Manager & Climbing Guide
The Right Route: How Gabe Skiera Climbed Right to Where He Wanted to Be
Devils Tower Lodge
Some people are called to careers. Some are called to a living. To a way of being. And Gabe Skiera now knows he falls firmly into that latter category. But it wasn’t always that clear.
He ascended the skyscraping igneous columns and cracks of Devils Tower National Monument for the first time in high school. When he returned home to Tennessee, the tower loomed large in his mind. He would be called back, summer after summer, until he knew that there was no other place he’d rather be. But how could he get there—and stay there?
The answer partially presented itself when Frank Sanders, the owner of Devils Tower Lodge, invited Gabe to apprentice as a rock-climbing guide.
“When I was seasonal guide, I was at a time in my life where I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. But I had come out to Devils Tower, and just fell in love with Wyoming,” he says. “The big open landscape, the scale, the seasons, the topography, the pace of life. When I was back East living in a city, I found it a little suffocating. Out here, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I can breathe. There’s open space. Places to explore.”
He eventually became a lead guide, helping climbers as old as 91 and as young as 7 summit the tower. Frank, who needed help running the lodge throughout the year, recognized Gabe could take on even more.
Bookings. Excursions. Property maintenance. Today, Gabe manages it all, all year round. And he still gets to guide when the lodge hosts larger groups. He says, “I try to keep my guide team busy but not overwhelmed, so I step in whenever I can help out. Climbing is never a bad thing.”
When he’s not getting guests settled in or helping them head out for adventure, he makes the most of the moment, from trail running to climbing to simply soaking up the slower pace of life and trying to not get too far ahead of himself.
“We have places in Wyoming that still don’t get radio service when you’re driving down the road. Where maybe you don’t even get cell service. So, you get to kind of dial it back in time a little bit, and it almost forces you to live very presently.”
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