South Dakota's Black Hills: The Best Climbing in the Country

Custer State Park in the Black Hills has been for long one of the top granite sites in America. Especially The Needles of South Dakota are what makes Black Hills Climbing famous. The needle formations, or spires, rising high in the sky, provide everything one can wish for: perfect rock, beautiful scenery, minimal crowds, and an abundance of wildlife. What more can you ask for? Well, there is another treat lying just beyond the South Dakota border, west to Wyoming: a solitary wave, frozen in stone; The Devils Tower. And the fun doesn't stop here; the timbered mountains of the Black Hills National Forest offer much, much more. The granite peaks are calling......
28. 9. 2015 Comments: 0

The routes near Sylan Lake in Custer State Park and other areas such as the Cathedral Spires, the Ten Pins, and the Needles Eye along Needles Highway, might be called the world's best granite face climbing. The views of the surrounding Black Hills are one of the best things about climbing the pinnacles and spires here; the Custer State Park encompasses 71,000 acres of spectacular terrain.

The Cathedral Spires, an outstanding site renowned for its look, is what you might want to check if you like multipitch traditional crack climbing. With so many great routes here it's hard to name them all but Center Route (3 pitch 5.9) on Cynical Pinnacle is perhaps the best one around.

Photo: © Chad Coppess-SD Tourism

The Needles is not a good area for beginners, it's either hard crack or hard face to climb here so do not venture out to climb at the Needles unless you are prepared to take care of business on your own. Or, hire a guide.

Photo: © Chad Coppess-SD Tourism

Photo: © Chad Coppess-SD Tourism

Photo: © Chad Coppess-SD Tourism

One of the locals who know the area like the palm of their hand is Sylvan Rocks, a climbing school and guide service that has been serving adventure seekers since 1989. Founded by Susan Schierbeck, an avid climber, who created a climbing school out of her own experience discovering local routes to be far too difficult for her to enjoy, this passionate operator is now run by Cheryl and Daryl Stisser, who'll make sure you enjoy climbing here much more than Mrs. Schierbeck once has.

"We realize that each guest has their own idea of success and most of our courses are catered to best meet those goals by simply offering personalized attention.   Whether it be visitors simply having fun experiencing the Black Hills from an entirely unique perspective or climbers wanting to take their skill set to the next level, or folks who want to stand atop the famous Devils Tower we offer something for anyone wanting to go climb a rock," introduces Daryl the Black Hill areas only guide service Accredited by the America Mountain Guides Association.

If you want to take up on Sylvan Rock's Devils Tower offer, there is no better thing to do that while in the Black Hills. Sharing the same air space with birds that are drawn to this unique wonder from atop is priceless, not to speak about the view so clear that feels as if you almost see into the future. Climbing routes on this 400-metre volcanic monolith range from 5.7 to 5.13 and are one to 7 pitches long. Tower cracks come in every shape and size, the most popular and easiest route to the summit is Durrance. All of that make the Devils Tower National Monument one of the greatest traditional crack climbing areas in the world. 

Devils Tower

"The awesome granite climbing terrain we work in can be incredibly inspiring and a bit overwhelming.  Our guides take some of the stress out of these beautiful summits while letting our guest choose how much adventure and challenge they desire.   Our guests tell the story of our staffs' dedication to the trade of guiding with great reviews. I think our secret to success is simple; we help people experience rad outdoor adventures and share great times with friends and family.  It's all about the fun factor!" sums up Daryl and we have to agree; it's all about the fun we have while out there, climbing.

Photos: © SR unless otherwise stated


28. 9. 2015 Comments: 0
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