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Alasdair

Black hills recomendations

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I am heading out to the black hills for a week next week. Any must do climbs? I will also be at devils tower for a day or two. What are the best moderates? What are some must do one pitch not so moderates?

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Al,

 

this http://www.billandcori.com/blackhills/bh_climb.htm is another website with some of the maps from Piana's "Touch the Sky" guidebook. It's out of print, but I saw one or two copies at Marmot in Hellvue last year.

 

Check out the Rushmore Needles for some good sprot climbing ...and some stellar trad if you hike a bit more. I got on a route called Desert Storm there while it was still a project or brand new (don't recall exactly after this long). I realized while passers by stopped to watch once I got to the 3rd bolt...I was in WAY over my head.

 

There was a free campsite at Breezy Point a mile or two from the Rushmore Needles...it may still be there.

 

The Conn Traverse near Lake Sylvan is fun. The lodge there used to sell guidebooks...prolly still do.

 

Check out the Falling Rock area just outside Rapid City (a good place to stop between the Black Hills and DT). http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/listArea.php?AreaID=2021

It's rare limestone in a sea of "granite". The climbing shop in Rapid used to have Xeroxed topos of the routes there.

 

DT: Soler rocks! 2 good trad pitches to the Meadows with bolted belays.

 

Watch out for Custer County cops. I still have a bad taste in my mouth after all these years. madgo_ron.gif "Drifting towards the center line", my ASS! Oh, I thought you wanted to look in the cab of my truck for empty beer bottles (after seeing 2 empties way in the back of my pickup we'd decided to take with us instead of littering the crag at the end of the day.) Why are you looking in the ash tray and under my floor mat?

 

Al, give me a call or shoot me an email if you want more detailed beta or scans of some pages out of my guidebooks.

 

 

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Rushmore Needles is a riot for sport climbing though I can't recall any specific routes I climbed. All were fun with many being pulls on various sized quartz crystals. Even a couple multipitch ones worth hitting.

 

Custer State Park is also full of excellent lines and formations as well. Climb there expecting a solid ground-up ethic with bolts widely spaced but generally there for crux moves. One crack that is definitely worth doing is the 5.9 "Sex Never Did This To My Hands". It's a fun left-angling crack that accepts pro and arms up to your elbows. The story behind its name is that Paul Pianna cried out after completing the first ascent, "That was better than sex!" His partner upon completing it commented, "Yeah it was, but sex never did that to my hands" and the name stuck. The boulder problems are fun (and challenging) and it's cool to feel a part of the climbing history that was created here.

 

If the brewpub in Rapid City still exists they serve up pretty good brew and buffalo burgers and the free camping (if it also still exists) is a nice contrast to the tourist trap of Mt. Rushmore just around the corner.

 

On Devils Tower many good things as well. Durrance route is an obvious low-end climb more fun for it position and scenery than the actual climbing. Even the sport routes along the base are fun for awhile though quite short.

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