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Dire Spire 
Emancipation Boulders 
Five Card Draw 
Pennsylvania Ave. 
Political Gamblers 
Truman Tower 
White House Wall 


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Location: 43.8807, -103.4619 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Andy Busse, Mike Housiaux, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Peter Gram on Jul 1, 2002


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BETA PHOTO: A view of the rock with the Dire Spire on the lowe...

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Emancipation Rockphormation is the epitome of Mount Rushmore climbing, a must do for any visiting climbers. Although much climbing is legal here, make sure that the rock that you are on is legal to avoid trouble (large fines and possibly jail for climbing or hiking in the wrong places). Boundary signs are in place to avoid crossing into the restricted areas.

This said, the legal areas on this wall are a great place to go. Relatively long routes (3 pitches) are found, and a lot of good cracks are available. Also, a wicked looking spire called Dire Spire is in the area which has some good routes on it.

7/1/10 ATTENTION: The boundary line has changed and is no longer the major gully. The new boundary is the top of White House Wall. This means the routes are still in the legal limits but you MUST RAPPEL and cannot walk-off White House Wall!

Getting There 

From the stoplight at Mount Rushmore, drive about 1 mile away from Keystone and park at a pulloff on the right side of the road. This pulloff should be quite near Dire Spire, a large independent spire just east of the road.

Climbing Season

Weather station 0.7 miles from here

70 Total Routes

['4 Stars',20],['3 Stars',29],['2 Stars',14],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Emancipation:
SPAT   V2 5+     Boulder   Daddy's Area : SPAT Boulder
Atomic Weiner   V2 5+     Boulder   The Manhattan Boulders : Atomic Boulder
The Cavity   V3 6A     Boulder   Emancipation Boulders : Upper Emancipation
Slant Eyes   V3+ 6A+     Boulder   Daddy's Area : Mini Marker
The Southern Oracle   V5 6C     Boulder   Emancipation Boulders : The Oracle
Slant Crack   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   White House Wall
Conn Route   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, 2 pitches, 180'   Dire Spire
Garfield Goes To Washington   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   White House Wall
Impeachable Offense   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Dire Spire
Royal Flush   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   Five Card Draw
Political Prowness   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 420'   White House Wall
Aces High   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Political Gamblers
Garfield's Forgiven Affair   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   White House Wall
The Engagement   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Dire Spire
Wife Sentence   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   White House Wall
Smear Campaign   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 320'   White House Wall
Read My Clips   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Pennsylvania Ave.
Chemical Wire   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   White House Wall
Grounds for Divorce   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 125'   White House Wall
Tap and Die   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   White House Wall
Browse More Classics in Emancipation

Featured Route For Emancipation
Starting crack of Smear Campaign, etc.

Smear Campaign 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b  SD : Mount Rushmore National Mem... : ... : White House Wall
Follow the trail from the pull-out toward the main wall; the free-standing formation at the left side of the White House wall is Pennsylvania Ave Pennsylvania Ave.. Trend around left of this to spot the start of the route (ie, the slightly left-to-right leaning hand crack). Coming from Garfield area, one can stay close to the main wall and scramble up behind Penn Ave, then down a nice terraced slope. If you hit the big alcove, go back 20 feet to the right....[more]   Browse More Classics in SD

Photos of Emancipation Slideshow Add Photo
Emancipation, and the area now known as Magna Cart...
Emancipation, and the area now known as Magna Cart...

Comments on Emancipation Add Comment
Show which comments
By Eric Krantz
From: Black Hills
Jun 8, 2005
Interested to know more about the crack just to the right of Chemical Wire. The crack is the left side of a 'V', kinda offwidth, going up left towards the Chemical anchors. It's a good way to toprope chemical wire if, like me, it's beyond your ability.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 28, 2005
The profile route has seen a FA. Rob Pizm from Golden Colorado did the route this weekend giving it 13a/b. Good Job Rob.
By Mike Cronin
Oct 27, 2005
VernI just spoke with Rob Pism about the first ascent of Profile 13a/b. He and his partners have given it the name of "Three Musketrre's". So if you are going to update the guide book you may make a note of this. I think they are coming back this weekend to try Paul Piana's Flamingo Drinker on Ottens Shoulder. Paul gave permission to open that one up. So Vern keep your pen ready for another update on this one.
By Mark Jacobs
Nov 6, 2005
Congratulations on the send of Profile/3 Musketeers. It must be 17+ years since it was "envisioned" by Vern? My generation truly owes a debt of gratitude to those from the previous generation (like Vern).

Great to hear the route's opened-up. - Mark J.
By Adam Haggerty
Dec 27, 2005
Question...On Garfield, instead of traversing over below the roof a fingercrack keeps going up past a tree, close to the bottom of the roof. Does anyone know what it is, what it is rated, and how easily it is protected?
By Aaron Costello
From: Rapid City, SD
Apr 22, 2006
Brent et al.,

Is it possible for the BHCC to convince park rangers to take a day and remove the old, and currently bogus, "No Trespassing" signs? If there is one thing that is going to keep people from climbing, it's thinking they may be arrested or fined.
By AhK
Nov 15, 2010
Looking for information on a variation of Garfield. Instead of traversing to the ledge on P2, there is a crack that goes straight up past a tree to anchors with webbing. Anyone know anything about this crack?
By Andy Busse
From: Rapid City, SD
Nov 26, 2010
That crack is IHOP 5.10
Bob Archbold route
By Justin Kolbeck
Aug 28, 2011
if you do the garfield variation straight up past the tree it goes without saying to wear a helmet...almost took some rocks to the ol noggin.
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