Elevation: 6,584 ft
GPS: 43.849, -103.533 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 212,271 total · 906/month
Shared By: Peter Gram on Jun 24, 2002
Admins: Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

Description

The Cathedral Spires hold some of the longer routes in the Black Hills. This is a great place for beginners to learn how to lead multi-pitch trad routes (classic 3-pitch routes that go at 5.4 and under). Also, there are many more challenging area classics. Most routes lead to awesome small summit perches.

Make sure to check out the standard routes on Spires 1-4, Station 13, God's Own Drunk, and Cat's Meow. Many routes have great belay ledges, and most all routes require a rappel (often needing double ropes). Few bolts exist, so bring a standard rack for almost every route. However, many fixed anchors are available.

The Cathedral Spires are numbered 1 through 9. There are roughly 75 summits in all in this small area, and many main gully systems for approaches. Nine main rock systems exist (each separated by a gully) with the highest spire given the number 1 through 9. The gullies become fairly unclear between Spires 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

Getting There

Follow the signs from Hill City to Sylvan Lake. At the Sylvan Lake entrance, pay the entrance fee, then drive 2.2 miles on highway 87 past the Needle's Eye, through the tunnel, and park at a small lot that is located on a tight hairpin curve. The Cathedral Spires can be clearly seen towards the north, and Sandberg Peak (5.8) is the cool rickety spire next to the lot.

Hike north towards the Cathedral Spires on trail #4 from the parking lot. Watch out for a faint trail leading off to the NE as you get close to the spires. Approaches vary per spire, but either follow the main trail up the hill and approach from the back side (uphill side) of the spires, or take this trail junction for lower spires.

At this point, usually a map is needed to choose the correct gully to hike up. Find out the appropriate gully and look for landmarks. The widest gully is the Spire 4-5 gully. Another landmark to look for is Khayyam Spire. It is located at the bottom of the Spire 2-3 gully, and has a steep yellow face on its south side.

112 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Cathedral Spires

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 158
Spire Four
Trad 3 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 112
East Face
Trad 3 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13
 34
Jan and Jane Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 43
East Chimney Variation
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
 52
International Chimney
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 26
West Gruesome
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 27
The Great Northwest Dihedral
Trad 4 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 28
North Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 51
Spire 1 Reppy Variation
Trad 4 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 39
Spire One East Chimney
Trad 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 37
Eyetooth
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 89
God's Own Drunk
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 23
South Tower Conn Route
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 18
Cat's Meow
Trad 3 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 16
Hang a Right at Fourth Avenue
Trad 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Spire Four Spire Four
 158
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 3 pitches
East Face Spire Two
 112
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 3 pitches
Jan and Jane Route Spire Two
 34
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13 Trad 2 pitches
East Chimney Variation Station 13
 43
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
International Chimney Spire Three
 52
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R Trad 3 pitches
West Gruesome Spire Four
 26
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
The Great Northwest Dihedral Spire Four
 27
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 4 pitches
North Crack Balcony Point
 28
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Spire 1 Reppy Variation Spire One
 51
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 4 pitches
Spire One East Chimney Spire One
 39
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Eyetooth Eyetooth
 37
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
God's Own Drunk Khayyam Spire
 89
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
South Tower Conn Route Spire Four
 23
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Cat's Meow Spire Three
 18
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Hang a Right at Fourth Avenue Spire Four
 16
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Cathedral Spires »

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