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Elevation: 6,584 ft
GPS: 43.8487, -103.5333
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 256,474 total · 971/month
Shared By: Peter Gram on Jun 24, 2002
Admins: Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mikel Madsen, Mark Rafferty

Description Suggest change

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 Suggest change

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.

131 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
 188
Spire Four
Trad 3 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 139
East Face
Trad 3 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13
 40
Jan and Jane Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
 62
International Chimney
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 30
West Gruesome
Trad 2 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 64
Spire 1 Reppy Variation
Trad 4 pitches
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
 33
North Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 46
Eyetooth
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 97
God's Own Drunk
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 27
South Tower Conn Route
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 23
Cat's Meow
Trad 3 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
 15
East Gruesome
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 18
Hang a Right at Fourth Avenue
Trad 2 pitches
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 6
Silk and Sangria
Trad 2 pitches
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
 8
Highly Suspicious
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Spire Four Spire Four
 188
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 3 pitches
East Face Spire Two
 139
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 3 pitches
Jan and Jane Route Spire Two
 40
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13 Trad 2 pitches
International Chimney Spire Three
 62
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R Trad 3 pitches
West Gruesome Spire Four
 30
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
Spire 1 Reppy Variation Spire One
 64
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 4 pitches
North Crack Balcony Point
 33
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Trad 3 pitches
Eyetooth Eyetooth
 46
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
God's Own Drunk Khayyam Spire
 97
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
South Tower Conn Route Spire Four
 27
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Cat's Meow Spire Three
 23
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
East Gruesome E Gruesome
 15
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R Trad
Hang a Right at Fourth Avenue Spire Four
 18
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Silk and Sangria Khayyam Spire
 6
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad 2 pitches
Highly Suspicious Station 13
 8
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c Trad
More Classic Climbs in Cathedral Spires »

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