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Areas in Cathedral Spires

Balcony Point 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Bartizan Wall 7 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Blockhead 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Broken Point 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
East Gruesome 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Eyetooth 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Flying Buttress 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Freak's Fright 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Grace Note Spire 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Heck-of-a-Note 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Javelin 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Khayyam Spire 10 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Land of Oz 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Laureate Tower 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Lightning Rod 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Moving Finger 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Obelisk 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Rubaiyat Spire 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Sharp 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Spindle 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Spire Eight 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Spire Four 9 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Spire Nine 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Spire One 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Spire Seven 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Spire Six 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Spire Three 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Spire Two 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Spire five 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Sputnik 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Station 13 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Stimulation Spire 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Tower of Darkness 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Tuning Fork 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Tusk 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Vanguard 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Yellow Jacket 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Elevation: 6,584 ft
GPS: 43.849, -103.533 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 87,044 total · 457/month
Shared By: Peter Gram on Jun 24, 2002
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Andy Busse, 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.

100 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
Spire Four
Trad 3 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
East Face
Trad 3 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
West Gruesome
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
East Chimney Variation
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
International Chimney
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
North Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Spire 1 Reppy Variation
Trad 4 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Spire One East Chimney
Trad 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Eyetooth
Trad 2 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
God's Own Drunk
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
South Tower Conn Route
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Cat's Meow
Trad 3 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Hang a Right at Fourth Avenue
Trad 2 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Tagua
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
The Naked Rib
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Spire Four Spire Four
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 3 pitches
East Face Spire Two
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 3 pitches
West Gruesome Spire Four
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
East Chimney Variation Station 13
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
International Chimney Spire Three
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R Trad 3 pitches
North Crack Balcony Point
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Spire 1 Reppy Variation Spire One
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 4 pitches
Spire One East Chimney Spire One
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Eyetooth Eyetooth
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
God's Own Drunk Khayyam Spire
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
South Tower Conn Route Spire Four
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Cat's Meow Spire Three
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Hang a Right at Fourth Avenue Spire Four
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Tagua Tusk
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
The Naked Rib Bartizan Wall
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R Trad, Sport 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Cathedral Spires »

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Photos

CCas
Chicago, IL
CCas   Chicago, IL
What's the best guide book for this area? Jul 29, 2014
randy baum
Minneapolis, MN
randy baum   Minneapolis, MN
If climbing Freaky Fright, Myopic Matron, or other small spires in the area, take webbing, rap rings, and/or extra pro to replace or back up anchors. Freaky Fight's anchors, for instance, are especially in disrepair. Two 30 year-old pitons equalized with aged 7-8 mm cord. Jul 15, 2008
joelhagan Hagan
Rapid City, SD
joelhagan Hagan   Rapid City, SD
I've been climbing every month this year!!! It's always a good time to climb the Black Hills. Jun 10, 2007
hey danno,
I recommend summer. SD is usually windy and even on a calm day you'll feel it on these spires. Of course I'm little picky tho.
john Jun 6, 2007
Is anyone aware of whether or not any ice forms in the Spires during the winter months? The Worm Hole Route on Spire 4 gets pretty wet in the summer at times, maybe there would be some potential for ice to form? Any info is appreciated... Nov 25, 2003
WHEN IT COMES TO CLIMBING IN THE BLACK HILLS THE SPIRES ARE ABOUT AS GOOD AS IT COULD EVER BE. BEUTIFUL TEMPS KNOWBODY AROUND AND SUPER LONG ONE PITCH ROUTES PLUS SOME MOST EXILLENT MULTI PITCH ROUTES SUCH AS CONN ROUTE ON RYBIUAT, THE YELLOW WALL, AND WINDOW TO THE WEST. IF YOU DONT GO THERE ENOUGH YOU WILL NEVER FIGURE THE PLACE OUT SO IF YOUR LOOKING FOR A CHANGE OF PACE FROM THE SHMORE OR CANYON WHATEVER HEAD ON UP TO THE NEEDLES & HOP ON SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER DONE. Sep 8, 2003

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