Elevation: 6,173 ft
GPS: 43.844, -103.563 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 691,311 total · 4,483/month
Shared By: Joey Wolfe on Nov 8, 2007
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

Description

Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a climbing area like no other, The Needles. From Sylvan Lake a road called the Needles Highway winds through spectacular and spell binding towers and spires. From this road climbers can access a playground of unparalleled face climbing on ever narrowing spires by way of quartz crystals ranging from tiny to hand sized.

 The area is steeped in a rich history dating back to Fitz Wiessner's accent of the Totem Pole in 1936. The area was then home to the prolific Herb and Jan Conn, two climbers way ahead of their time, who put up over 200 first ascents from their first visit in 1947 and eventual move to the area in 1949. In the 1960's climbers such as RoyalRobins, John Gill and Henry Barber put up routes that still wow climbers today with their high "pucker factor".

Locals such as Paul Muehl John Page, And Bob Archbold made their contributions to the Needle's catalog of bold climbs during the70's and into the 80's with the likes of Pete Delonney. The Needles has long been know for its purist ethics, which has made for some wild climbs and a Needles' staple, the infamous simul-rap. As Jan Conn said, "You can climb anything in the Needles, if you have the guts."

Custer SP is a world class destination not only for the climbing but also the absolute beauty of the place. Once there, the friendly people of Custer, the interesting scenery, and the relaxed park staff will make it hard to leave. While buying my $15 pass (7 days), I told a ranger why I was there. While we prepared to pull away he smiled and said, "You guys can go anywhere you want!" Yeah, if we have the guts.

Getting There

Once in Custer take Hwy 89/385 east out of town and then left on to Hwy 89 north to the Sylvan Lake entrance to Custer SP. From here is where the Needles Hwy starts and heads south.

594 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Custer State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
 83
Conn Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
 81
Hitching Post
Trad
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 130
Spire Four
Trad 3 pitches
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 59
Inner Course
Trad
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R
 66
Moonlight Rib
Trad
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 90
Better Than Beer and Pretzels
Sport
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 98
Lander Turkey Shoot
Sport
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 91
East Face
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 162
Conn Diagonal
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 73
Tent Peg
Trad
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
 138
Kamps Crack (Classic Crack)
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 140
Cerberus
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 52
Waste Knot
Sport
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
 80
God's Own Drunk
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 47
Four Little Fishies
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Conn Route Sylvan Lake > Photographers'… > Aquarium Rock
 83
5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a Trad 2 pitches
Hitching Post Needles Eye Area > Hitching Post
 81
5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a Trad
Spire Four Cathedral Spires > Spire Four
 130
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 3 pitches
Inner Course Sylvan Lake > Outlets > Youbet Jorasses
 59
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad
Moonlight Rib Needles Eye Area > Fan
 66
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R Trad
Better Than Beer and Pretzels Sylvan Lake > Outlets > Dam - Back Side
 90
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Sport
Lander Turkey Shoot Sylvan Lake > Outlets > Inner Outlet
 98
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport
East Face Cathedral Spires > Spire Two
 91
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 3 pitches
Conn Diagonal Sylvan Lake > Outlets > Outer Outlet
 162
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Tent Peg Tenpins/Switchb… > Tent Peg
 73
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Kamps Crack (Classic Crack) Sylvan Lake > Outlets > Inner Outlet
 138
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Trad
Cerberus Tenpins/Switchb… > Tricouni Nail/Cerberus
 140
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Waste Knot Sylvan Lake > … > Towers of Teeth > Ephel Duath
 52
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
God's Own Drunk Cathedral Spires > Khayyam Spire
 80
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Four Little Fishies Sylvan Lake > Photographers'… > Aquarium Rock
 47
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Custer State Park »

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