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Routes in Middle Marker Area

Big Dripper T,S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Borealis Strut S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Broken Promises T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Crystal Shard S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Deja' Vu Prophecy S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Don't Stahl S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Equinox S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Help s On the Way S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Is That Uranus S 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13
Jupiter Fly By S,TR 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Kristallnacht S 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Little Dripper T,S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Make Believe S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Micro-Climb S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mintaka T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Moonstone S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Orions Belt T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Raisins in the Sun T,S 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
Roadside Plum T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Rum and Coke S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
SLAMAT S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Saturn Boogie S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Skywalker S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Solo System S,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Spacedust S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Star Dancer S,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Weird Water T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
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Type: Sport, TR, 105 ft
FA: Mike Engle, Vernon Phinney, Howard Doyle -1985 Ground Up
Page Views: 7,105 total · 34/month
Shared By: Anonymous Coward on Sep 30, 2001
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

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Access Issue: Check NPS for Closures Details


Follow the directions under the Marker area. Star Dancer is found about 2/3 the way up the drainage / gully, on the right (of course). There is a large (20-30') boulder lying against the rock, Star Dancer starts just to the right of this.

As this is a popular route, you can scope the route by just looking at the polished / rubbed off holds all the way up the rock fin. The first bolt is a bit off the ground; one may clip it off the boulder if desired. After that, continue up the steep face choosing the biggest & best crystals you can find. If I remember correctly, there might be a bit of a friction move here & there, but for the most part there are nice, positive holds all the way. I don't recall the exact bolt count, but there are lots of them & the climb is a full 100'.

Descent is by rappelling the face you just climbed. By angling to the climber's left a 60m rope should just touch down. If you've got a 50m trail a second rope.

For additional fun, the climb Jupiter Fly By may be TR'd by rapping to climber's right to the JFB anchors. In a pinch this would be an alternate descent if you're stuck at the summit with a 50m rope...


10 bolts plus something for the 2 bolt anchor on top.
This route was first climbed by Mike Engle. It was drilled on the lead. Mike's first wife Sherri always thought Stardancer would be a nice name for a route. So when Mike saw this route he knew he would use Sherri's Stardancer for the name.

Alot of the route information for Rushmore including first ascent names can be found in Vern Phinney's Guide book for Mount Rushmore. He is currently working on a new edition which should be out next spring. Aug 7, 2002
The crux move is about 2/3rds up. A little left traverse with not much for hand holds. You have to trust your feet. It's well bolted though because the bolt is near the crux move. If leading this climb is beyond your comfort zone, you can scramble from the backside to set up a top rope. Be safe and clip in while fiddling around at the top. Then after you top roped it you'll wish you would have just lead it! (been there, done that!) :-) Jun 16, 2003
chad m. davis
chad m. davis  
Did not think this climb was worth the effort it took to achieve the summit. There was no payoff that warrents this climb any stars ... let alone any dancing.Counted 10 clips. I recomend that if belaying inbetween the boulder and the climb for TR, that you leave in a draw at bolt 5 or 6, clipping it back into the system upon lowering. Doing this will prevent an ugly swing into the gully that separates Stardancer from Solo System. Aug 15, 2004
Anonymous Coward  
An all-time classic. A must do for everyone. Deserves five stars on the three star system. It is hard to invision someone not having a great time on this climb. Less elaboration, more upward motion. Sorry you had a bad day. Aug 16, 2004
Brad Boner  
This was my first lead in the Hills, and it freaked the hell out of me. I had the chance to do it again last summer and found it was still well worth the time. I think this route has gotten a little harder over the years as some small crystals have seemed to have broken off near the top, and it may go around 5.9 these days. A well-protected route, however, and a must-do in my opinion. I feel like you're on your own on this one, Chad, as just about every regular Black Hills climber I know holds this one in high regard and consider it a Hills classic, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I hope you'll give it another chance some day! Aug 16, 2004
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
I think it is hard to imagine a better 5.8 frictiony sport route anywhere. I haven't done it since probably 1996, but it felt like very average 5.8 at that time. Aug 16, 2004
Rapid City
DakotaToni   Rapid City
I agree with Brad. This climb has had crystals broken off and is probably closer to a 5.9. I also agree that this is one of the classic climbs in the area.

BTW Brad, how are things going in western Wyoming?

Toni Aug 16, 2004
Brad Boner  
Hey, Toni (and to all my other BH climbing homies),

Western Wyoming has been completely refreshing, you might imagine, compared to my former residence in Gillette. A whole new crop of wilderness to explore, and we've been really taking advantage of it. But even with all these mountains and all that rock in my back yard, I still miss the Black Hills. Hope to make it back before the snow flies, so keep in touch.

Heading up the Grand this week, so wish me luck

Cheers,Brad Aug 17, 2004
Paul Huebner
Portage, WI
Paul Huebner   Portage, WI
I've only led this route twice. Both times it was the highlight and last climb for those two trips right before facing the 770 mile drive home. In any case, it's a fantastic climb even though the top doesn't have a summit-like view. Also, for me, the crux was near the top just above the last bolt. May 4, 2005
Gary Schmidt
Boulder, CO
Gary Schmidt   Boulder, CO
Classic climb that will keep you on your toes (hopefully) the whole way. Crux is near the top when things smooth out a little, probably 5.9 at that point. We counted 13 bolts plus two for the anchor. 60 meter ropes barely gets you down but does the job. Jun 25, 2007
Oakland Park, Florida
Floridaputz   Oakland Park, Florida
I thought this climb was outstanding. Sustained and thoughtful. It see's a lot of traffic. Dec 17, 2008
mason boos
fo co
mason boos   fo co
a must do if your around! and to the left there is a route you can top rope on to get nice n' warm. Mar 30, 2011
Paul Huebner
Portage, WI
Paul Huebner   Portage, WI
Just repeated Star Dancer and either I'm getting too old (turn 65 this Tues.), or the moves for the hands above the last bolt are definitely 5.9 smears. Sep 17, 2011
Chris treggE
Madison, Beersconsin
Chris treggE   Madison, Beersconsin  
I agree 5.8 might seem a bit sandbagged, but the worst part of this excellent route was the fear of the cheese grater effect from potentially falling. Thanks to Aaron Costello for not making excessive fun of me for squealing like a schoolgirl upon making the crux move up high over the slabby bulge. Apr 25, 2014
12 bolts? 13 bolts?
I could only find about 10. Any idea if i was on the wrong route? Generally easy climbing but kinda spooky with the "mising" bolts. The "runout" was through all last three bolts. Jun 22, 2015

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