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Cerberus

5.8, Trad, 70 ft,  Avg: 3.8 from 133 votes
FA: Royal Robbins
S Dakota > Custer SP > Tenpins/Switchb… > Tricouni Nail/Cerberus

Description

This is one of the best routes in the Needles, and is a must do for any climber. The climbing is fantastic, the summit is very cool, and the simulrap is exhilarating.

From the gully between Tricouni Nail and Queen Pin, look for a few old fixed pins on a steep face. Climb past the drilled pins to a good stance on a shoulder. Sling the shoulder and move up and left towards a ring bolt, placing a medium stopper in a seam along the way to avoid a groudfall. Traverse right at the ringbolt to another bolt, and then fire for the top on good crystals.

The route is only half over on top. Belay the follower from the top. To rappel, toss one end of the rope off either side with the rope laying in between two of the horns. Take a deep breath, and make a counterweight rappel off opposite ends of the spire. The simulrappel or Needles rappel is pretty commonly used to descend from summits with no anhors in the Needles area, and this is one summit that seems to have been designed for this technique.

Protection

Quickdraws for bolts and pins, long runner for a flake, medium stoppers.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

This is a photo that Paul Muehl had taken and produced into a postcard for his climbing friends. For several years in the late 1970's to the early 1980's we had a group of friends always show up for the second week of August and we all climbed and climbed and climbed. One day we would all go to the Ten Pins and do them all. This is a photo of someone on every summit. This Climb-a-thon was August 1979
[Hide Photo] This is a photo that Paul Muehl had taken and produced into a postcard for his climbing friends. For several years in the late 1970's to the early 1980's we had a group of friends always show up fo…
Ryan atop the Tricouni Nail after a misty rainy ascent on Memorial Day weekend.
[Hide Photo] Ryan atop the Tricouni Nail after a misty rainy ascent on Memorial Day weekend.
The classic needles simul rap
[Hide Photo] The classic needles simul rap
Climbing Cerberus. 30 May '10. Photo: Nate Erickson.
[Hide Photo] Climbing Cerberus. 30 May '10. Photo: Nate Erickson.
Leslie Hamilton photo, 1973.
[Hide Photo] Leslie Hamilton photo, 1973.
The Famous Needles Rappel.<br>
Chad Berger and John Wachter on the rope. Photo by the ChossMonkey
[Hide Photo] The Famous Needles Rappel. Chad Berger and John Wachter on the rope. Photo by the ChossMonkey
After the nut placement
[Hide Photo] After the nut placement
Ehren's first experience on Cerberus. "This is 5.8???"
[Hide Photo] Ehren's first experience on Cerberus. "This is 5.8???"
Me topping off Tricouni Nail. Super cool route!!
[Hide Photo] Me topping off Tricouni Nail. Super cool route!!
Simul-rapping off
[Hide Photo] Simul-rapping off
Photos by Adam Almquist
[Hide Photo] Photos by Adam Almquist
Misty day summit of Cerberus
[Hide Photo] Misty day summit of Cerberus

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Peter Gram
Portland, OR
 
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This is one of my favorite routes in the Needles. The climbing is very fun, the protection is more than adequate, and the simul-rappel off the summit horns is classic. Feb 5, 2003
wayniak
  5.8
[Hide Comment] Fun. Found it very open mid-late afternoon.Met a pair of climbers visiting from Japan. They drove over from the tower just to do this one route before heading back. Jul 24, 2005
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
  5.8
[Hide Comment] Great climb for sure! We climbed there last week (9-12-2006) and never saw any other climbers. Lots of tourists taking our photos though. =) The route has three pitons down low, the flake to sling, a nice crack perfect for a #9 BD wired stopper, a ring pin and a final bolt before the summit--nicely protected!

The summit perch is amazing and the simul-rap was a blast!! Sep 17, 2006
[Hide Comment] Favorite of my trip. As usual around here a little run out but the ring bolt half way up looks fairly new and would protect well. For the decent I lowered my second on the route side of the pin and then used him as my anchor to lower on the single strand down the other side with a 60m rope. Jul 22, 2007
Bob Kryzer
Minnesota
 
[Hide Comment] This route offers some great protection low on ther route to avoid ground falls, and some of the needles classic run outs near the top. Even has the best simul-rap in all of the black hills! Its totaly a classic! Oct 31, 2007
randy baum
Minneapolis, MN
[Hide Comment] Flake half-way up nicely takes a blue TCU. What a summit! Jul 15, 2008
[Hide Comment] Here's a video of Brent leading Tricouni at the BHCC Pinfest in July 2008.
video.google.com/videoplay?… Aug 17, 2008
[Hide Comment] Here is a link to photos of Brent climbing Tricouni and Eric just finishing the lead on Super Pin during July 2008 BHCC Pinfest:
picasaweb.google.com/wednes… Aug 17, 2008
Rich F.
Colorado Springs, CO
  5.8+
[Hide Comment] If you're curious about the strength of that funky ring bolt/pin above the flake -- I ops tested it and the ring held quite well. Mental note for next time -- traverse right onto the shoulder from the ring pin. While I fell on lead at that spot a couple times, my wife climbed straight to the top with no problems at all. A truly great climb, as my wife reminded me several times this weekend :-) Sep 5, 2011
Kevin Dahlstrom
Boulder, CO
 
[Hide Comment] Fun, well protected route and neat summit but the climbing itself is pretty run-of-the-ordinary 5.8 face climbing. Jul 21, 2012
Calvin Coffin
Concord, MA
[Hide Comment] What sort of anchor is it possible to build at the top? Feb 15, 2018
Eric Sorte
Albuquerque, NM
 
[Hide Comment] You can throw a sling around one of the knobs at the top for an anchor. The simul-rap was really fun. Great climb. It took us a minute to find it, as the towers kind of look the same and it's hard to tell where photos are taken from. But the three knobs on top make it distinctive. Sep 9, 2018