Type: Trad, Sport, 40 ft
FA: Piana, McMann, Whistler, Skinner - 10/89
Page Views: 10,424 total · 50/month
Shared By: Anonymous Coward on Apr 30, 2002
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

You & This Route

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Directions to the route may be found under the 'Rock' description of Picture Window. You'll know you're there when you see folks waiting for the route.

Seriously, it took until my 6th visit to Rushmore before I caught this route with no one on it. A cool rock graced with an incredible route. Very popular and deservedly so.

Gossamer climbs the right side of the fin / arete up to, beside, and over the hole (picture window) in the rock. The start is a bit of an awkward (yet easy) move up to a block and the start of the fin. As the ground drops off beneath the climb, it is wise to protect the first moves with a stopper (#10 BD?) or cam.

Once on the block, layback the fin, and start moving up clipping the bolts. With each move, the angle of the fin lessens and makes things just a bit easier. Once at the apex of the rock, you'll find 2 'quick clip' type anchors - slip the rope in & get lowered to the ground. Because of the nature of the route, it needs to be seconded to be cleaned, and rigging a TR wouldn't really work.

The climb is rated 5.7 and the moves are 5.7, but has a certain intimidation factor. A fall for the leader OR second could get a bit messy. As with so many climbs in the Black Hills, this isn't sport climbing - it is bolt protected climbing.


4 bolts = 4 draws, probably a nut (or two) for the start.
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
This is my favorite route at Rushmore.

This is a serious lead for very short climbers. The first bolt is a stretch to reach from a comfortable stance for me, and I am 6' tall. For short people, a very thin and hard for 5.7 move must be made before clipping the bolt - yikes! Placing a nut is a very good idea as you can fall a long way after the traverse onto the shoulder before you clip that bolt. Jul 3, 2002
Anonymous User
Anonymous User  

Wonderful starter Black Hills route. Great start, gets you thinking before you even leave the ground. Kinda neat getting lowered off and looking thru the picture window. Aug 12, 2002
Jim Schedin
Jim Schedin   MN

This route is on a massive angled flake with a huge picture-window hole in the middle. Doing a layback all the way up the huge flake makes this one of the most unusual and thrilling climbs in the area. Aug 14, 2002
Peter Gram
Portland, OR
Peter Gram   Portland, OR  

This climb definitely deserves 3 stars. I think it is great because there is no other climb anywhere like it (that I am aware of). The lieback moves are super fun too. Oct 8, 2002
Anonymous Coward  
Yep. You can place a nut in the first small crack. Once on the small ledge below the first bolt, you may want to throw a runner over the big jug. This makes clipping the first bolt a breeze. Love the new top anchors, too! Mar 17, 2003
If you want to protect the first moves but didn't bring gear try knotting a runner & wedging that in the cracks. I found a 'placement' that might have actually held a fall... Sep 29, 2003
Climbed it 08/01/04 with my wife pulling the second for me. I counted only 3 bolts, maybe I blew past one but I doubt it. In the morning it was shadey (nice for a 90+ day) and cool. Gossamer is a MUST for the Dead Presidents Area. Aug 1, 2004
Peter Gram
Portland, OR
Peter Gram   Portland, OR  
Cool photo Greg! That's an interesting perspective. Oct 15, 2004
Fun, interesting route. In the shade till late morning. Jul 25, 2005
Anonymous Coward  
Important Safety Note: The use of top anchors for top roping should be questioned. At many sport climbing areas the top anchors are used repeatedly for toproping. Visible wear can be seen and climbers still top rope directly from the top anchors. This is a Lazy Practice that should be stopped! It takes only moments for the leader to set up the top rope using quickdraws. This saves the anchors, saves time and money and it could even save someone's life! As the last climber, take the time to rappel verses being lowered down, rappelling will help save the anchors. Please help by setting an example.

Aug 8, 2005
Mark Watson
Mark Watson  
Beautiful route that gets your attention right away. Don't go here on a cold windy day. The wind funnels up the draws and slams into the rock. The first time I climed the route I was worried about getting blown off. The most recent time I damn near froze. When it is nice and warm out ... well then don't pass up the opportunity to climb this one of a kind route. Dec 24, 2005
Rapid City, SD
BenJammin   Rapid City, SD
I was climbing with a large group of guys and Sam Papendick was on lead, once he topped out and was on belay something happend a miss communication and Paps was dropped from just below the window, a ground pound the most gnarly shit I have seen in a long time. Aug 16, 2006
Joe M
Beckley, wv
Joe M   Beckley, wv
Probably the most fun route Ive ever done, anywhere! A definite must do! Very easy and very photogenic route... bring the camera! May 17, 2007
Duluth Mn
BIATHLON   Duluth Mn
There is no way you could convince me this route is not 4 stars, super classic. I remember three bolts when I did it last. Bring a camera!!! Dec 29, 2008
We were just there July 8, 2009 and were very disappointed to find the first bolt chopped. Since you start mid-way up, now the first bolt is a good 40' from the ground, making this route much more dangerous than before. Definitely need some nuts or cams to protect yourself at the start now.

We'd checked this route out in 2007 when we were in the area, but weren't quite ready to try it. We were ready to go this year, but not with the new exposure. Be sure to bring some pro to make this climb reasonable, especially given the low difficulty rating. Jul 11, 2009
joelhagan Hagan
Rapid City, SD
joelhagan Hagan   Rapid City, SD
I was on this recently...no chopped bolts then. There is only 4 bolts on this route and it has always been advisable to place a nut or cam down low. Jul 12, 2009
Oakland Park, Florida
Floridaputz   Oakland Park, Florida
I just climbed this again. Sweet laybacking and just enough bolts to make it an easy lead. I would advise that you check out the shuts at the end of the climb. They have serious wear groves from T/R and or lowering. You may need to back this anchor up. May 31, 2010
An absolute classic route. A must do for the 5.7-8 leader in the Black Hills imho. Work your lay-back and smearing to cruise to the top. Slot a small stopper down low to protect the opener. Jun 10, 2010
Climbed this one tonight as my second climb in the Black Hills. It was great, and I'd recommend it for anyone. Aug 31, 2012
Jason Todd
Cody, WY
Jason Todd   Cody, WY
If you don't like this climb, you hate America. Jul 27, 2014
Carson Eisenbeisz
Pierre, SD
Carson Eisenbeisz   Pierre, SD
Climbed 6-27-15, and there were only 3 bolts plus anchors. I used a small nut towards the beginning, and I also had my belayer sling a tree at the base. Jun 28, 2015
Classic exposure through the first two bolts, particularly for shorties. Bring your balls to enjoy the climbing and the view above bolt #3 Jun 29, 2016