Type: Trad, 100 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 6,239 total · 33/month
Shared By: John J. Glime on Jul 10, 2003
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

You & This Route

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The Moonlight Rib is the ridgeline you see after coming through the notch from the parking lot and looking down to your right. (The Northeast side of the formation.)

You will see some crystals which lead up to a ledge. Climb up to the ledge (about 12-15 feet) and walk straight while veering to your left for a few feet where you will see a gully/chimney on your right. Climb this for about 15 feet and you will see two horns which should be slung on your right while the main formation of the fan is on your left. Climb up, sling the horn(s), step across to the main mass of the rock and climb up on huge horns and crystals (girthhitching and slinging as you see fit) to the top. There is a two bolt anchor on top.

Descent: A two ropes from the chains to the ground.

Side notes:You can see a picture of this route on the cover of Rock and Ice issue #56 (July 1993) Very inspiring to new climbers (which I was in 1993, and ten years later was finally able to find.) Due to the nature, it seems, of the needles. The names I have used to post this route and formation may be incorrect. As well, while the issue of Rock and Ice calls this climb a 5.6, the person who eventually explained to me how to find this climb wrote that it is listed (where?) as a 5.3, again this may be due to the history of the needles as I really don't know what "5.3" climbing is. I feel comfortable telling beginners that this is a 5.5 route with some semi steep intimidating spots but remember that there are huge holds the whole way up the rib, but there are not a lot of protection opportunities so don't pass any by if you are nervous.


A set of nuts, smaller cams, and most importantly long slings (shoulder length runners can be used, but for comfort you should have a couple of double length runners.)
John Gunnels
Gillette, WY
  5.3 R
John Gunnels   Gillette, WY
  5.3 R
Some routes just "get you". This one does it for me. Can't really explain why... maybe the exposure... maybe the moves...

I now have a Needles favorite... Sep 5, 2007
joelhagan Hagan
Rapid City, SD
  5.3 PG13
joelhagan Hagan   Rapid City, SD
  5.3 PG13
I voted PG13 only because the holds were so HUGE! Oct 10, 2007
Weston Neiffer
Rapid City, SD
  5.3 PG13
Weston Neiffer   Rapid City, SD
  5.3 PG13
My first climb, I loved this route with little protection, big January wind, and exposure making for an outstanding experience. I love the climbing history of the Black Hills and want to thank you all. Jan 19, 2009
Rich F.
Colorado Springs, CO
  5.5 PG13
Rich F.   Colorado Springs, CO
  5.5 PG13
This is a great route -- easy to get to, easy climb, and great exposure for the last fifteen feet to the summit. Not sure why it is rated 5.3 here (I'm also not sure what a 5.3 route is exactly), but if you look at the pictures you can see that last bit of the climb is nearly vertical. Although the holds are big, there is little protection, unless you tie off a knob with a sling. I'm not a very good climber, but I like the 5.5 rating for this one. Jul 28, 2009