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Dark Tower 

YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Mike Engle, Vern Phinney
Page Views: 820
Submitted By: Dave Rone on Sep 9, 2012

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (13)
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Traversing to the flake.

Check NPS for Closures


Scramble up to the northwest edge of the formation to get to the start of the route. Climb up and right on large holds to the first bolt. From here, traverse right and up past two more bolts to gain the flake. The moves past the third bolt to the flake are a little thin.

Climb the flake until you reach a stance on the right hand side of the blade, where you can clip the next bolt. Climbing past this, and the next bolt are the crux of the climb. It's think it's the hardest 5.8 I've done! Both Black Hills Jim and I think it's closer to 5.10.

After the crux, clip a third bolt and continue to the summit. A single 60m rope will easily get you down to an easy scrable back to your stuff.

All in all a pretty cool route! Bolts were put in on lead so it has a little different flavor than the typical Rushmore sport route.


Dark Tower is directly across the draw from Teachers Pet, and right of Crystal Ship. It's an obvious blade of rock. Cock Rock is directly behind it.


Protection is bolts and small to medium cams. Be sure to use some long slings in order to help reduce rope drag. There is a two-bolt anchor on top.

Photos of Dark Tower Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of the Dark Tower route.
BETA PHOTO: The start of the Dark Tower route.

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By L. Hamilton
Aug 26, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Excellent pitch, more complicated and a bigger lead effort than Pointy Little Devil next door. The long traverse makes it challenging for your second as well.
By Kirtis Courkamp
From: Golden
Aug 30, 2013

A very fine route with a heady second part after the flake. I would bring some webbing to replace the anchor slings if I remember right.
By harrison t
From: Black Hills, SD
May 4, 2014

There are new bolts and a new anchor(2b/chains) on this route. 3 traversing into the flake and 2 on your way to the chains after the flake. Really fun route w/ cool exposure.
By Tim Robinson
From: Custer, SD
Aug 3, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This felt a lot harder than 5.8 in spots. Traverse causes a lot of rope drag.

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