BETA PHOTO: Gnomon as seen from near the Needles Eye
You can see the tip of Gnomon from the West side Needles parking area if you walk a bit West. You'll say to your partner "That can't be it. It's skinny and overhanging." From the East side parking area which is a few hundred yards east of the tunnel, it's very obvious and not so scary looking. From the East viewpoint, the belay chains can be seen glinting in the sun. (You'd think the person installing them would have painted them. Ugly, Ugly!)
The rock is decent quality but crumbly through a few sections. The descent is via a one rope bolted rappel down the NW side. There's a nice little ledge next to the rap anchors. Save some friends (approx #1 to #3) for this ledge since belaying at the rap anchors means hanging. For what it's worth, there is a rusty pin at the ledge also.
The classic must-do route is Doody Direct (5.8).
From the West side Needles Eye parking area, continue East through the tunnel. Park immediately after the tunnel on your left at a small pullout next to a rock. Follow an eroded trail uphill. You'll see the spire straight ahead (about 150 ft. from the road) although it's hard to make it out due to the trees. John Page's green book "Recommended Climbs ..." gives a good description of approach also.
Climbing Season For the Needles Eye area.
Weather station 6.7 miles from here
3 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Gnomon
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Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Gnomon:
Featured Route For Gnomon
Doody Direct 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c South Dakota
: Custer State Park
: ... : Gnomon
This is a fantastic route and good adventure value! It has crack and face climbing as well as a cool and airy "step across" move. Follow the approach in the Gnomon rock description. At the base of the spire, follow it around to the left. Scramble up a gully to the NW face. When you are at a gently overhanging 30 ft crack, drop your pack. This is it!The crack starts out finger size and quickly goes to bomber hands. About 2/3 way up the crack, one can finesse a traverse right on good feet. OR cont...[more] Browse More Classics in South Dakota
View from the top of Gnomon