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Spire Four

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Great Northwest Dihedral, The T 
Hang a Right at Fourth Avenue T 
improbability drive T 
Kamps/Goldstone Route T 
Little Lark Crack T 
South Tower Conn Route T,S 
Spire Four T 
two EX squared T,S 
West Gruesome T 

Spire Four Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 43.84908, -103.53358 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 13,667
Administrators: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Andy Busse, Mike Housiaux, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Andrew Gram on Jul 9, 2002
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Greetings from the Black Hills!

Description 

Spire Four is the highest summit in the Cathedral Spires, and probably the most popular formation in the group. The view is spectacular, the rock is fantastic, the route unique, and the climbing superb. If you climb only one of the Cathedral Spires, this is the one to do.

Getting There 

Hike the Cathedral Spires trail around to the backside of the spires. Hike up the Gully between Spires 3 and 4. A short stretch of 4th class or possibly low 5th class leads to a high saddle between the spires - rope up if you feel uncomfortable.

Climbing Season



Weather station 5.0 miles from here

9 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',1],['5.8',2],['5.9',2],['5.10',1],['5.11',0],['5.12',1],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Spire Four

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Spire Four:
Spire Four   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 3 pitches, 210'   
West Gruesome   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 2 pitches   
The Great Northwest Dihedral   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 4 pitches, 280'   
South Tower Conn Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches   
Hang a Right at Fourth Avenue   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 220'   
two EX squared   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 360'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Spire Four

Featured Route For Spire Four
Rock Climbing Photo: Angela finishing pitch one by squeezing through th...

Spire Four 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c  South Dakota : Custer State Park : ... : Spire Four
Your first decision is HOW to get to the climb! Start off by going down the Cathedral Spires trail . . . (Option #1 The short way) go past the climbers spur till you are directly North of Spire 4. Approach the 3/4 gully from the N side of the spires by bushwacking up the hill. Climb 4th class wall to the 3/4 saddle. (Option #2 Fraggle Rock way) take the climbers spur (south of the spires)to the 3/4 gully, head up thru Fraggle Rock making some simple class 5 moves every now and agai...[more]   Browse More Classics in South Dakota

Photos of Spire Four Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on Spire Four - taken from Spire Three.
Climbers on Spire Four - taken from Spire Three.
Rock Climbing Photo: Probably a common scene for non-locals.  Pulling o...
Probably a common scene for non-locals. Pulling o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Route topo with pitch break down, note P1 is only ...
BETA PHOTO: Route topo with pitch break down, note P1 is only ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Wormhole
The Wormhole
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the first pitch or the scramble, depend...
BETA PHOTO: Looking up the first pitch or the scramble, depend...
Rock Climbing Photo: Halfway out of the wormhole
Halfway out of the wormhole
Rock Climbing Photo: Spire 4 from top of East Gruesome. South Tower on ...
Spire 4 from top of East Gruesome. South Tower on ...
Rock Climbing Photo: From Spire 5. "Hang a Right" is on the l...
From Spire 5. "Hang a Right" is on the l...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down on unknown climbers finishing East Gr...
Looking down on unknown climbers finishing East Gr...

Comments on Spire Four Add Comment
Show which comments
By Eric Krantz
From: Black Hills
Aug 31, 2004
Climbed the chimney system that contains Hang a Right at 4th Ave. I wasn't on the Hang a Right crack, I stayed in the back of the chimney, and crawled into the large flake on the left to set an anchor in the chockstones that have been slung sometime in the past. Went out the opposite side of the flake (away from Hang a Right, up the South Tower side) up a crack that petered out after maybe 40 feet. There was no protection past this. Climbed the big juggy face for maybe 40 feet before stepping back across to Spire 4. It was very loose in places (especially the 2nd pitch face). Beware the desk-sized wobbly stone halfway up the crack in the 2nd pitch. I have to admit I was lost. The climb was fun but the runout was loose, and I couldn't protect my 2nd after the crack ended (the 2nd pitch was a sideways horseshoe).
By Mike Kubes
From: Duluth MN
Jul 24, 2016
Super fun route! The guidebooks I have rate this route as 5.6+ and the other has it listed as 5.7. Nothing felt over 5.6 to me with the exception of the step-across, Maybe because it was super windy and I had tons of rope drag. The route is in the shade most of the day and a great area to climb on hot days. One 60m rope, nuts and cams 1-3 with a few runners would be plenty to get to the top. There are 3 bolted belay/rap stations on the route, all solid, with chains. The base of the route is marked by a big pine tree. I know, Big pine tree, sounds extremely vague but after the recent pine beetle kill and A LOT of chainsaw work by the feds, it will make sense.
By Daniel Evans
From: N Scottsdale, AZ
Jul 13, 2017
For someone without a guide book that has never been to the Cathedral Spires before, I thought that all of the beta, pictures, and directions on MP were either useless or overly descriptive to the point that it made something that should've been REALLY easy, somewhat difficult. So here is my trip report:



1 - Getting to the parking lot
-------------------------------------
Take Hwy 87 through the Sylvan Lake entrance, pay the fee, and just keep driving straight through (2) one-car tunnels, the second being just past the Eye of the Needle parking lot which will most likely contain a gaggle of tourists chasing around the resident mountain goats. Just drive through the tunnel if the goats are in there and gobble really loud like a turkey to scare them out, this worked well for us. Once you are past the tunnel, a few more switch backs will bring you to the extremely obvious parking lot for the Cathedral Spires trail head with the spires looming in the back drop. If you can't find this parking lot, then you probably shouldn't be climbing them. Park here.

2 - Getting to the base of the route
-------------------------------------
From the parking lot, the spires are located due north. Follow the main Cathedral Spires trailhead (traveling S --> N) until you reach the far left spire, at which point the trail curves up and hiker's left. We did not see any obvious paths, cairns, or "Climbing Spur" (whatever that is) marking any trails leading to the south side of the spires, and opted to follow the trail around the back side (north side) per the "Option 1" directions. So, if you don't want to bush wack just keep following the main trail up and left until you come around the back, or north side, of the spires. Once you have reached the point where you are on the north side of the spires, the picture posted above should be a familiar view with Towers 1 - 4 pictured from left to right, spire 4 being the tallest one on the far left. Find the path of least resistance (again, no marked trail or cairns here) and make your way to the divide between towers 3 and 4 as shown in the picture. Drop packs and belay at the large pine tree at the base of the route, or just scramble up P1 if your party is confident. The descent will bring you back to the same pine tree so leaving packs isn't an issue.

3 - The climb
-------------------------------------
Pitch 1 - From the large pine tree, scramble up the 3/4 divide between spires 3 and 4. I found the path of least resistance here to be on the climber's right. Once at the top of P1 there are bolted anchors to your immediate right, but I recommend that you do not belay here as you will want to move your belay up and left into the obvious cave-like feature before starting up P2 for the worm hole. At this point you are walking on flat ground anyway, so just walk around to the left and scramble 3/4 up the face. P2 is the water drainage chute to the climber's left and if you look closely you can see the light shimmering through the worm hole at the top. Just left of the worm hole, you can see the rappel anchors. (5.0)

Pitch 2 - As someone who leads 5.8/5.9 in areas like Joshua Tree and Tahquitz, I felt that this pitch was actually a little heady mostly due to the poor gear opportunities, suspect rock quality, rattly chock stones, and water run off. If all of the rock were dry and didn't appear as though it were about to snap off under body weight, this might go at the suggested 5.4 grade. But with the aforementioned conditions it felt a bit harder to me, 5.6 seems fair? Anyway, carefully chimney your way up this up into the worm hole. I have a 32" waist, 5'9" at 175 lbs, and I fit through on my first try though I did rip my shorts and feel my gear snag multiple times. Getting both arms through the hole before your head definitely helps here. I was initially planning on bypassing the worm hole by climbing the face to the left, but when I got up to it the rock quality looked brittle and the pro was run out for the first 15 ft. But if the holds didn't snap and send you cratering to the slab below, this would probably go at 5.6-5.7 face. After surmounting the worm hole, belay off of the bolted anchors directly in front of you. (5.6 PG-13)

Pitch 3 - Follow the path of least resistance, bypassing 1-2 noticeable 5.6-5.7 crux sections. Rock quality is much improved on this pitch and the climbing is really straight forward scrambling with really short intermittent sections of actual face/crack climbing. Try to only place gear when absolutely necessary on this pitch to avoid rope drag for the step across. The step across is extremely easy and not as committing as I expected. If I had to rate the step across by itself, I would say it goes at 5.2. (5.7 PG-13 for the hardest 1 move)

4 - Descent
-------------------------------------
Did anyone else experience a ridiculous amount of flies and bugs at the summit? We had no issues until we topped out, then it turned it something out of a national geographic film. Was kind of odd. Anyway, (3) Single rope rappels via the same route on bolted anchors with rings return you to the base of the pine tree. We used a 60 m rope without issues, but a 50 m would probably work as well.

Hope this clears up any confusion for those after me.

Cheers and safe climbing,

Dan
By Mike McNeil
From: Spearfish, South Dakota
Jul 13, 2017
I have always approached that route from the other side. There is also a very solid 5.8 or 5.9 about 350ft long right below the "3" in your picture. Super fun and sustained climbing. Take some big gear. I believe it is the Goldstone Kamps as listed in Piana's book.

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