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The Needles Of Rushmore

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Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Mile High Challenge Course
The advanced course combines portions of the Mickelson Trail with rugged side trails to provide a challenging, fun ride. Near Lead, South Dakota
Mickelson: Deadwood to Edgemont
An easy and scenic long-distance route through the heart of the Black Hills. Near Deadwood, South Dakota
Mickelson Trail
An easy and scenic long-distance route through the heart of the Black Hills. Near Deadwood, South Dakota
Deerfield Trail Ride
A beautiful ride through grass vallies with many, many stream crossings. Near Colonial Pine Hills, South Dakota
Centennial Trail Elk Creek TH to Alkali TH
A singletrack adventure on the Centennial Trail #89. Near Sturgis, South Dakota
Centennial Trail - Dalton TH to Elk Creek TH
This section of the long-distance Centennial Trail features big climbs and descents. Near Summerset, South Dakota
From MP's sister site:

The Needles Of Rushmore Rock Climbing 

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Location: 43.91226, -103.43519 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 90,797
Administrators: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Andy Busse, Mike Madsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Mike Madsen on Feb 28, 2017


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The Needles of Rushmore encompasses most of the same areas described in the new guidebook. This is one of the more complex areas in the Black Hills. There is endless rock as far as the eye can see. With the tall granite formations of Mount Rushmore to the vast sea that is The Chessman on the flanks of Black Elk Peak 7,242ft ( Harney Peak.) Or as one looks out among the oasis of spires scattered in a serene valley. Situated ready for the next adventurer to find his or her way to their summit. The Playground offers a grand Black Hills experience and from the distance you can see the mighty Cathedral Spires and Little Devils Tower.

Getting There 

for most of the information listed on this page a good hub town for these areas is either keystone on the east or Hill City on the west. Most of the climbing lies between these two towns.

Rock Climbing Photo: Black Hills Map
Black Hills Map

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.3 miles from here

917 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',157],['3 Stars',411],['2 Stars',259],['1 Star',82],['Bomb',4]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Needles Of Rushmore

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Needles Of Rushmore:
Boxcars and Airplanes   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   South Seas : Sharkstooth
Second Hand Rose Arete   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 155'   South Seas : Hornets Nest
Weird Water   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   Marker : Middle Marker Area
Gossamer   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Monster North : Picture Window
Solitaire   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   South Seas : Borneo
Shark's Breath   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   South Seas : Sharks Fin
Shark Bait   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   South Seas : Sharks Fin
Waves   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 2 pitches, 180'   South Seas : Shipyard Rock
Bolts for Bobs   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   South Seas : Borneo
Pointy Little Devil   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 115'   Monster North : Shakers
Star Dancer   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 105'   Marker : Middle Marker Area
Just Jugs   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   North Park : Unknown Area 1
Garfield Goes To Washington   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   Emancipation : White House Wall
Evergreen   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 140'   Chopping Block : Pine Tree Rock
Lead Fillings   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   South Seas : Child's Molar
Valdez Overhang   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, TR, 40'   Chopping Block : Chopping Block
Baba Cool   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Chopping Block : Chopping Block
The Pollinator   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   South Seas : Hornets Nest
Pelican's Dike-ination   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   South Seas : Borneo
Mr. Critical   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 140'   South Seas : Hornets Nest
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Needles Of Rushmore

Featured Route For The Needles Of Rushmore
Rock Climbing Photo: Spunky Monkey

Spunky Monkey 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b  South Dakota : The Needles Of Rushmore : ... : Breezy Point Main Wall
Follow the same start as "For What It's Worth." Traverse right and clip the bolt out right and swing under roof. Follow ramp under and around right of the roof into the steep crack. Fight the pump to the summit....[more]   Browse More Classics in South Dakota

Comments on The Needles Of Rushmore Add Comment
Show which comments
Jun 9, 2017
For first time climbers in the area, figuring out which pulloff to park at/finding the trailhead with the sign-in khiosk, and finding the routes in the Monster, Marker, Shaker area MIGHT be challenging. There are some contradicting information in the descriptions and comments. I really love MP but sometimes it's best to buy the book. My boyfriend and I used MP to find the area and routes and both struggled. He has a great amount of expirence and the directions still stumped him. Once we actually figured out where to park and sign-in we made our way to the base of the correct area. Then the biggest challenge was finding where the routes were... We didn't want to be overly confident and jump on routes we thought were the correct ones. The confusing directions for all of the routes led us to frustration and disappointment. My boyfriend has decades of expirence and skill and he wasn't just going to jump on a route he wasn't sure was correct. I followed his lead and failed to figure out what routes we were looking at. From leaving the campground to finally giving up and driving to Hills City to buy the book was about a three hour adventure. BtW, nowhere in the town of Keystone has any guide books! You must go to Hill City which is about 20-30 min away from Keystone. Go to Granite Sports. They had a great selection of books and were very nice and helpful! We bought "The Needles of Mount Rushmore" by Andrew Nurse and Andrew Burr. It was recommended to us and we heard from others this was the book to get. If the weather turns and starts hailing and storming for food stop in Desparados for some food! Great prices for the area and very friendly staff. When we finally got back to climbing using the book got us quickly to where we wanted to climb and with their helpful descriptions we found the routes immediately and we got to climb! I recommend to routes in Magna Carta, Picture Window routes.. cool, unique routes. Getting to the arête can be spooky of you don't like a lot of exposure. Layback moves are key to make it more fun and less challenging. Placing fear towards to the of any of the routes on this wall can be tricky and spooky with the exposure I mentioned before.
By Mark Orsag
From: Omaha, NE
Aug 22, 2017
As someone who transitions gym to crag every summer at Rushmore, a couple of tips for climbers doing that. This is a less natural transition than at many other outdoor climbing areas because of the generally stiff grades and highly technical nature of the climbing with lots of friction moves and small crystals for holds. But the payoffs for "going to school" on the Rushmore granite are huge. Hundreds of great sport routes from 5.6 to 5.13 (with all of those grades well-represented). Start at South Seas or Chopping Block which tend to be, on the whole, a bit "softer" than some of the other crags at Rushmore. Another great Rushmore crag for gym to crag climbers would be Breezy Point. The rock is definitely more featured and hosts dozens of well-protected sport routes. There is some annoying (and potentially dangerous if you have kids in tow, etc.) scrambling, but the climbing is way more "handsy" than at other Rushmore crags and well worth the trouble.
By SThal
From: Logan, UT
Aug 22, 2017
Follow the obvious route.

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