The Chessmen

The Needles of Rushmore


This is a very majestic and historical area on the eastern side of the range; another product of the Conns and Dingus McGee. The routes are nearly all traditional and were established in an ethically proud manner. Breaking Wave, 5.6, is an ultra Conn classic, a definite must do if you decide to make the trek in. Directions: From the entrance of Mt Rushmore National Park, continue NW on Hwy-244 for 3.0 miles to the Big Pine Centennial Trail #89 Trailhead, 0.4 miles NW of the dam; or see alternative approach. Park at the Big Pine Centennial Trail #89 Trailhead or for the alternative park at the second, lower parking lot at Horsethief Lake. (N 43.898567° W 103.485785°) Approach: (25-55 min) From the trailhead, hike S on Trail #89/Willow Creek Rushmore Trail - #5 for 1.22 miles for The Chessmen North (N 43.886650° W 103.497488°), or continue on Trail #89 for a total of approximately 1.5 miles to where the trail starts heading NE (N 43.886356° W 103.493064°). Locate a faint climbers’ trail that heads SW up the hill. Follow the trail uphill for 0.4 miles until perpendicular to Mt. Dallymore and the ridgeline of granite formations that is The Chessmen (N 43.882001° W 103.497802°). An Alternative Approach is to bushwhack from the second, lower parking lot at Horsethief Lake (N 43.891001° W 103.482623°). Descent: NSR, unless otherwise noted.

  • < 5.9
  • 10a - 10d
  • 11a - 11d
  • 12a - 12d
  • 13a >
  • The Chessmen North
    5 0 0 0 0
  • The Chessmen Proper
    18 2 3 0 0
  • Limp Richard
    19 1 1 0 0

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