The Needles of Rushmore

Andrew Busse and Andrew Burr
updated September 2019

Nearly 30 years since the release of Paul Piana’s Touch the Sky guidebook, The Needles of Rushmore Guidebook and App is a fully comprehensive update to the mystical treasure map of the granite in the Southern Black Hills (east of Harney Peak) of South Dakota. This rock climbing guidebook includes over 900 detailed routes from Palmer Gulch to Remington Road, including the popular sport climbing area, Mt. Rushmore. The Needles of Rushmore transcends guidebooks with the creative work of coauthor, Andrew Burr (senior climbing photographer of Climbing magazine). Combine this stunning photography with the meticulously sculpted route descriptions and The Needles of Rushmore sets a new benchmark for rock climbing guidebooks.

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Elkhorn Mountain

United States | The Black Hills of South Dakota


TRADITIONAL
MIXED PRO

Elkhorn Mountain, as referenced by the National Forest Service, is actually a ridge of Harney Peak. It is comprised of a long granite spine that desce...

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Nelson Creek Ridge


TRADITIONAL
MIXED PRO

This area is comprised of Harney Peak and the ridge to the N of the massif, Nelson Creek Ridge. Nelson Creek Ridge is home to countless Conn routes, a...

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Iron Mountain Picnic


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is a more modern area; development started in the mid 80’s but really flourished at the turn of the millennium. This area was part of the 2002...

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Raptor


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

A totally undeveloped, amazing little area in the Black Elk Wilderness. Road and follow it for 4.0 miles. Make another right to head N on Hwy-87 N...

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Raspberry Rocks


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is area has the highest concentration of crack climbing in the southern Black Hills. Climbing here will offer your fingertips a welcome rest from...

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Old Baldy Mountain Area

United States | The Black Hills of South Dakota


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This area is located within the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial boundaries and borders the adjacent climber areas: South Seas and Magna Carta. Its...

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Breezy Point


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Breezy Point is outside the NPS and Black Elk Wilderness boundaries. It has all variety of routes and minimal crowds. It offers a break from the hot...

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Emancipation Rockphormation

United States | The Black Hills of South Dakota


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Emancipation Rockphormation is the sister formation immediately north of Mt. Rushmore (Six Grandfathers). The Lakota Sioux likely distinguished Six...

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Visitor Center


TRADITIONAL
MIXED PRO

This is the first rock climbing area (west) after the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial Entrance. It is a highly sensitive area due to its proximity to ...

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Lafferty Gulch


SPORT
MIXED PRO

Directions: From Keystone, go west on Old Hill City Rd for 3/4 of a mile until you Lafferty Gulch gravel road on your left. Follow the gravel road up...

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Indian Rocks


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Description: Indian Rocks is a series of south facing granite walls, which are adjacent to Old Hill City Rd and the 1880 Train tracks. It is a great...

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Rubik’s Ridge Area


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Description: A convenient and diverse area that borders the Black Elk Wilderness on the W side of the Iron Mountain Road. Directions: From Keystone,...

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Chopping Block

United States | The Black Hills of South Dakota


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Park at the Chopping Block/South Seas Parking area and walk North West (towards Horse Thief Lake) down Hwy 244 for approximately 200 yards. Look South...

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Magna Carta

United States | The Black Hills of South Dakota


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

Magna Carta is comprised of the two formally independent areas or granite groups; Monster to the N, & Marker to the S. The area was consolidated in...

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Olton’s Shoulder

United States | The Black Hills of South Dakota


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is the highest formation visible on the left hand side of the road (west) as you pass by the profile view of Washington. This formation is part...

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South Seas


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is the area of rock stretching to the E of SD HWY 244 along the NW corner of the park boundary. The park boundary divides the area in half, with ...

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The Playground - Hidden Acres


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is the vast terrain that starts at the S side of the lake and stretches up the creeks and ridge for almost two miles to the S and SW. It is...

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Wrinkled Rock


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is the free climbers’ campground located just outside the northern park boundary on the Black Hills National Forest. It is considered dispersed...

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Primal Wall Area


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

This is the large wall downstream from Horsethief Dam. As you cross the dam, look N and you will see the wall. Directions: From the entrance of Mt...

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The Playground - The Outback


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

The Outback is another sub-group in the Playground. Similar to Hidden Acres, it is comprised of a vast sea of granite spires. Thus, navigating may ...

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The Playground Proper


TRADITIONAL
MIXED PRO

Approach: Start on Horsethief Lake Trail #14 and follow for 0.61 miles past the closed trail intersection/corridor to the Centennial Trail #89 in...

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The Outback SW


TRADITIONAL

Description: The following routes are some of the most remote routes in South Dakota, located in the middle of the Black Elk Wilderness. They are...

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Grizzly Bear Creek


TRADITIONAL

Grizzly Bear Creek offers remote adventures in Black Elk Wilderness on the eastern slope of the southern ridge of Harney Peak. These routes are also...

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The Chessmen


SPORT
TRADITIONAL

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...

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Mt. Dallymore


TRADITIONAL

This is the huge formation of the area, located across the draw S of The Chessmen. Oddly, the area is undeveloped or unreported. Location: (N...

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