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#5274 - 08/06/02 10:04 PM Were do I go from here?
Bolt_Skytop Offline

Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 422
Loc: New Paltz, New York
I was in the Boulder area for about a week. I had to return home and I am back in New York for the week of 8/3-8/12 while my car is waiting for me at the Denver airport.
I will be returning to Colorado on the 12th to spend the next two weeks climbing (hopefully) When I was in Boulder last week the place was empty and I thus had trouble finding partners.
I tried the usual spots Santinas and Flagstaff boulders, the message board at Neptune Mountaineering, Chattaqua park (the Flatirons), and Eldo canyon. At Chattaqua park, on a Saturday, I walked to several areas: 1st and 2nd flatiron, the amphitheater, and gregory canyon. There was nobody around. In fact, I saw one party of climbers all day. This made for awesome hiking as what was usually a crowded area was all for me but this did limit my climbing however.
I asked around and recieved several different reasons why boulder was empty all speculation of course. They include CU out of session, fires in estes park, economic instability, month long heat wave, and a few others.
Well whatever the reason, I had a great time bouldering and hiking but would like to climb somewhere with a rope when I get back. I thought of driving to the Tetons but this would add 500 miles to my trip home. I would lose two days of climbing to driving and make a 2100 mile ride home a 2600 mile ride home. No thanks.
I have thought about the Black Hills as well, but I am having a hard time getting information on the area. I have searched this forum and it seems Sylvan Lake Campground is the place to stay in SD. Where is this in relation to Mount Rushmore, or the Needles? Has anybody been out there alone in August? Where you able to meet partners? If so where? Is there a guide book? I know Andrew thought about writing one but then moved on, did anybody else write one? If I can't find people, what are some popular bouldering spots? Good hikes? Would you go someplace else? Any and all beta would be appreciated.
My fall back plan is to hike 12 and 13ers in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. There are worse ways to spend two weeks:)

#5275 - 08/07/02 03:08 AM Re: Were do I go from here? [Re: Bolt_Skytop]
rg@ofmc Offline

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Andrew and his brother have started a website, devoted to the Needles, Mt. Rushmore, and the surrounding areas. August is a good month for the Needles, though it can be hot. I would guess that finding partners could be a problem. The Needles aren't a mainstream area and there may not be many climbers around at any one time.

Although it is out of print and so also out of date, Touch the Sky by Paul Piana has more than you can possibly do and has the maps you need to find your way around. The book was published by the AAC and will be in their library. I don't know whether it can be found used from one of the climbing book sellers. Of course, the guidebook isn't much use if you can't find partners.

#5276 - 08/07/02 12:45 PM Re: Were do I go from here? [Re: Bolt_Skytop]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
I was in Boulder 2 weeks ago. The normal flatirons areas were deserted due to 1) the falcon closure and 2) the 97 F heat wave. Boulder Canyon OTOH was hoppin'. Castle Rock was busy with the after work crowd when I drove by, and the other popular crags seemed to be getting climbed every day. And there's always Lumpy Ridge if the lower crags are still too hot.

#5277 - 08/07/02 01:51 PM Re: Were do I go from here? [Re: Bolt_Skytop]
cori Offline

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 1357
Call Sylvan Rocks/Granite Sports at 605 574-2425 ( They might be able to give you info on getting a partner there - the campground you mention is great and a short drive to rushmore and a walk to local climbing as well. Wish I was there!

#5278 - 08/07/02 06:58 PM Re: Were do I go from here? [Re: Bolt_Skytop]
andrew Offline


Registered: 11/15/99
Posts: 1816
Loc: Denver, CO
I spent a summer working at the Sylvan Lake Lodge, and never had a problem hooking up with people at the Sylvan Lake parking lot near the General Store. Shouldn't be hard to find people at Rushmore either.

The climber's campground used to be Breezy Point near Rushmore, but I hear its been turned into a day use picnic area - which is certainly a shame. There is a ridiculous amount of climbing near the Sylvan Lake campground.

If you want to climb around Boulder - check the partner finder on and also the climbingboulder-discuss mailing list - i've met several great partners through both of those. i will probably be in town the week after next, so i may be available to climb then as well if you are still around.

For Needles guidebooks, Touch the Sky is really the only option right now(though apparently Larry Schaeffer is working on a new one - and probably nobody knows the area better than him). You can get updates at Granite Sports(Sue is a good friend - say hi for me). Vern Phinney wrote an excellent guidebook to Rushmore, which has the best easy sport climbing in the world - be sure to check that place out.

The bouldering and hiking in the Needles is superb. Hike up Harney Peak from Elkhorn or Horsethief Lake. The bouldering at Photographer's Peak is full of classic moderates, and the Campground Boulder has great harder stuff. There is a sandstone area kind of like Horsetooth near Rapid City called the Rock Maze - check out or the routes database on for information as there is no guidebook. I love the place, though I'm biased since I put up a lot of the problems The Badlands just east of the hills are well worth going to for a day of hiking - really amazing place.

Have fun.
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