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Rock Climbing from Mild to Wild!!

Rock climbing in the Black Hills of South Dakota is the best vacation adventure.  We supply all the climbing gear needed.   Our staff is ready to guide beginners who have never been on the rocks before as well as skilled climbers looking to get the most climbing on the best routes during their visit to the Needles of Custer State Park or Mount Rushmore climbing area.

We also guide at Devils Tower National Monument and Palisades State Park. 

Testimonials: 

  • Everyones favorite part of our vacation!  Ywd18 TripAdvisor
  • Let me say this, it was absolutely the best part of our trip!  wheelj06 TripAdvisor
  • Family of 7 (including teens and tweens) climbed and had a Blast! Nemorden TripAdvisor
  • I had the best experience climbing with Sylvan Rocks Climbing school.  ShuangZ Yelp

You May Be Wondering...

Yes.  The 6 and 8 Hour Guide Days are just you and your guide out rock climbing and learning at your ability level.  We can start with the basics and “CRANK UP THE VOLUME” as far as you want.  

Our Discover Climbing Adventure is our group course that is popular with people who want to “test the waters” of climbing or want to experience outdoor climbing for the first time on the amazing Black Hills granite!

We work with kids ages 5 and up as long as they have an adult in their group who is participating in the climbing with us.  Rock climbing is an awesome way to enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family and probably not as physically challenging as you might imagine…unless you want us to make it harder.  We have awesome summits and exciting routes of all difficulty levels.

When you make your reservation you will get instructions on how things work, but most of our rock climbing adventures begin at Sylvan Lake in front of the General Store at 8am.

Difficult question to answer.  Those who have made it to the top are in a bit of an exclusive club.  Getting to the summit of Devils Tower is described by most as “quite challenging”.  It is a marathon.  You have to be mentally prepared to want to do it.  As you stand on top, you will know you worked for it.  Many would say that its 150% worth it and perhaps the best thing they ever accomplished, but sometimes on the way up, you might not call it fun.   The guides refer to it as “Type 2 Fun”…Fun that is  not thought of as fun ’till its over.  At that point, it is thought of as awesome!  We have guided many people with little or no climbing experience to the top of Devils Tower after a day or 2 of climbing with us (usually in Custer State Park).  Check out our 2 or 3 day Summit Blitz options.

We cannot guarantee you will summit, but we will do our best to set you up for success, and the rest is up to you.

If you want to climb the Tower without a guide, make sure you have a good understanding of placing nuts and cams and multi pitch climbing systems.  For the Durrance route, I carry up to a number 5 BD cam and I’m happy to place it in the crux.  There are lots of other routes up Devils Tower at many different grades but none of them would be described as easy.  The Durrance is certainly achievable and is our go to for summit trips with guest unless they have demonstrated an ability to succeed on harder routes during the first day we climb with them.

Always impossible for us to guess what our guest can and cannot do.  We believe in empowering you to do what you want.  So if you WANT to rock climb we will give you the tools and work at a pace you are comfortable with to build your skills.

Fear of heights is a common and very real situation that we work with all the time. Learning how the systems work on easy terrain is the best way we have found to work with people and help them push themselves towards their goal.

Once people take the plunge and act outside of their comfort zone it can be extremely powerful and sometimes life changing for them.

Yes, just like driving a car at 60 miles per hour down a highway, rock climbing can be dangerous and you can get injured.  Similar to using the “rules of the road” to mitigate risk on the highways we have techniques, gear and procedures to mitigate our risk on the rocks.  We have been sharing our love of rock climbing since 1989 and realize accidents can happen at any time, but we train in order to limit exposure to the risk.

“We need adventure. It’s in our blood. It will not go away. The mountains will continue to call because they uniquely fulfill our need for communion with nature, as well as our hunger for adventure.”
—Royal Robbins

No.  We supply all the needed rock climbing specific gear for the courses we offer.  We ask that you arrive with closed-toed shoes (no sandals) and socks for the hike to the rocks and plenty of water and snacks.  Long pants are also recommended.