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The Needles climbing guide book

A few years ago, I came back to the Black Hills from climbing in the desert to begin the guiding rock climbing season here. Instead of our usual good weather, it snowed. So, I spent the next few weeks in the office and wrote up this rock climbing guide book to the area in Custer State Park known as the Needles Climbing Area. The climbing areas covered in the book are: The Outlets, Middle Earth, Aquarium Rock, Photographers Peak, Needles Eye, The Ten Pins and of course the beautiful Cathedral Spires.

Map of the Outlets rock climbing area in the Needles of Custer State Park, SD.
Here is an example of the map of the Outlets Climbing area in the guide book for the Needles Climbing area in Custer State Park, SD.

The original Needles climbing guidebook called Touch the Sky by Paul Pianna went out of print in the mid 1980’s. There has been a few guidebooks printed since then, but there is still a need for a comprehensive guidebook for the Needles area. Many climbers have thought that they would write a guide book and have begun the project but buckled under the workload. The Needles is a complicated climbing area to capture in print, maps and photos. This guidebook is not comprehensive but will get you to many of the best routes in the area. Once you get the lay of the land you will be able to use something like Mountain Project to get yourself around. The Needles climbing area is complex and confusing though, so be prepared to be “lost” confused for awhile as you figure it out. I think the granite spires confuse everyones inner compass. So, along with your stocking cap (even in July), think about a device that will tell you which way north is.

Here is an example of the route descriptions for the Needles Climbing Area guidebook for climbing in Custer State Park, SD.

If you want a copy, drop me a call at 605-484-7585 or shoot me an email and we can figure how to get you a copy. They are $14 plus shipping. You can also purchase them at the South Dakota Outdoor Shop in Custer, SD. If you are in Hill City, SD you can buy the guidebooks and many others, at Granite Sports on Main Street, or Granite Sports Online.

As of right now, The Needles of Rushmore, the guide book that covers the Mount Rushmore Climbing area is also out of print.