Ascent of Black Elk Peak on 2005-07-03

Climber: Jamie Bakken

Others in Party:Solo
Date:Sunday, July 3, 2005
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Black Elk Peak
    Location:USA-South Dakota
    Elevation:7231 ft / 2204 m

Ascent Trip Report

I made the drive out to the Mt. Rushmore area from Hulett, WY where we were visiting my wifes grandma over the 4th of July holiday. I took a day off to see some waterfalls and climb the SD high point. I arrived sometime just before noon and began the slow ascent up Harney Peak, the highest point between the Rockies and the Pyrenees in Europe. I had just broken my leg in April and was off crutches in June so the leg was still a bit tender and getting back into shape. With the leg I kind of took my time on the way up but still made decent time. After heading through the pretty Black Elk Wilderness the elevation steepens. Near the highpoint you begin to ascend a long set of stairways before the summit stone building comes into view. This is a very popular hike up from Sylvan Lake so in the high season expect to share this spectacular view with many others. The best time to summit is most likely in the early morning if you want more solitude. It really was a breathtaking view and well worth the effort to get to. After descending I headed back north to seek out Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Falls (my favorite), Bridal Veil Falls and Thunderhead Falls (underground) before heading back up to the ranch. Highly successful day and still my highest high point to date (since I had a failed attempt at Wheeler Peak due to snow and ice storm in May 2009)
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1086 ft / 332 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Trailhead:6145 ft / 1872 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:2 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 45 Minutes

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