Ascent of Black Elk Peak on 2012-07-10

Climber: Andrew DeFeo

Others in Party:Brian Arditi
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Black Elk Peak
    Location:USA-South Dakota
    Elevation:7231 ft / 2204 m

Ascent Trip Report

We decided to leave a little late in the day to avoid the heat and catch the sunset on the summit. Brian was very very patient with me as I packed and unpacked a repacked all my gear so that I wouldn't forget anything. We were expecting the worst when it came to the heat so we brought almost 10 liters of water. I was carrying 6 liters of water...I like to stay hydrated. It ended up being a cool 75 for most of the trip, so the heat was obviously not a problem and the water mostly made it back to the car.
I also brought a ton of other crap I didn't need, but it was good training for the longer trips that I was planning.

Nevertheless, we set out at around 5:00pm and we made it to the summit just before sundown at around 8:15pm. It was a spectacular site. They actually built a castle-like observation deck on the summit. The last leg of the trail is actually a steel staircase which brings you to the very top.

Once we were finished taking pictures and congratulating ourselves, we started the trek back down. We left around 9:00pm. Thank god for gravity because we practically flew down that mountain. It's a lot easier hauling my fat @ss down a mountain than it is getting it up one. We covered about 3.5 miles in a little under 2 hours. That may sound slow but you have to factor in 30 pounds of unnecessary gear that we were carrying and the occasional frightened pause and scream break because it is pitch black out and we thought we saw the reflections of eyes in the distance.

We each took turns going on Mountain Lion duty. Mountain Lion duty consists of randomly screaming "Hey now" or "Woah bear" every couple of seconds so that you don't take any lions by surprise...they apparently don't like that. The Bad lands national park is notorious for mountain lions so we read up on them before the hike. We both agreed that if one of us gets eaten, the other will hunt down the lion and extract appropriate revenge by killing him, his family, his friends, other lions that owe him money, etc, etc, etc (Sort of like Kaiser Soze, but with mountain lions instead of Hungarians).
Summary Total Data
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles

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