We left Chuck’s place, in Colorado Springs, last Friday. Our First stop……South Dakota! We checked in late our first night into the Horsethief Campground, a nice campground, but not too level of a sight Our first full day in South Dakota we spent exploring the areas and getting the lay of the land. We first stopped in at Custer State Park which has some beautiful rock towers and contains the Needles Highway. Along the drive we also came across a few of these……
Here are some more shots of driving through the park.
At one end of the Needles Highway is Sylvan Lake.
A great place to check out and you can climb there as well. We did some scouting and started to get a plan for the next few days, but I am getting ahead of myself! We left Sylvan Lake and drove down the road to see one of the biggest attractions in the area….Mt. Rushmore. We ended up seeing the presidents a few times, twice during the day…..and once at night trying to escape a hail storm….just an FYI for other campers out there, the Rushmore parking garage clearance is 7’10”…..luckily our groovy mobile comes in at 7’4”! Here are some pics of the sculptures.
The next few days we decided to get in some climbing in the Needles and near Mt. Rushmore. The rock is really different here, and you climb a lot on these little crystal features. The other thing you notice is the spacing on your protection…….it is very sporty here, so a sound lead head is a must! Here are some pics from our days climbing.
On Tuesday we decided to take a day off from climbing and tackled Harney Peak. At 7,200ft this is the tallest peak East of the Rockies and West of the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain. It’s about a 6 mile return and a very beautiful hike. Here are some pics from the hike.
To finish off the day we headed over to Crazy Horse Mountain. This was really interesting, since it is privately owned and publicly funded. One guy started sculpting the mountain in 1948, and after he passed away in 1982, his family has carried on the project. A lot of determination and they still have a ways to go!
Our Final morning in the Mt. Rushmore area we decided to tick off a few more of the classic climbs in the area. Cathy did awesome on the climbs and here are a couple of shots from her cleaning up the routes.
We then headed off to the Badlands National Park. We both agreed, that as we were driving through we felt like we weren’t in the USA, but more like back in Australia. The environment is very harsh and has a real rugged beauty to it. They say the soil in the Badlands is like no other soil on Earth. The whole area grew out of an ancient sea 65 million years ago and has formed into the now Pierre Shale rock formations which looks and feels like clay. Unclimbable! We drove the Badlands Loop Road and captured some of these pics.
We ended up free camping in the park at Sage Creek. This was our campsite….
This morning we made our way further West and have ended up in Spearfish, South Dakota, our last stop in the state. We got in a little climbing at Spearfish Canyon. The amount of potential climbing here is mind blowing!
We are off to Wyoming to meet friends tomorrow. Looking forward to catching up with everyone……life on the road is awesome!