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Black Hills Prime, Unique Location for Rock Climbing

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BLACK HILLS, S.D. (6/18/09) -Whether a first-timer or a seasoned climber, the Black Hills are a superb destination for anyone looking to rock climb in an area of unique scenic beauty filled with mountains, lakes and pines.

The distinctive landscape and variety of rock, including granite and limestone, make the Black Hills an ideal destination for rock climbing. Spearfish Canyon, the Needles and the Cathedral Spires of Custer State park, Devils Tower in Wyoming and the area around Mount Rushmore are a few of the popular climbing sites in the area.

“There’s just so much variety within a couple hours drive,” explains Daryl Stisser, owner of the Sylvan Rocks Climbing School and Guide Service. 

Stisser started climbing in 1990 while attending college in southern Illinois. Soon after, he guided a group on a climbing expedition to the Black Hills. He enjoyed the area so much he continued to return until eventually moving to Hill City and buying Sylvan Rocks.

Not only do the Black Hills offer an array of beautiful scenic locations for climbing, but the region also has something for every level of ability, whether an expert or trying the sport for the first time.

“The bulk of our guests have never climbed before,” states Stisser. “You can push it to whatever difficulty level you’d like to see.”

Beginners usually fare best at spots like Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. Recommended sites for more skilled climbers depend on the type of climbing they want to try, whether face climbing, crack climbing, traditional climbing or mixed climbing. However, no locations are restricted by ability.

“There’s something at each area for all levels of climbers,” Stisser comments.

With all the climbing in the area, first-time climbers in the Black Hills, novice or expert, are recommended to use a guide service. Use vacation time seeing the world from the summit, not hiking around looking for the climbing routes. Sylvan Rocks Climbing School provides outings and trainings for individuals, families and groups of all ability levels. To watch a short video on rock climbing in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Association website at