Black Elk Peak / Harney Peak Climber's Log

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xDoogiex - Aug 11, 2010 2:02 am Date Climbed: Aug 4, 2010

HP #12  Sucess!

We took the mini alpine route with Knoback. awesome times. class 4-5.5. way more fun then the crowded trail.


maddie77777 - Aug 8, 2010 6:48 pm Date Climbed: Aug 6, 2010

Great hike  Sucess!

We had a nice hike on a gorgeous day. It was pretty crowded up at the top, but Sturgis was about to start, so I'm sure this wasn't a normal weekend. Awesome area of the country, though.


mlandau3 - Jul 31, 2010 5:05 pm Date Climbed: Jul 21, 2010

Seventh Of Eleven This Trip  Sucess!

Trail now leads from the Cathedral Spires parking to Harney. i've hiked harney several times - it's a fine high point


Eleutheros - Jul 25, 2010 8:43 pm Date Climbed: Jul 24, 2010

Desolate Wasteland  Sucess!

A crowded climb amidst thousands of dead pines, spray-painted trees and slashed woodland... sad to see the once beautiful area decimated... as expected, the views from the top were memorable. Cathedral Spires, Little Devils Tower and other rocks hold their grandeur amidst the dying forest.

...on a positive note, no flies or mosquitoes.


DougBenton - Jul 9, 2010 5:20 pm Date Climbed: Jul 12, 2001

First State highpoint!!  Sucess!

A couple of ascents of this peak in 2001, one really hot day in July with a good friend of mine and former bandmate of the long defunct PTD. What a nice hike with spectacular views!


Chinigo - Jul 8, 2010 1:28 am Date Climbed: Jul 7, 2010

Excellent day; and HP #25  Sucess!

From Sylvan Lake, hiked up via trails 4, 3, and 9 - and returned by 9. The weather was slightly cool and overcast. Also, there were no biting flies or mosquitos (unlike Katahdin in late June)!

Jeremy Hakes

Jeremy Hakes - Jun 3, 2010 10:43 am Date Climbed: May 28, 2010

Great HP

A fantastic peak, and a state HP as a bonus!


kteichert - May 29, 2010 1:12 am Date Climbed: May 27, 2010

HP #8  Sucess!

Eric Willhite you have got to be kidding me. Is there any peak I can climb without you first being there? ha ha Took a girl along with me, whose previously long hike was 4.5 miles, also done with me. Felt she was prepared enough. Knocked Harney out!! Great hike with fantastic views! Loved to get to know an area of the country I had no interest in visiting.

bukhtan - Apr 2, 2010 2:39 pm Date Climbed: Aug 1, 2005

Courteous Crowds  Sucess!

We walked up from Sylan Lake on August 1st, 2005. We ascended by Trail #9 and descended by #4.
I had heard that this is an extremely popular hike, and experience bore this out. We started before 8:00 AM, but nonetheless wound up sharing the peak with a considerable crowd, greatly augmented by a school group. Though some of the kids were far more interested in their cell phones than in their surroundings, they really didn't bother us too much. Among the unschooled were some highpointers on their way to White Butte in North Dakota, not long before having visited Mt. Rogers in Virginia, which they highly praised. (There were some murmerings about other parts of the Southeast, but, since I'm from Alabama and am already painfully aware of what that State has done to Mt. Cheaha, we left the Heart of Dixie alone.)
Trail #9 offers a very gradual ascent through ponderosa pine forests, latterly much damaged by beetles, with patches of aspen here and there. The famous multilith'ed shouldering of Harney's Peak was not much in evidence till we were right on the summit, though there were occasionally good views of the top and its attendant heights, from various openings in the forest. Total elevation change over the approximately 3 mile trip was about one thousand feet.
Most striking, once eastern exposure is gained, are the views of the blessedly un-vandalized BACK of Mount Rushmore. What a beautiful rock! We used to get in real trouble for carving on desks - what in the world induced the State of South Dakota and Uncle Sam to let that rogue Buglum dynamite a live mountain? (And now some other vandal is tearing up another mountain (fortunately not visible from Harney's Peak), ostensibly to honor the stalwart patriot Crazy Horse, who wisely refused to allow himself to be photographed!)
An unwonted humidity had arrived by the time we descended the #4 trail, which skirts the great Cathedral Spires before dropping somewhat steeply to a series of meadows below the "Little Devil's Tower", which really does resemble its namesake in Wyoming, at least from Harney's Peak.
All in all, a pleasant walk, in spite of the crowds. But the ascent up that northern lead sure did look interesting, from Hill City. And NOBODY seemed to be coming or going that way. I thing we'll take that route next time.
I DID take the loop route up Harney Peak the following September, on a hot day in the Badlands. Met no one on the west part of the loop going up, and a few people on the east side coming down, and had a very pleasant conversation with a local gentleman about a number of things, among them the virtues of various forms of water provision while day hiking (we were both opposed to tube-and-bladder assemblies, among other points). I'd recommend the north route - a little bit more of a work-out, much more forested (fewer vistas of course), and there are just too many people on the south route, though, as I said, most are fairly well-behaved.


mtncorg - Jan 14, 2010 11:33 pm

Up from Sylvan Lake  Sucess!

Great place to be early in the morning watching the sun rising over the Badlands.


NDhiker - Dec 12, 2009 10:09 am Date Climbed: Jun 11, 2007

South Dakota Highpoint  Sucess!

This was my 2nd state highpoint. We took the Harney Peak #9 Trail from Sylvan Lake to the top. Very good hike.


dakotaconcrete - Nov 24, 2009 9:42 pm Date Climbed: Jul 18, 1992

The advent  Sucess!

Great place, responsible for my desire to climb.


climber555 - Oct 24, 2009 11:50 pm Date Climbed: Aug 12, 2009

Where it all started  Sucess!

First climbed Harney when I was 7 years old. Usually climb Harney about once a month or so. Have summited from Willow Creek, Sylvan Lake, Little Devils Tower, up the east from Iron Mountain Road and straight up the west side, off the trail. Favorite time to climb is in Feburary. All three main trailheads closed for 2009-2010 winter due to pine beetles.


Epica - Sep 21, 2009 11:13 pm Date Climbed: Jun 15, 1992

Nice memories  Sucess!

I was working for the Forest Service in Sundance WY and thought it would be fun to hike to the top of SD..... I don't remember much, but I think I have pictures somewhere. Maybe I'll scan and post one day!


Stansbury - Sep 15, 2009 5:34 pm Date Climbed: Sep 15, 2009

A great state high point  Sucess!

This is really a great hike for a wide range of abilities. Views are beautiful and I recommend it.


BadgerSummitSeeker - Aug 27, 2009 6:40 pm Date Climbed: Jul 3, 2005

HP # 7  Sucess!

Took the trail up from Sylvan Lake and topped out without too much trouble. I had broken my leg 3 months earlier so I wasn't sure how I would do going up but was far enough into recovery that I made it without too much difficulty. Awesome views!

Up2zmtns - Aug 23, 2009 11:27 pm Date Climbed: Jul 23, 2009

SD Highpoint  Sucess!

Looped from Little Devils Tower Day use area back to Sylvan lake. Great hike, great weather. HP#2

Norseman197 - Aug 13, 2009 12:12 pm

Never gets old...  Sucess!

I've probably climbed this 3-4 times since I was young and it never gets boring. I'm most familiar with the Sylvan Lake trail, but I'm planning on doing the Willow Creek horse Camp trail this fall and also a early morning hike to catch the sunrise on the summit. Just a few items on my South Dakota To-do-list!


grabbs146 - Aug 12, 2009 6:24 pm Date Climbed: Jul 31, 2009

sylvan lake   Sucess!

great hike!! Even with the crowds and the bikers still very enjoyable


Alpinist - Aug 8, 2009 4:34 pm Date Climbed: Jul 31, 2009

Sylvan Lake Trail  Sucess!

I hiked up the Sylvan Lake Trail with fellow CMCers Karen, Jason and Al. Harney Peak is a very scenic and enjoyable hike. This is my 29th state HP and the first of three during this trip. We clmbed Granite Peak next and then White Butte.

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