Ascent of Black Elk Peak on 2009-07-20

Climber: Melanie Deare

Date:Monday, July 20, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Black Elk Peak
    Location:USA-South Dakota
    Elevation:7231 ft / 2204 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is a beautiful hike, and easy enough if you're in reasonably good shape. I took Trail 9, starting at Sylvan Lake about 8:30 in the morning. One of the first things you notice about this trail is that it appears to be sprinkled with "diamond dust" that sparkles in the sunlight. It's actually bits of mica schist but really unusual and pretty.
Almost as soon as I got on the trail, a deer sauntered across my path and stopped not far away. Pretty neat. There weren't many other hikers out that early, but I did meet a couple from Golden, Colorado, and we fell in together and had a nice chat while we made it to the top and back down.
The trail was not all that steep until the last 200 feet or so, but I noticed that the registration box was about at the half-way point, ($100 fine for NOT registering), so I'm thinking that most people don't make it quite that far.
Made it to the summit in an hour and forty-five minutes. Beautiful views at the top. Sunny day without much wind and only scattered clouds. The temp was warm, but not hot at all.
Met lots of other hikers on the way down, and a mouse ran across the trail, inches from my feet. Neat!
Be sure to wear good shoes and take water with you. Nice to have a snack to eat at the top too.
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