Ascent of Black Elk Peak on 2019-09-27

Climber: Badri Radhakrishnan

Date:Friday, September 27, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Black Elk Peak
    Location:USA-South Dakota
    Elevation:7231 ft / 2204 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is South Dakota.

FACTS: I flew into Bismarck, ND. I then proceeded on a 909-mile road trip through the badlands to bag the highpoints in ND and SD. Here is SD, highpoint number 27/51 for me and ranked 15/51.


I parked at the Sylvan Lake Trailhead. I was the only soul there. It happened to be the day they were doing a buffalo roundup, so they were no parking fees for the day. My plan was to take trail #9 up and trail #4 back down. Just as I reached the top of the fire tower, it started to rain. So, I decided to take trail #9 back down. It rained on me the entire way back down. But, after a successful summit, those things don’t matter.

The hike is stunning and beautiful. The trail is straightforward and well marked. I was the only person going up and was alone at the top. Coming back down, I did see several groups. It took me two hours up and 80 minutes back down. .


Kol: This place is in downtown Rapid City. This is Rapid City’s version of a pretentious “small plates, tapas” kind of place. I had a bourbon cocktail which was incredibly well made, even using bordeaux cherries. The service was warm and friendly and truly welcoming. The food was good but the portion sizes are ridiculously small. I just can not see how this type of restaurant can survive in Rapid City. I truly hope this place finds a niche and makes it.

Black Hills Bagels: After my climb to Black Elk Peak, I stopped in here. I unhesitatingly recommend this place. The service, the people, the food, and the atmosphere all excellent.


The Black Hills area is truly wonderful to behold. In addition to Black Elk Peak, Crazy Horse sculpture is nearby to the west, and Mount Rushmore is nearby to the east. Just like ND, be prepared for roads that are straight N/S or E/W for miles on end.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:8723 ft / 2658 m
    Total Elevation Loss:8776 ft / 2674 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Raining, Cool, Windy, Overcast
cloudy with light rain
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:8723 ft / 2658 m
    Route:Trail 9
    Start Trailhead:Sylvan Lake TH  -1492 ft / -454 m
    Time:0 Days 2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:8776 ft / 2674 m
    Route:Trail 9
    End Trailhead:Sylvan Lake TH  -1545 ft / -470 m
    Time:0 Days 1 Hours 20 Minutes

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