Ascent of Black Elk Peak on 2016-10-14
|Others in Party:||Karen Musser|
|Date:||Friday, October 14, 2016|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
|Peak:||Black Elk Peak|
| Location:||USA-South Dakota|
| Elevation:||7231 ft / 2204 m|
Ascent Trip ReportAgain, we saw a lot of wildlife today. Bison, turkey, deer, and several mountain goats. Very rewarding. We parked at the second Sylvan Lake TH where you can grab either USFS Trail #9 or #4. We took Trail #9 up the state HP. The various signs report the hike as 3 miles; 3.5 miles, and one said 4 mile to the top. Based on my pedometer and time on the trail I would think it was over 3.5 but less than 4. I used 3.9 miles. The mountain pine beetle has destroyed much of the ponderosa pines but they state park did a nice job at the beginning of the hike of maintaining the trees and hauling out the dead lumber. The price to get in was stiff. $20 for a car with 2 passengers and there is a mandatory wilderness registry once you hit the Black Elk Wilderness Boundary.
Still the highly eroded granite pinnacles along the hike make this an interesting hike and we saw the white fur of mountain goats on the way up. The CCC outdid themselves with this very interesting structure at the top. It has many rooms, a basement, a tower, steel bridge, and a cistern/dam at the summit.
I would enjoyed my 38th state HP more if it were not for the winds. I explored and scrambled much of the top pass the dam but sustained winds of 35 mph and gusts of 45 to 50 were beating me up and at some point enough was enough. I picked up another 150 feet of add gain scrambling around the backside chutes for fun before climbing back up to the tower where Karen was huddled in the basement to keep warm eating her celebratory Charleston Chew Bar.
On the way down, we finally saw people. On the way up it was all us! But groves of people that left later in the morning started up so we slid down Trail #3 and then over to #4 to see I could go play on Little Devil Tower. The summit of that sweet little add on was well worth the extra trip.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||1656 ft / 503 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||1121 ft / 340 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||7.5 mi / 12.1 km|
| Grade/Class:||1 with 3 opportuniti|
| Quality:||8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble|
| Gear Used:||Ski Poles|
| Weather:||Cool, Very Windy, Clear|
40F to 65F Windy gust to 50
| Gain on way in:||1256 ft / 382 m|
| Gain Breakdown:||Net: 1086 ft / 332 m; Extra: 170 ft / 51m|
| Loss on way in:||170 ft / 51 m|
| Distance:||3.9 mi / 6.3 km|
| Route:||USFS Trail #9|
| Start Trailhead:||Sylvan Lake 6145 ft / 1872 m|
| Loss on way out:||951 ft / 289 m|
| Loss Breakdown:||Net: 551 ft / 168 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m|
| Gain on way out:||400 ft / 121 m|
| Distance:||3.6 mi / 5.8 km|
| Route:||USFS Trail # 3 to #4|
| End Trailhead:||Junction with Little Devil TH and Trail #4 6680 ft / 2036 m|
|Ascent Part of Trip: SD HP harney|
Complete Trip Sequence:
Total Trip Gain: 2171 ft / 662 m Total Trip Loss: 2171 ft / 662 m
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