Sunday, September 13, 2009


Old Baldy (5,605 feet) shares its name with at least one other mountain in the Black Hills. This Old Badly is the prominent outcropping of granite behind Mount Rushmore. Its summit offers spectacular views of the back of Mount Rushmore, as well as the Central Hills/Harney Peak area.

To get to Old Baldy, park at the Wrinkled trail head and proceed towards Wrinkled Rock (due East). Once you are among the spires, descend on one of the unmarked trails that wind North-East into the valley below. They all funnel into an older trail, which winds East into the Mount Rushmore National Memorial forest. A North-South trail forms a T near the entry sign; make a right (South) and follow it as it curves to an eastern course. Another trail leads North once you have meandered past the base of Old Baldy. Make a left onto this trail - it will lead you up the mountain, eventually curving up to approach from the northern side to the base of the granite slope leading to the top. Head up the granite slope (South), where several wide ledges provide good places to catch your breath. Getting to the summit requires either climbing up the granite knobs directly, or wedging your way up a thin fissure in the granite itself. Either way takes you straight up to the top of a wide granite sill. Reaching the summit from there requires more of both, as you will have to traverse a narrow gap and then haul yourself up the rock using natural hand & footholds. A smooth, gently rounded knob at the top provides excellent views. A register box is tucked in a fold in the granite. The views are well worth the exertion, but be prepared for plenty of rock climbing! (YDS Class 3)

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