Thursday, September 10, 2009


Thrall provides an easily accessible, quick, but vigorous and challenging hike close to Rapid City. Thrall Mountain is located between Big Bend and Johnson Siding (Highway 44). Not an especially high mountain (5,091 feet), nor a long hike to the summit, Thrall nonetheless requires plenty of energy due to its steep sides. If you choose to traverse its sizable talus fields, it also requires good balance and some basic rock-traversing skills. Thrall can be approached from a number of directions, and there are residential roads on both sides that provide access. A path runs along its North face, a few hundred yards up its side from the base. Once on this trail, another, smaller trail can be found (N-NE face) leading up to the large talus field that dominates this hill. An arrow made of loose stones points the way to the top. If you choose to traverse the talus field, you can zig-zag straight to the summit, but the boulders are loose and rest at the angle-of-repose, so rock slides are a serious hazard. A safer (but equally steep) route can be found by hugging the base of the talus field and working your way to the West. The treeline can be followed up to the summit, where a small cairn, a registry canister, and a decent view of the surrounding Black Hills await. (YDS Class 2, Talus Field YDS Class 3)

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