The 35 Best Climbing Spots in America

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The Midwest: Mount Rushmore National Memorial
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Kennan Harvey / Aurora / Getty Images2/35

The Midwest: Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Breezy Point, Chopping Block, South Seas, Mount Baldy… Rushmore is full of diverse, large-grained granite crags and boulder fields, making it the best climbing area in the Black Hills National Forest. Unlike California’s Needles and Yosemite, the spires and domes in Rushmore are bolted for sport climbing — if you want a similar multi-pitch adventure without the stress of placing gear, this is your spot. “Rushmore is known for its adventure climbing,” Potter says. “You should visit if you love domes and spires, but the routes are intense. It’s not for beginners. There are some serious runouts and big, slippery crystals in the rock. Climbing at Rushmore is more civilized than in the old days, but still one of the most unique climbing areas in the country.”

Closest Town: Keystone, South Dakota
Grade Range: 5.6 – 5.14 , V0 – V11
Notable Routes: 653
Classics: Waves (5.8), Smear Campaign (5.10+), Mr. Critical (5.11), The Hurt Locker (V3), Orange Roughy (V6), Beetle Juice (5.12b)
When to Visit: May-October

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