As I sit here eating leftover pizza from Bitter Ester’s Brewhouse in Custer, SD, waiting for Anh to assemble some kind of “fancy” Ramen noodle dish (with fresh tomato and canned sardines — o_O ), I have a chance to write down some highlights of our climbing trip to The Needles in the Black Hills of SD. (Really, it’s for me so I remember what to write about later.)


In no particular order:

We got to eat dinner with climbing legend Jan Conn, first woman to climb Devils Tower, make over 200 first ascents in The Needles, and expand Jewel Cave from a 1/4 mile loop to 65 miles with multiple levels. She did this with her late husband Herb, only wearing regular tennis shoes, and using 120′ ropes.

Leading my first trad route, which happened to be my first multi-pitch lead route as well.

(View from the top of Retable)


Sport leading my first 5.10d (in the guidebooks) or maybe it’s only a 5.9+ (Mountain Project).

Being terrified to lead a sport 5.7 on the first day and running out over 50′ trad on the 2nd and 3rd pitch by the last day.

Unbashful burros, brave mountain goats, and huge bison.

Not wanting to leave.

“Needles Climbing technique” is not like any other climbing I’ve experienced.

First Ascent potential is limitless.

Climbing is really only as good as the company you keep, not the grades you climb.

I think I want a Subaru. I’m not actually going to write about that. It’s just a reminder to look on Craigslist when I get home.

And that’s about all I have time for now. Hope you kids didn’t miss me too much!


Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.