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The Dells
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Jun 5, 2013, 1:40 PM
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Registered: Jun 5, 2013
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The Dells  (North_America: United_States: South_Dakota)
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I live in Brookings, SD and always thought that the closest outdoor place to climb was Palisades State Park, which is about 1 hr and 10 min away near Garretson, SD. I recently explored The Dells, near Dell Rapids, to see if it would be a good climbing spot, as it is only about 40 minutes from Brookings. I went there recently to scope it out and found that there is a gorge of Sioux Quartzite at least 1/4 mile long with vertical cliffs that measure approximately 30-40 in height. Surely someone has climbed this area before, but I haven't found any documentation on the web and none of my (young) climbing friends in the area have heard of The Dells or that it was climb-able.

Thus far, I have only done one climb there located directly below the overlook deck. The climb had some ledge features, a little overhang near the top, and a small smooth wall in the middle (about 6 feet in height) that had few holds. We scrambled down to a ledge near the base of the climb and belayed from there.
The gorge does present some difficultly for set up, as the bottom of the gorge is a river. Belaying has to be done from up top or on lower ledges when available (Anchoring highly recommended).

I think the gorge offers many exciting climbing opportunities. Since it hasn't seem a lot (or perhaps any) climbing traffic, many of the holds are dirty, there are no bolts, and some rocks may be loose (so wear a helmet!).

The east side of the gorge is easily accessible from highway 115 with Dells Drive running along the entire eastern side of the gorge. I don't know how accessible the western side of the gorge is and it seems to be private property.

Has anyone heard of climbing there before?

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