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Second Annual

Winter Backpack to Harney Peak

Black Hills

January 15 - 17, 1999

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On Jan 15, six of us motored to Chadron, Nebraska, where we stay the night with Scott A, in his apartment.  His roommate Peter and he were very gracious, and their hospitality is greatly appreciated.

The following am, we left Chadron about 7am and motored up to Sylvan Lake, in Custer State Park, on the west side of the Needles.   There we changed from car clothes in warm hiking clothes and headed into the Needles.

In winter, it is easier to have a ground cloth for staging gear.


Chuck W and Matt K in the process of getting ready.

    Charlie, W.  Matt K,  Don M,  Todd J,  Gene E.  Doc

We went from Sylvan Lake on the west south and west through the Needles, by Cathedral Spires, to Harney Peak.
We camped just north of Custer State Park (the big square on the left).  Harney Peak is the name must above the east end of big square.
total distance estimated at 7 miles.

The trial is easy to follow, in spite of the fact that Chuck and Matt had to break the snow from Cathedral Spires to the intersection with the trail directly from Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak, about 2 miles.   The wide area between the trees without underbrush is easy to spot.

The Valley Lookout 1/2 mile west of Cathredral Spires.

Lunch at Cathredral Spires.
Gene, Matt, Chuck, Don, Todd
(doc behind camera)

Even a big horned sheep watched us eat lunch.

Map Reading takes two.
Gene and Don

Matt and Chuck
At Lookout atop Harney Peak

The View from atop the Lookout atop Harney Peak

After climbing up to the Lookout Tower, we hiked about 1.5 miles to the south and west to camp near a very small stream about 2 miles from Sylvan Lake.  We found an excellent cooking site between two Needles, and pitched our tents in a pair of small clearings.  The following are scenes from the kitchen and the tentage areas.

Todd in his bivy sack

Gene lighting the stove, and warming his hands.  Dual purposes for many things.

Don and Todd in the kitchen

Matt fred the tortillas in butter.


Working hard at supper

Black Beans in Salsa on Fried Tortilla.

Don contemplating.







Matt and Chuck folding the tent in the am.


Chuck ready to load his pack for the hike out.

Staging the gear for the ride home


It was brisk changing into car clothes.



Getting into something other than boots is a wonderful feeling at the end of a hike.

The mandatory tourist picture of the Black Hills.
Don taking his picture, in front doc.

We had the traditional Jalepeno Pizza in Valentine.
Pizza Huts are getting much better at making Jalepeno Pizzas.  This one was really good.

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