View from the top of Gnomon
You can see the tip of Gnomon from the West side Needles parking area if you walk a bit West. You'll say to your partner "That can't be it. It's skinny and overhanging." From the East side parking area which is a few hundred yards east of the tunnel, it's very obvious and not so scary looking. From the East viewpoint, the belay chains can be seen glinting in the sun. (You'd think the person installing them would have painted them. Ugly, Ugly!)
The rock is decent quality but crumbly through a few sections. The descent is via a one rope bolted rappel down the NW side. There's a nice little ledge next to the rap anchors. Save some friends (approx #1 to #3) for this ledge since belaying at the rap anchors means hanging. For what it's worth, there is a rusty pin at the ledge also.
The classic must-do route is Doody Direct (5.8).
From the West side Needles Eye parking area, continue East through the tunnel. Park immediately after the tunnel on your left at a small pullout next to a rock. Follow an eroded trail uphill. You'll see the spire straight ahead (about 150 ft. from the road) although it's hard to make it out due to the trees. John Page's green book "Recommended Climbs ..." gives a good description of approach also.
3 Total Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Gnomon:
Featured Route For Gnomon
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a SD
: Custer State Park
: ... : Gnomon
Get there: From Sylvan, got through the tunnel and park immediately on the left. Walk uphill (on the path) for maybe 200 feet until you come to a large right-facing dihedral with 2 huge ferny cracks in the inside corner (one on each side of the dihedral). Horseshoes and Hand Grenades is the finger crack 5 feet to the left of the corner.Climb it: Rack up some small cams and nuts and climb to the bolted anchors & chains which you'll find on the ledge above the crack. This climb is consistent ...[more] Browse More Classics in SD
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BETA PHOTO: Gnomon as seen from near the Needles Eye