Our Guides

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Chris Spellmeyer

Chris Spellmeyer | Senior Guide

Originally from Minnesota, Chris is Sylvan Rocks’ senior guide (despite the fact he seems to look younger and younger every year). 2021 will be Chris’ 21st season of guiding here in the Black Hills. His patience and enthusiasm for teaching new climbers is unmatched. Although he does not climb it as much as he used to, we are sure Chris has climbed the Durrance Route on Devils Tower more than any other Sylvan Rocks guide past, present or future.

In the winter you will find Chris managing the ski patrol team at Terry Peak. Off the rock, you might find Chris working on his hand-eye coordination with some late night gaming sessions, and in the summer he could be chasing little white balls around a golf course or wetting a fishing line at one of the local lakes.


AMGA Tenured Rock Instructor
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor
Emergency Medical Technician

5 stars

We booked a 6 hour lesson with Brandon and Chris in early September, 2020. We are a family of 5 with kids age 11, 9 and 6. This was our first outdoor rock climbing experience and it was amazing! We thought we would be getting to scale some large boulders outside. In the end, three of us climbed to the top of Rhinoceros Rock, a mountain in Custer State Park that is 130 feet high! Brandon and Chris were great guides and teachers. They worked extremely well with the kids, including helping my 6 year old not be afraid of heights and feel safe. They were very thorough, safe and fun. I highly recommend using Sylvan Rocks Climbing School if you are anywhere close to the area. It was the highlight of our trip to the Black Hills.


5 stars

Brandon was amazing, very conscious of everyone's safety, and great working with our group of 3 ages 8-67! A memorable day and so glad we did the 6 hour day in Custer State Park! The highlight of our trip and highly recommend!!


5 stars

My boyfriend and I booked a 6 hour session with Shankar, and had a fantastic time! We both have indoor climbing experience, him some outdoor climbing experience, and we were afraid that we wouldn't find climbs that were "just right" for us. Shankar did an excellent job picking climbs for us, he made it fun, and we felt super safe the entire time. I highly recommend booking with him at Sylvan Rocks!


American Mountain Guides Association

The Highest Standards

Accredited by the American Mountain Guides Association

As the only AMGA Accredited Guide Service in the area, we are committed to a high standard of climbing professionalism. The AMGA is an internationally recognized association offering courses, exams and certifications designed to certify guides and instructors as well as accredit businesses.

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Our Friends

  • South Dakota Outdoor Shop
  • Black Hills Basecamp
  • Custer Chamber of Commerce
  • Granite Sports
  • Black Hills Climbers Coalition

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