Our Guides

  • AMGA Certified Guides
  • All Gear Included
  • Adventure of a Lifetime

Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson

Jeff is the voice and face of the East River Branch of Sylvan Rocks. During the school year he molds the minds of Sioux Falls’ high school students, and in the summer he takes his skills outdoors teaching climbing to our guests at Palisades State Park.

In 2014, Jeff and Sam Smolnisky published Palisades State Park – A Climber’s Guide. That project gave Jeff a good excuse to do a lot of climbing and learn his way around some of the less popular Palisades crags.

During the off-season you will also find Jeff on the slopes as an active ski patroller at Great Bear Ski Valley in Sioux Falls.


AMGA Single Pitch Instructor
Outdoor Emergency Care
CPR / First Aid

5 stars

We were a group of 8 with varying skill levels and our guides were amazing. They worked together to ensure that we all felt comfortable on the wall, set up multiple routes, instructed those that needed it and trusted those that didn't. We all had a great time and learned a lot! I would say this is a must do activity if you are spending any time in Custer State Park.


5 stars

Our guides Jeff (owner) and Ross were excellent. Taught us the basics of the gear, eqpt, tying the rope figure 8, and making sure we were secure and safe. Shared climbing tips and tricks. It was our family's first time and it was such a positive experience for the kids that they loved and enjoyed it inspite of cooler temp and the wind blowing keeping us cooler than what we wanted (floridians). They were great with the kids and were able to keep them interested, motivated and encouraged to keep going for the top or take a break and go for it again :) They made it fun!!! Now they want to climb wherever they can in florida ;) Thank you for taking such great care of our family and making it a memorable and enjoyable experience for all!


5 stars

Our guide Brandon was incredible and was so fun to share stories with! Getting to climb and rappel at Sylvan Lake was one of the most incredible and beautiful experiences I’ve ever had, there’s nothing else like it.If I ever decide to go rock climbing again, I will definitely choose 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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