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.

Certifications

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor
Outdoor Emergency Care
CPR / First Aid

5 stars

As a group of a 7 y/o who proved to be a bit afraid of climbing very high, an adult female who was afraid of heights, and 2 adult males (with slightly varying fitness abilities), all 4 of us had a great time. Our guide Brandon was extremely patient and able to challenge all of us and make us all feel like we really accomplished something! The area we climbed was challenging enough without being too challenging, and offered great views. None of us had ever rock climbed on real rocks before, but yet we felt extremely safe the whole time. As a company, they were extremely flexible with us making a last minute reservation. This is easily my number 1 suggestion for a thing to do while in the area!

TripAdvisor

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.

TripAdvisor

5 stars

We had such an amazing time! Brandon was our guide and he was incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and personable! My husband and I went for the 6 hr climb package and it was everything that we hoped it would be! We were challenged and exhilarated, yet felt very safe the entire time! We are novice climbers and Brandon invested the time to teach us basic climbing skills-which we greatly appreciated. He was amazing at gauging our comfort level and providing us with climbs that were a great fit for us with amazing views! We can’t say enough great things about Brandon at Sylvan Rocks and we can’t wait to bring our kids back to experience the challenge and fun that climbing provides! This package is an amazing value for the investment! Climb on! : ).

TripAdvisor

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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