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Lindsay Stephens

Lindsay Stephens

Lindsay began working with Sylvan Rocks in 2007, and continues to share her love of climbing with enthusiastic pizazz. Lindsay spent several seasons tracking down the first ascents of the pioneers of Custer State Park Needles climbing, Jan and Herb Conn.

Her guide book, South Dakota Needles: The Adventure Climbs of Jan and Herb Conn, is already in its second printing. Until Lindsay’s explorations, some of these old climbing routes, put up in the 1950’s by a couple of legends in tennis shoes, had never seen a second ascent.

When not working with Sylvan Rocks, Lindsay teaches English at the University of South Dakota where she is working toward her Doctorate in English.


Tenured Single Pitch Instructor
Wilderness First Responder
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!


5 stars

Our climbing outing with Sylvan Rocks was unforgettable! My husband and I did an 8-hour guided tour with Brandon--who was VERY knowledgeable. He designed the day specifically for us: bringing us to routes that fit our needs and ability levels. We climbed a variety of routes that ranged in difficulty, including a multi-pitch climb. It was clear Brandon took safety seriously, so we felt comfortable the entire time. What a wonderful way to see the Black Hills! For context, we had some experience climbing in a gym before our trip and typically climb 5.9-5.10 routes. The climbing in the Black Hills was challenging and fun!


5 stars

My son and I did an introductory climbing day a couple of years ago with Sylvan Rocks. That day made my son fall in love with climbing. Last week, we returned for a three-day climbing session, and it was even better than the first. Our guide Shankar gave us three amazing days that culminated in my son's ascent of Spires 2 and 3 of the Cathedral Spires in Custer State Park. He was patient, good-humored, and laser-focused on safety while dealing both with my beginner's mistakes, and with my son's need for technical training. While he pushed me to stretch my limits, there was never any point at which I felt it was inappropriate. And, we got to the top of the "Aquarium." On top of all that, Shankar's just a really cool guy. I feel that we got more than our money's worth out of this experience, and we will be back to climb again with 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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