in United States at 1510 National Avenue, Hot Springs, SD 57747

Please register FREE at the event. Online Registration Form is closed temporarily due to technical glitch.

  • FREE 9/11 Registration
    Register On-line (preferred) or at the event starting 6:00 am

    Online registration is closed for this category.

  • Make a Donation-earn a tee shirt!
    Donations $25 or more (received by 9/1/20) earn a free tee. Free hoodie for person who raises most money by 9/1/20

    Online registration is closed for this category.


Registration is free and can be done ‘day of’, but we encourage you to sign up now to make the process more efficient, and mostly 'hands-free'. Since there is no charge, there is no penalty if you are unable to join us or decide not to climb.

6:15 am INSTRUCTIONS/PROGRAM (time approx)
6:46 am FLIGHT OF SILENCE BEGINS (all climbers follow flag-bearer)

After the program we begin with a flight of silence at 6:46 am, the time of the first attack on the World Trade Towers. Some people climb 1 or 2 flights. Some keep climbing: 7 flights, 15, 40, or more! The record is 100 grueling flights. 15 laps represents up and down one of the World Trade Towers.

Our purpose it to encourage each other to get strong, in body, mind and spirit, while remembering and honoring the victims and heroes of 9/11 and all terrorist attacks. Join us regardless of ability, to climb or simply to support, remember and honor. If you cannot arrive in time for the Flight of Silence, come when you can. The Challenge Director will stay until the last climber finishes, so arrive before she leaves and she will happily support your climb. Usually we are still on site into the early afternoon. In 2020, who knows?

Late arrival is an excellent option if you are uncomfortable with a crowd. We suggest you wait until about 9:30 to show up. Most likely a small group will still be climbing, but given the nature of the staircase it will still be easy for you to distance. By signing the disclaimer now, you need only tell us your name to get started.

Remember, Challenge Dakota receives at least $1.00 for every flight climbed, and that includes your well-trained and leashed dog! That money is critical to our ability to support active events and preserve our historic staircases. So climb as much as you are able to safely climb.


Children are always welcome and encouraged. We have had kids of most every age and they add wonderful energy to the day.

Anyone under 18 must sign up in advance online, bring a disclaimer signed by parent/guardian or bring parent/guardian with them to complete a disclaimer at the event.


Dogs are welcome if they are leashed and you follow all city ordinances. (So bring your leash and poop bags please.) Be courteous and remember that not everyone likes to be kissed by your puppy. (We don't know why, but it is true.)

Challenge Dakota also earns $1.00 for every flight your dog climbs, so be sure to collect a rubber band for the pooch each time you finish a flight.


The 9/11 Grand Stair Challenge is a unique event. Every year we meet at the foot of the Battle Mountain Grand Staircase, downtown Hot Springs, to climb the 141-step staircase with friends, neighbors and friends we have not met.

The primary reason for this event is to remember the heroes and victims of 9/11; indeed, to remember the victims of terrorist attacks any time, any place.We believe that strong people build a strong country. We climb to strengthen ourselves in body, mind and spirit.

We believe that strong people build a strong country. We climb to strengthen ourselves in body, mind and spirit.

This event also serves as the primary fundraiser for Challenge Dakota; an anonymous donor gives Challenge $1.00 for every flight climbed.

Every time you complete one lap (up and down the 141 steps) Challenge receives $1.00. Last year we raised over $1300 for Challenge Dakota. In addition, the donor matched that amount for hurricane relief (Samaritan's Purse).


Challenge Dakota is a 501(c)(3) corporation. When you donate to Challenge, you help fund our efforts to support active events in and around Hot Springs, especially new events and events associated with stair-climbing. In addition to supporting events,

Challenge Dakota: is building a race kit, which is used by many local groups for their race events; repaired the stone steps leading to the Pioneer Museum; is raising funds to preserve the city's five historic stairways in downtown Hot Springs; has future plans to create a program to sign and 'adopt' the five community stairways (for weed/litter/monitoring) and the Freedom Trail.


Because part of each route crosses Veterans Administration property, you agree in your signed waiver to follow these SECURITY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT regulations:

1.218 - Security and law enforcement at VA facilities.
(a) Authority and rules of conduct. Pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 901, the following rules and regulations apply at all property under the charge and control of VA (and not under the charge and control of the General Services Administration) and to all persons entering in or on such property. The head of the facility is charged with the responsibility for the enforcement of these rules and regulations and shall cause these rules and regulations to be posted in a conspicuous place on the property.
(1) Closing property to public. The head of the facility, or designee, shall establish visiting hours for the convenience of the public and shall establish specific hours for the transaction of business with the public. The property shall be closed to the public during other than the hours so established. In emergency situations, the property shall be closed to the public when reasonably necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of Government business. The decision to close a property during an emergency shall be made by the head of the facility or designee. The head of the facility or designee shall have authority to designate areas within a facility as closed to the public.
(2) Recording presence. Admission to property during periods when such property is closed to the public will be limited to persons authorized by the head of the facility or designee. Such persons may be required to sign a register and/or display identification documents when requested to do so by VA police, or other authorized individual. No person, without authorization, shall enter upon or remain on such property while the property is closed. Failure to leave such premises by unauthorized persons shall constitute an offense under this paragraph.
(3) Preservation of property. The improper disposal of rubbish on property; the spitting on the property; the creation of any hazard on property to persons or things; the throwing of articles of any kind from a building; the climbing upon the roof or any part of the building, without permission; or the willful destruction, damage, or removal of Government property or any part thereof, without authorization, is prohibited. The destruction, mutilation, defacement, injury, or removal of any monument, gravestone, or other structure within the limits of any national cemetery is prohibited.
(4) Conformity with signs and emergency conditions. The head of the facility, or designee, shall have authority to post signs of a prohibitory and directory nature. Persons, in and on property, shall comply with such signs of a prohibitory or directory nature, and during emergencies, with the direction of police authorities and other authorized officials. Tampering with, destruction, marring, or removal of such posted signs is prohibited.
(5) Disturbances. Conduct on property which creates loud or unusual noise; which unreasonably obstructs the usual use of entrances, foyers, lobbies, corridors, offices, elevators, stairways, or parking lots; which otherwise impedes or disrupts the performance of official duties by Government employees; which prevents one from obtaining medical or other services provided on the property in a timely manner; or the use of loud, abusive, or otherwise improper language; or unwarranted loitering, sleeping, or assembly is prohibited. In addition to measures designed to secure voluntary terminations of violations of this paragraph the head of the facility or designee may cause the issuance of orders for persons who are creating a disturbance to depart the property. Failure to leave the premises when so ordered constitutes a further disturbance within the meaning of this rule, and the offender is subject to arrest and removal from the premises.
(6) Gambling. Participating in games for money or for tangible or intangible things, or the operating of gambling devices, the conduct of a lottery or pool, or the selling or purchasing of numbers tickets, in or on property is prohibited.
(7) Alcoholic beverages and narcotics. Operating a motor vehicle on property by a person under the influence of alcoholic beverages, narcotic drugs, hallucinogens, marijuana, barbiturates, or amphetamines is prohibited. Entering property under the influence of any narcotic drug, hallucinogen, marijuana, barbiturate, amphetamine, or alcoholic beverage (unless prescribed by a physician) is prohibited. The use on property of any narcotic drug, hallucinogen, marijuana, barbiturate, or amphetamine (unless prescribed by a physician) is prohibited. The introduction or possession of alcoholic beverages or any narcotic drug, hallucinogen, marijuana, barbiturate, and amphetamine on property is prohibited, except for liquor or drugs prescribed for use by medical authority for medical purposes. Provided such possession is consistent with the laws of the State in which the facility is located, liquor may be used and maintained in quarters assigned to employees as their normal abode, and away from the abode with the written consent of the head of the facility which specifies a special occasion for use and limits the area and period for the authorized use.
(8) Soliciting, vending, and debt collection. Soliciting alms and contributions, commercial soliciting and vending of all kinds, displaying or distributing commercial advertising, or collecting private debts in or on property is prohibited. This rule does not apply to (i) national or local drives for funds for welfare, health, or other purposes as authorized under Executive Order 12353, Charitable Fund Raising (March 23, 1982), as amended by Executive Order 12404 (February 10, 1983), and regulations issued by the Office of Personnel Management implementing these Executive Orders; (ii) concessions or personal notices posted by employees on authorized bulletin boards; and (iii) solicitation of labor organization membership or dues under 5 U.S.C. chapter 71.
(9) Distribution of handbills. The distributing of materials such as pamphlets, handbills, and/or flyers, and the displaying of placards or posting of materials on bulletin boards or elsewhere on property is prohibited, except as authorized by the head of the facility or designee or when such distributions or displays are conducted as part of authorized Government activities.
(10) Photographs for news, advertising, or commercial purposes. Photographs for advertising or commercial purposes may be taken only with the written consent of the head of the facility or designee. Photographs for news purposes may be taken at entrances, lobbies, foyers, or in other places designated by the head of the facility or designee.
(11) Dogs and other animals. Dogs and other animals, except seeing-eye dogs, shall not be brought upon property except as authorized by the head of the facility or designee.
(12) Vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Drivers of all vehicles in or on property shall drive in a careful and safe manner at all times and shall comply with the signals and directions of police and all posted traffic signs. The blocking of entrances, driveways, walks, loading platforms, or fire hydrants in or on property is prohibited; parking in unauthorized locations or in locations reserved for other persons or contrary to the direction of posted signs is prohibited. Creating excessive noise on hospital or cemetery premises by muffler cut out, the excessive use of a horn, or other means is prohibited. Operation of a vehicle in a reckless or unsafe manner, drag racing, bumping, overriding curbs, or leaving the roadway is prohibited.
(13) Weapons and explosives. No person while on property shall carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, except for official purposes.
(14) Demonstrations. (i) All visitors are expected to observe proper standards of decorum and decency while on VA property. Toward this end, any service, ceremony, or demonstration, except as authorized by the head of the facility or designee, is prohibited. Jogging, bicycling, sledding and other forms of physical recreation on cemetery grounds is prohibited.
(ii) For the purpose of the prohibition expressed in this paragraph, unauthorized demonstrations or services shall be defined as, but not limited to, picketing, or similar conduct on VA property; any oration or similar conduct to assembled groups of people, unless the oration is part of an authorized service; the display of any placards, banners, or foreign flags on VA property unless approved by the head of the facility or designee; disorderly conduct such as fighting, threatening, violent, or tumultuous behavior, unreasonable noise or coarse utterance, gesture or display or the use of abusive language to any person present; and partisan activities, i.e., those involving commentary or actions in support of, or in opposition to, or attempting to influence, any current policy of the Government of the United States, or any private group, association, or enterprise.
(15) Key security. The head of the facility of designee, will determine which employees, by virtue of their duties, shall have access to keys or barrier-card keys which operate locks to rooms or areas on the property. The unauthorized possession, manufacture, and/or use of such keys or barrier cards is prohibited. The surreptitious opening or attempted opening of locks or card-operated barrier mechanisms is prohibited.
(16) Sexual misconduct. Any act of sexual gratification on VA property involving two or more persons, who do not reside in quarters on the property, is prohibited. Acts of prostitution or solicitation for acts of prostitution on VA property is prohibited. For the purposes of this paragraph, an act of prostitution is defined as the performance or the offer or agreement to perform any sexual act for money or payment.
(b) Schedule of offenses and penalties. Conduct in violation of the rules and regulations set forth in paragraph (a) of this section subjects an offender to arrest and removal from the premises. Whomever shall be found guilty of violating these rules and regulations while on any property under the charge and control of VA is subject to a fine as stated in the schedule set forth herein or, if appropriate, the payment of fixed sum in lieu of appearance (forfeiture of collateral) as may be provided for in rules of the United States District Court. Violations included in the schedule of offenses and penalties may also subject an offender to a term of imprisonment of not more than six months, as may be determined appropriate by a magistrate or judge of the United States District Court:
(1) Improper disposal of rubbish on property, $200.
(2) Spitting on property, $25.
(3) Throwing of articles from a building or the unauthorized climbing upon any part of a building, $50.
(4) Willful destruction, damage, or removal of Government property without authorization, $500.
(5) Defacement, destruction, mutilation or injury to, or removal, or disturbance of, gravemarker or headstone, $500.
(6) Failure to comply with signs of a directive and restrictive nature posted for safety purposes, $50.
(7) Tampering with, removal, marring, or destruction of posted signs, $150.
(8) Entry into areas posted as closed to the public or others (trespass), $50.
(9 Unauthorized demonstration or service in a national cemetery or on other VA property, $250.
(10) Creating a disturbance during a burial ceremony, $250.
(11) Disorderly conduct which creates loud, boisterous, and unusual noise, or which obstructs the normal use of entrances, exits, foyers, offices, corridors, elevators, and stairways or which tends to impede or prevent the normal operation of a service or operation of the facility, $250.
(12) Failure to depart premises by unauthorized persons, $50.
(13) Unauthorized loitering, sleeping or assembly on property, $50.
(14) Gambling-participating in games of chance for monetary gain or personal property; the operation of gambling devices, a pool or lottery; or the taking or giving of bets, $200.
(15) Operation of a vehicle under the influence of alcoholic beverages or nonprescribed narcotic drugs, hallucinogens, marijuana, barbiturates, or amphetamines, $500.
(16) Entering premises under the influence of alcoholic beverages or narcotic drugs, hallucinogens, marijuana, barbiturates or amphetamines, $200.
(17) Unauthorized use on property of alcoholic beverages or narcotic drugs, hallucinogens, marijuana, barbiturates, or amphetamines, $300.
(18) Unauthorized introduction on VA controlled property of alcoholic beverages or narcotic drugs, hallucinogens, marijuana, barbiturates, or amphetamines or the unauthorized giving of same to a patient or beneficiary, $500.
(19) Unauthorized solicitation of alms and contributions on premises, $50.
(20) Commercial soliciting or vending, or the collection of private debts on property, $50.
(21) Distribution of pamphlets, handbills, and flyers, $25.
(22) Display of placards or posting of material on property, $25.
(23) Unauthorized photography on premises, $50.
(24) Failure to comply with traffic directions of VA police, $25.
(25) Parking in spaces posted as reserved for physically disabled persons, $50.
(26) Parking in no-parking areas, lanes, or crosswalks so posted or marked by yellow borders or yellow stripes, $25.
(27) Parking in emergency vehicle spaces, areas and lanes bordered in red or posted as EMERGENCY VEHICLES ONLY or FIRE LANE, or parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, $50.
(28) Parking within an intersection or blocking a posted vehicle entrance or posted exit lane, $25.
(29) Parking in spaces posted as reserved or in excess of a posted time limit, $15.
(30) Failing to come to a complete stop at a STOP sign, $25.
(31) Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a marked and posted crosswalk, $25.
(32) Driving in the wrong direction on a posted one-way street, $25.
(33) Operation of a vehicle in a reckless or unsafe manner, too fast for conditions, drag racing, overriding curbs, or leaving the roadway, $100.
(34) Exceeding posted speed limits:
(i) By up to 10 mph, $25.
(ii) By up to 20 mph, $50.
(iii) By over 20 mph, $100.
(35) Creating excessive noise in a hospital or cemetery zone by muffler cut out, excessive use of a horn, or other means, $50.
(36) Failure to yield right of way to other vehicles, $50.
(37) Possession of firearms, carried either openly or concealed, whether loaded or unloaded (except by Federal or State law enforcement officers on official business, $500.
(38) Introduction or possession of explosives, or explosive devices which fire a projectile, ammunition, or combustibles, $500.
(39) Possession of knives which exceed a blade length of 3 inches; switchblade knives; any of the variety of hatchets, clubs and hand-held weapons; or brass knuckles, $300.
(40) The unauthorized possession of any of the variety of incapacitating liquid or gas-emitting weapons, $200.
(41) Unauthorized possession, manufacture, or use of keys or barrier card-type keys to rooms or areas on the property, $200.
(42) The surreptitious opening, or attempted opening, of locks or card-operated barrier mechanisms on property, $500.
(43) Soliciting for, or the act of, prostitution, $250.
(44) Any unlawful sexual activity, $250.
(45) Jogging, bicycling, sledding or any recreational physical activity conducted on cemetery grounds, $50.
All requests will be reviewed by VA Police and VA Regional Counsel to advise the head of the Facility (Director) to approve or disapprove. Approved requests will be filled with VA Black Hills Public Affairs and VA Black Hills Police.


For event-related questions, please click on the Contact the Organizers button on the left-hand side of this page.

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