Go back to The Needles.
A weekend of mixed activities – (Shirley’s) business trip to San Diego and a touch of climbing in The Needles. We’ve meant to check this place out for years but somehow things never materialized. Now that we have, we can add our own voices to the chorus of admirers. Stellar climbing in a pretty setting and on some gorgeous rock! A 2:30am arrival in Kernville on day one meant a late wake up and by the time we hiked in it was early afternoon. We climbed the 3-pitch Igor Unchained
and admired an unknown party on Thin Ice
across the gully – the only other people we’d see climbing all weekend (shocked!). Indeed, Igor
is probably some of the best 5.9 crack climbing in the universe. Pitch one is mostly an easy handcrack and when that peters out momentarily a perfect jug appears within reach – engineered to be fun. Pitches 2 and 3 offer a bit more variety including a touch of delicate face climbing and stemming. After topping out and rapping off, we stashed our gear and hiked out hungry for more.
The following day we came back and got on Thin Ice (3-pitch, 5.10b) first thing in the morning…expecting crowds. That worry never materialized and once again saw only the two same climbers as the day prior. We climbed the route in three pitches mostly because I wanted to get some photos of Shirley enjoying the pitch 2 flared chimney. 5.10a really? Heard an older guidebook calls it a 5.9…I need more hair on my chest. After topping out (and, despite the hard pitch 2, really enjoying this stellar route!), we rapped into the Sorcerer-Charlatan notch and climbed the 2-pitch Spooky (5.9) to the top of The Charlatan. A quick hike out and a strong desire to go back soon!
Game of inches.
Click for video
Homebound (this time).
First Half Day
The Magician with the remnants of a burnt out fire lookout on its summit. This is the first of The Needles formations that you see on the hike in (Aug. 2014).
The Witch as seen from the approach. Igor Unchained – its upper 2 pitches – are visible as a crack system that splits the center diamond-shaped face in half (Aug. 2014).
Igor Unchained – handcrack climbing ecstasy (Aug. 2014).
Shirley low on the first pitch of Igor Unchained (Aug. 2014).
Views from Igor Unchained (Aug. 2014).
A follower getting into the crux on the first pitch of Thin Ice on The Sorcerer (Aug. 2014).
More jamming goodness on pitch 1 of Igor Unchained (Aug. 2014).
Leading pitch 2 of Igor Unchained (Aug. 2014).
Looking back from midway up pitch 2 of Igor Unchained (Aug. 2014).
An unknown party nearly finished with pitch 1 of Thin Ice. View is from Igor Unchained (Aug. 2014).
Starting up pitch 3 (funnest of the whole fun bunch) of Igor Unchained (Aug. 2014).
The unknown follower on pitch 2 of Thin Ice. The leader of this party casually walked both pitches of the route with about 3 or 4 pieces of pro per pitch…pleasure to watch (Aug. 2014).
Shirley topping out on Igor Unchained with The Sorcerer (left) and The Charlatan in the background (Aug. 2014).
The Sorcerer formation as seen from Igor Unchained. There’s a party on the upper pitch of Thin Ice (leader is on the summit; Aug. 2014).
The beautiful looking Warlock formation as seen from the rap line on The Witch (Aug. 2014).
Shirley rapping off the summit of The Witch (Aug. 2014).
The Warlock as seen during the rappel off the summit of The Witch (Aug. 2014).
What seems to be the problem officer?
The Sorcerer (with its classic Thin Ice route) as seen from the approach hike (Aug. 2014).
Starting up Thin Ice (Aug. 2014).
Thin Ice pitch 1 (Aug. 2014).
Shirley on pitch 1 of Thin Ice (Aug. 2014).
More Thin Ice pitch 1 action (Aug. 2014).
Topping out on pitch 1.
Plunging into the flared chimney on pitch 2 of Thin Ice (Aug. 2014).
Higher on the interesting pitch 2 of Thin Ice (Aug. 2014).
Shirley starting up the strenuous (for us) pitch 2 of Thin Ice (Aug. 2014).
Higher on pitch 2. Click photo for the video…
Leading the much easier third and final pitch of Thin Ice (Aug. 2014).
Looking back at Shirley from the lead of pitch 3 (much easier than previous 2) of Thin Ice (Aug. 2014).
Shirley atop The Sorcerer and eyeing The Charlatan with its Spooky route which we climbed next (Aug. 2014).
Leading pitch 1 of Spooky – short, easy slab to a very pretty thin hands crack (Aug. 2014).
More splitter heaven (Aug. 2014).
Shirley starting up pitch 1 of Spooky on The Charlatan (Aug. 2014).
The beautiful thin hands (but low angle) splitter on pitch 1 of Spooky (5.9; Aug. 2014).
A great day to let the hair flutter in the warm SoCal wind.
Leading pitch 2 of Spooky – short but nasty wideness to fun face climbing (Aug. 2014).
Shirley enjoying pitch 2 of Spooky…above the off-width start which was short but less enjoyable (Aug. 2014).
The Witch as seen from the top of Spooky route on The Charlatan (Aug. 2014).
Cool granite features you climb through at the top of Spooky (Aug. 2014).
Pointing towards The Sorcerer from the top of Spooky (Aug. 2014).
Summit selfie on The Charlatan (Aug. 2014).
Shirley atop The Charlatan with The Witch formation in the background (Aug. 2014).
Top of The Charlatan with Our Lady Of The Needles in the background (Aug. 2014).
Homebound after a good if quick bit of climbing (Aug. 2014).
Go back to The Needles.