|Route Type:||Trad Climbing|
|Time Required:||Half a day|
|Rock Difficulty:||5.10c (YDS)|
|Number of Pitches:||2|
I climbed Gorilla Warfare several years prior to climbing Witch Doctor, 5.10c, and the Pit and the Pendulum, 5.10c. At the time I had no idea that this less visited lower section of the Witch harbored the best collection of 5.10 routes in the Needles. The first pitch of Gorilla and the third pitch of Pit and the Pendulum are the two best 5.10 pitches I have climbed at the Needles excluding Spell’s (Warlock) off width 5.10 pitch which is my favorite because I like off width. The first pitch of Witch Doctor is the best 5.9 lead at the Needles. Where Gorilla climbs the left side of a 200'+ pedestal, Witch Doctor climbs the right side of it. Gorilla raps its route, whereas Witch Doctor climbs to the top of the formation, as does The Pit and the Pendulum which starts atop Witch Doctor’s first pitch. All three offer exceptional climbing at the grade.
Located on the lower west face of the Witch, right before you reach the Necromancer. Obvious left curving wide corner. Requires some 5th class scrambling/climbing to reach the base of this corner
1st Pitch- 115’- 5.10c/ One of the better pitches at its grade in all of the Needles. There is a wide variety of climbing on this one pitch. Start out C4#3 wide and get to #6 wide before eventually finishing on tight hands. It is a sustained pitch without many rests. The off-width is best tackled as more of a flaring chimney at its crux: back against the left wall and move your feet up the opposing wall. You come to an opportunity to place small gear in a flake on the left wall. That is when you can transition back into crack climbing with some facial features to help via your left foot. The crack eventually bites down to C4#.75-#1 and you finish off on that to an anchor. The topo references a “squeeze” at the crux which I avoided all together.
2nd Pitch- 80’- 5.8/ A pleasant enough pitch up a runnel of sorts with specific pockets for gear vs an open crack. Fixed station to the left of the tree. Or you can continue on and climb the Pit and the Pendulum which begins atop the pedestal.
A 70m rope gets you down in two raps.
The local guide references two 4”-5” cams so we just took a single to C4#6. If doing it again, I would take a double rack to C4#5 along with a single #6. . Route stays shaded until early afternoon.