The Needles Climber's Log

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T. White

T. White - Nov 7, 2017 7:55 pm Date Climbed: Jul 4, 2016

Too bad the lookout is gone, but...  Sucess!

there sure was a special feeling at the top. Maybe it was the rickety stairs that felt like you'd drop into thin air at any moment? Views were outstanding. This was the rock that made me fall in love with the Southern Sierra.


wordlessnature - Oct 24, 2014 7:12 pm

Still great, after tower  Sucess!

I have hiked to the Needles before the lookout caught fire many times, and once after. It is a beautiful hike, and the rock post-burn allows for some fun scrambling near the top.


bechtt - May 26, 2014 6:35 pm Date Climbed: May 24, 2014

Lookout trail  Sucess!

Nice dawn hike to the top of the rock. No gate on the stairs. Pictures

Bob Burd

Bob Burd - Dec 23, 2012 8:38 pm Date Climbed: Oct 15, 2012

Tower visit  Sucess!

I wasn't here to rock climb, just to visit the site where the tower had been recently removed. Trip Report.


Diggler - Oct 3, 2012 5:29 pm Date Climbed: May 30, 2012

As good as it gets  Sucess!

Little trip w/ Faith, '12. Some of the best trad' you can find. Anywhere.

5.24.'12: White Punks on Dope- little bit of a burly approach (did from the opposite side), but a superb climb, with a sweet opening dihedral, awkward overhang, horizontal chimney, & finished off with some big runout slab. What an intro to the Needles!

5.28: Igor Unchained. Sweet dihedral(s), amazing thin, steep final pitch. I led Ps 1 & 3. FUN.

5.29: Thin Ice. One of the best 2 pitch climbs I've ever done. Didn't commit @ the crux & hung, so there went the redpoint (gotta go back!). Beginning of P2 was Yosemite (awkward, burly off-width/chimney) all the way. FUN.

5.30: Warlock, S face. Definitely not the cleanest or most sustained climbing in the Needles, but a 1st class adventure climb! Runout above the Pedestal took a number of retreats before finally pulling it (that would be a BAD place to fall), but finally did it. BIG day, a lot of fun! Great way to conclude our Needles outing!

Thanks for the beta, advice, & guide, Kris- much appreciated!


krrt2000 - Feb 26, 2012 9:13 pm Date Climbed: Aug 16, 2000

Lookout Trail  Sucess!

Great hike with my wife and two young 3 & 4 year old daughters.


fatdad - Mar 29, 2011 1:50 pm

A little bit of everything  Sucess!

Various routes climbed over the years, mostly 80s and 90s: Thin Ice, Airy Interlude, Fancy Free, Love Potion No. 9, Innervision, etc. Some many good routes, so little time.


Deb - Aug 23, 2010 9:03 pm Date Climbed: Aug 21, 2010

Strange Brew (5.8, 10 pitches)  Sucess!

What a long wonderful route...even the run-outs were wonderful! Great time with Dave at the Needles - our first time climbing there together.

Tom Fralich

Tom Fralich - Oct 12, 2009 2:18 am Date Climbed: Oct 9, 2009

See Below  Sucess!

Tree Route (5.6, 4 pitches) -- October 9,2009 -- Mary and I headed to Dome Rock after a week of night shifts, planning to have an easy run up Tree Route. When we got to the base of the route, we found a group of 10+ teenagers, with 3+ guides, who were planning to take all of the kids up the route. I asked if we might go ahead and they begrudgingly agreed. So we blasted off and had a great time. The whole thing took us +/- 1 hour.

White Punks on Dope (III 5.8+, 6 pitches) -- October 10, 2009 -- Mary and I did this on our first trip to The Needles. We got a bit off-route on the approach, but we reached the base in about 1.25 hours and started up behind another group. The climbing on the first 4 pitches was stellar, but I found the climbing on the bolted pitch to be horrifying. The sparse bolting and fear-factor on this pitch detracted from an otherwise well-protected and very fun climb. The finger crack after the bolted pitch was great fun. The descent was long and steep.


KVHiker - Aug 13, 2009 1:02 pm Date Climbed: Jul 28, 2009

The Lookout was Closed #2  Sucess!

This is my second time going to the Needles, but the lookout was closed this time. The views were great as usual, and it always amazes me that people climb up those rocks. Hats off to you climber folks.



hockeyman - Mar 7, 2007 4:41 pm Date Climbed: Sep 15, 1999

Igor / Thin Ice  Sucess!

Good routes, magical place. Very cool. Loved it and want to go back. Had bear issues in camp but no big deal. Been there twice. One of the best places in the Sierra's.


robojeda - Sep 6, 2006 5:22 am Date Climbed: Sep 2, 2006

The Magician "Black Magic/Strange Brew"  Sucess!

What an awsome place, classic climb, and Tasty cookies!


kngalaric - Aug 9, 2006 1:45 am

Stairs are a piece of cake  Sucess!

Fantastic views and Margee the host is a wonderful lady!


asmrz - May 4, 2006 5:41 pm Date Climbed: Aug 4, 1991

Hermit Spire, Brain Tune-Up, 5.11C

High up on the left side of the East Face of Hermit is very prominent thin finger crack. If you look up the face from the Falcon cracks area, you cannot miss this crack. It is the most prominent, visible and exciting feature of the East Face. In 1989, Miguel Carmona and I climbed up to this crack via the easy 4th class ramp that splits the lower East Face apron. We were only able to get up about 30 feet up the crack as we only had RPs for thin crack protection and this vertical crack looked totally owesome, scary and difficult. Upon return to LA I saw a TV program on brain stimulation by electrodes that provided some relief from "unreasonable" fear!? Exactly what we needed! Hence the name "Brain Tune-Up". Miguel brought Jim Mathews and my new set of Lowe Balls to the crack in June of 1990 and Jim was able to climb the 120 feet of finger crack at 5.11C. They rapped from the top of the pitch exhausted from the effort. On August 4th. 1991, Miguel and I returned and finished bolting the upper face and crack (10a) that later reaches the upper Charlie Knapp Route and follows it to the top. All bolts are 1/4 inch, drilled on lead. If you are into thin finger crack climbing, this is trully a great route that can be well protected by micro cams.


asmrz - May 4, 2006 5:19 pm Date Climbed: Jul 15, 1990

Hermit Spire, European Blend, 5.9

Miguel Carmona and I did the FA of this (dare I say) clean, smooth, fun face in 1990. Start at the wide gully that also houses the start of the Beckey South Face but after climbing the left side of the gully for about 30 feet, cross to the right and find a line of bolts (actually just three of them) going up and right on the apron. The climbing is very sporting 5.8 and ends in a small depression in the middle of the apron (50 meter rope).
The next pitch (3 bolts) continues up the narrowing apron (5.8) and ends at the 4th class ledge allowing escape right and down. Above the left terminus of the ledge is a steep and prominent buttress. Climb up the buttress (2 bolts) to reach a hand crack and 2 bolt belay above. Walk the easy but thin ledge right and climb the obvious corner up and left (5.9). Two exit pitches (5.6 and 5.6) or 10A and 10B will get you to the summit. All bolts are 1/4 inch, drilled from natural stances on the lead. The route has just enough pro to be sporting, but please be sure you are comfortable on moderate runouts at this rating.


asmrz - May 4, 2006 5:04 pm

Hermit Spire, The Snowman, 5.10B,

Miguel Carmona and I climbed the prominent crack and face just right of the existing Herb Laeger route "The Falcon" in 1989 (I think). Start about 15 feet to the right of the Falcon and climb knobby face (5.8) to a bolt about 20 feet up. Make a move(10A) to the left, reach the crack and climb it to a good belay and a ledge (10B). From the ledge climb slightly right and up on 10B face to the base of the apron mid way up. Climb the left edge of a serrated flake and face climb by the left side of a prominent roof spliting the face above you (tricky 10a). Another pitch or two lead to the summit. Very good, clean climbing at sustained 5.9 and 5.10. All bolts are 1/4 inch and were hand drilled from free stances on the lead.


tarol - Feb 9, 2006 2:00 pm

Route Climbed: The easy way! The stairs :) Date Climbed: November 22, 2003  Sucess!

This was a longer excursion than it would normally be to hike to the Needles Lookout because it was November and the Needles Road was already closed due to snow. Me and 3 friends hiked from the Western Divide Hwy to the Lookout and camped at the Trailhead overnight. It was very cold out there but we had a good time! Loved the clear winter views from the lookout...


old5ten - Jan 9, 2006 5:10 am

Route Climbed: Igor Unchained, Thin Ice, Love Potion, etc. Date Climbed: several, 1993 to present  Sucess!

What an awesome place. IMHO the cracks here rival anything the Valley has to offer.


Rileywyna - Dec 19, 2005 11:48 am

Route Climbed: Igor Unchained Date Climbed: aug 2000  Sucess!

Really outstanding climb. My first route after back surgery and my new partner Schaffer's first real crack climb ever...ya.he is bad ass


Kerstin - Sep 19, 2005 12:56 am

Route Climbed: Several great ones Date Climbed: Mostly mid-eighties

We climbed the South Face of Hermit Spire on August 7, 1985. A few days later we climbed White Punks on Dope, which was an incredible route. That month we also climbed the first pitch of Igor Unchained, then traversed over to Airy Interlude...We did Black Magic...a great route. I also climbed Black Magic in July of 1999 with the same partner. In June of 1986 we climbed the South Face of the Warlock. In July of 1987 we climbed Spooky, which I remember being very enjoyable. In early August of 1987 we climbed Slight of Hand and Stars and Stripes forever.

A wonderful place!

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