American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California - Sierra Nevada, The Needles, Southern Sierra Nevada

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1971

The Needles, Southern Sierra Nevada. This very accessible, technical rock-climbing area in the Sequoia National Forest north of Kerndale remained essentially unknown until “discovered” several years ago by Dan McHale of Los Angeles. McHale, Fred Beckey, myself and several others have recently established a number of Grade II to IV routes, and have named and cairned most of the spire-like summits. The rock is an unglaciated granitic very similar to that of Tahquitz in quality, with fine crack systems and excellent friction on steep faces 400 to almost 1000 feet high. Many fine route possibilities remain, and although the elevation is 8000 feet, the southern exposure permits climbing in the early spring and late fall when most Sierra areas are closed. The following three first ascents were made in early April by my wife, B.J., and me. Wizard Needle. The bottle-shaped spire near the north end of the central group of Needles. First ascent, April 11, via the northwest face. From the couloir on the north side traverse west (mixed aid and free) into the deep chimney on the northwest face. Stem and struggle 50 feet to a broad, bushy platform; above, an 80-foot curving dihedral (Al, blades and small angles) leads to a small, horizontal ledge at the neck of the Wizard. Traverse right to the southwest corner and climb the head on easy nubbins. NCCS II, F7, A1.

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