American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California - Sierra Nevada, Sorcerer Needle

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

Sorcerer Needle. The higher, sharp spire immediately east of the Wizard. First ascent, April 11, via the west face above the Wizard-Sorcerer notch. Rappel 75 feet from the summit of the Wizard into the high, western notch; two leads over steep, broken rock and up an easy chimney (F4) gain the summit. A 150-foot rappel at the north of the summit reaches the notch separating the Sorcerer from the Charlatan, a smaller needle to the north. Combined with the traverse of the Wizard, NCCS III, F7, A1. (There appear to be no possible routes on either the Wizard or Sorcerer that do not involve moderately difficult free climbing with mixed aid.) Warlock Needle. The southernmost and highest of the central Needle group; Voodoo Dome is to the immediate south. New route via the east face, and first ascent of the final summit block, April 12. This needle was climbed one week earlier by Beckey, McHale and me via the left edge of the south face to the lower, southern summit block. An old cairn on this block indicates an earlier summit attempt by unknown climbers, probably by a fifth-class traverse across the east face from the high Warlock-Witch notch to the north. East face route: From the base of the face, climb to a large ledge with big pines via either a slanting ramp or a shorter wall and crack system just to the north. At the south edge of this ledge move up 40 feet over steep blocks to a broad platform. Step across to the main wall and using a thin, wandering crack system and solution pockets with good holds (F6) climb up 120 feet to a short aid crack (A1, 2 pitons) just below a prominent belay ledge. Follow the ramp above this ledge, then go left up giant steps via a steep jam-crack to a large platform below the summit. A vertical crack with several chockstones (F7) leads to the chimney-like notch separating the south (false) summit from the large, smooth summit bulge to the north. 3 bolts were placed above the notch to reach small nubbins leading to the top. NCCS II, F7, Al.

Michael Heath

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