American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

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

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

Sorcerer Needle, East Face. In The Needles, there are a number of interesting crack systems. Seen from a distant perspective, the break in the wall on the east face of the Wizard-Sorcerer massif, appears as a “natural”. Jim Stoddard and I packed to its base on May 9, then spent several hours discovering that while the rock was superb, the crack system had not been designed by the Creator for easy climbing. Jamming and stemming brought us to a tiny platform; aid up a thin, resisting crack brought us to the crux: above an awkward hanging belay the crack veered out, overhanging. In the morning, this proved to be a technique demander, with little good protection and many qualms; at one point a bolt was placed, for the exposure was considerable and the protection non-existent. Once above this strenuous section, the system had adequate ledges to break the still-demanding crack climbing. It also had a few overly adequate bushes that provided a chorus of cursing. The climbing on to the Wizard-Sorcerer notch was continuously interesting, mostly free but with a final short aid problem. An icy, unseasonably cold wind made us hurry up the final pitches to the once-visited summit of Sorcerer. Shivering hard, we made the steep rappel to the upper notch. The climb would be rated as NCCS III, F7 or F8, A2.

Fred Beckey

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