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North America, United States, California—Sierra Nevada, Keeler Needle, East Face

Keeler Needle, East Face. In September 1973 John Weiland and I made a new route on the east face of Keeler Needle. We started on the right side of the face and climbed six pitches all free except for 30 feet up into the base of the huge red dihedral that extends from a third to halfway up the right side of the face. From the top of the dihedral we worked left on ledges to the center of the face below the headwall. This required very steep aid climbing up several different cracks. The 14th lead put us on a good ledge above the headwall, and one more pitch up a steep crack led up the right side of the prow below the spectacular ledge of the Harding route. (The ledge appears on the cover of Ascent, 1972.) From here we followed the Harding route to the summit. We were disappointed to find five or six totally needless bolts on the first two leads. Fortunately they soon came to an end; the climb is only partly flawed by their presence. We carried 25 nuts and 25 pins and found we could have used more nuts, though through the upper headwall we used a number of thin pins. NCCS V, F9 or F10.

Jeff Lowe