The intimidating spires of The Needles draw climbers from all over the world to savor classics like Igor Unchained (5.9), Thin Ice (5.10), and Romantic Warrior (IV 5.12b). These routes have 'pucker factor'. If given a choice between The Needles and The Valley I'll hands down take The Needles. Beautiful green lichened rock in a more solitary environment. No tourists here! The rock is solid granite offering everything from hard crack to hard face.
One important caveat -- the Needles is not a good area for beginning leaders; you should be self-sufficient and comfortable leading sparsely protected 5.9 on gear, at a bare minimum. Extensive racks with doubles of everything are required for many climbs. As E.C. Joe, one of the early developers of Needles, puts it, "do not venture out to climb at the Needles unless you are prepared to take care of business."
|Nearest town or city:||Ponderosa|
Take Rt. 99 to the Rt. 190 east exit for Porterville. Continue past Springville (food! cheap gas!) for about an hour. If you get to the Ponderosa you've gone about 1 mile too far. If you get to Johnsondale you've gone WAY too far.
Routes on Voodoo Dome and Demon Dome are normally approached from the road near Lower Needlerock Creek, aka. Peppermint Springs. The approach is about 45 minutes to 1 hour of steeply uphill hiking on somewhat indistinct trails; this is not recommended as an introduction to the Needles unless traveling with someone who is familiar with the area.
Routes in the main Needles (Magician, Djinn, Charlatan, Wizard, Sorcerors Apprentice, Witch, Warlock, and Necromancer formations) are accessible from the hiker's trailhead, which is at the end of the dirt road marked 'Needles Spring Road' about a mile west of the Ponderosa. For routes on any of these formations besides the Magician, the trail is followed up to the steps leading to the lookout tower, at which point a trail dips down from the Old West style horse-hitching rack which will be on your left as you face the steps to the lookout. This trail leads to the Witch-Sorceror notch, where you will likely find other climbers.
No water is available in the Needles. Bring sufficient quantities for each member of your party to consume up to 6 liters daily. A faucet is available at the Ponderosa for filling up; bring your own suitable container.
Unrestricted camping is available approximately 100 yards uphill from the end of Needles Spring Road (FS21S05), but permits (available from Margie at the lookout tower) are required for fires. Do not build campfires under any circumstances when fire danger is posted as "Extreme".
|Latitude, Longitude:||38.10000, -118.48500|
|When to Climb:||Spring|
|Quantity of Climbs:||Lifetime|
Forum Discussions (See all 24 posts )
|Southern Sierra Needles Guide book for sale||chanceboarder||5||Jul 06 2012, 5:54 PM|
|Needles access||clmbmtns||2||Apr 08 2010, 6:07 PM|
|Needles Cell Phone Coverage?||jhitch||5||Sep 16 2010, 7:51 PM|
|needles access||jcrew||1||May 30 2008, 12:00 AM|
|Needles, CA in Oct?||tylerm||2||Aug 06 2007, 11:55 AM|
|Needles Access?||jer99||0||May 24 2007, 12:54 PM|
|Late season beta on Needles, CA???||climberzrule||1||Oct 12 2006, 9:44 PM|
|Break in and theft at the Needles||sunnysloper||1||Jul 04 2006, 6:48 AM|
|SSCA Needles event!||t_votaw||0||Jun 16 2006, 12:04 PM|
|needles access||jcrew||4||Jun 18 2006, 4:28 PM|
|Reardon solos Romantic Warrior onsight!||socalbolter||73||Dec 04 2006, 12:14 AM|
|Needles route beta||soulsurfer||14||Aug 11 2005, 11:38 PM|
|Needles weather and snowpack?||paulc||18||Jun 23 2005, 1:35 PM|
|Needles (CA) climbing mid June?||aierez||2||Apr 18 2005, 2:34 PM|
|Needles, CA area New Years?||adamd||4||Dec 04 2004, 4:37 PM|