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Needles (and surrounds) in Winter?
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By Fred 4
From San Diego, CA
Feb 18, 2014

Is there good climbing in the Kern River area in winter? What would be accessible right now? I'm guessing there's not much if any snow, but I've never been.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Feb 18, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

Fred.... the Kern River is wide open right now... I'm talking about the stuff north of Kernville.

The usual winter weather is much better than JT, the Camping is Free and there is really good climbing and bouldering.

Places like Kern Slab, New Directions, Book Rock, Limestone and Sunny Vahalla are all "IN" right now.....look at MP

gotta run.


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By Fred 4
From San Diego, CA
Feb 18, 2014

Cool, thanks for the info.

What's the best guide for the area?


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Feb 18, 2014

I think this old, out-of-print book may be the only guidebook for the area (note: this book is not just The Needles, but most of the crags in the area):

www.amazon.com/Southern-Sierra-Rock-Climbing-Needles/dp/0934>>>

You could check out a copy of this to see if it has any of the areas:

www.wolverinepublishing.com/a-climbers-guide-to-northern-cal>>>

When all else fails, there's MP.


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By Fred 4
From San Diego, CA
Feb 18, 2014

For anyone else wondering (and for my future reference), I found these for Needles at least:

www.monsteroffwidth.com/NeedlesMiniGuide/index.html
www.stanford.edu/~clint/needles/index.htm

Is Needles itself a good idea this time of year or no?


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Feb 19, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

: (this book is not just The Needles, but most of the crags in the area):


Frank... the number of known places to climb has about doubled in the last 30 years or so...

And Fred4.... the Needles would be fine right now, esp Voodo Dome. The problem is this.... the LEOS who sit at desks all day in Porterville think the whole place in in the grips of winter, under oh lets say 8 feet of snow.....

BITD.... the lower road would melt out in late Febuary and the road/gate would be opened up so that the citizens could enjoy nature.

Now its Memorial Day...

I do know of some motivated folks who ride MT Bikes the 12 miles or so to get to Voodo Dome.... your most likley braking several local and Federal laws, but what the heck- they will never catch you, they don't even drive around. (except to go get Donuts in Porterville)


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Feb 19, 2014

The Needles proper are snowed in after the last storm. Around New Years, the road was clear and bikeable and Hwy. 190 was clear of snow to Dome Rock. It was pretty pathetic from a winter weather perspective. However, I was up there this past weekend and there was about a foot of snow on the ground and both the Needles fire road and Hwy. 190 (past the gate) was covered. It was pretty snow free about 1,000-1,500' lower down, so the lower road to Voodoo may be good. You'll have to approach from the south though, thru California Hot Springs or Lake Isabella since upper Hwy. 190 is closed.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Feb 19, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

Dad .... don't forget about the 12- 14 miles of lower road... no driving on that one.


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By Fred 4
From San Diego, CA
Feb 19, 2014

ok thanks guys. Sounds like it's not a great option.

Oh and Guy, at the top, your post says ": (this book is not just The Needles, but most of the crags in the area):" What are you referring to?


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Feb 19, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

sorry...FrankPS said that....

Dont know why MP does not have a quote feature???? (I know that there is a way- but my non-computerized brain can't figure it out)

The Needles Guide and the DomeLand guides are really helpfull and have a ton of off the beaten path spots


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Feb 19, 2014

Guy Keesee wrote:
sorry...FrankPS said that.... Dont know why MP does not have a quote feature???? (I know that there is a way- but my non-computerized brain can't figure it out) The Needles Guide and the DomeLand guides are really helpfull and have a ton of off the beaten path spots


Guy, to the right of every person's comments is a little box that says "Quote." Click on it. Can you not see that on your computer?

I understand there is a new Needles guidebook coming out this spring.

Also, there may be double the number of climbing areas now, but is there a guidebook available that describes them? Or is just tribal knowledge that is passed along?


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Feb 19, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

This Supertopo thread had some scans of the Needles Guide:

www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2340294&msg=2>>>


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Feb 20, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

FrankPS wrote:
Guy, to the right of every person's comments is a little box that says "Quote." Click on it. Can you not see that on your computer? I understand there is a new Needles guidebook coming out this spring. Also, there may be double the number of climbing areas now, but is there a guidebook available that describes them? Or is just tribal knowledge that is passed along?



Thanks for the tip....

There is a new Needles book coming out, it is going to really good, but its not going to have the other areas in it. The new spots are known to some via word of mouth, tribal you could say.

I have a ton of notes, maybe I should get off my butt and make a few pages on MP but I am climbing a lot and time is short.

Lots of new spots along the Sherman Pass road east of the crest, the Ridgecrest crew is growing everyday.



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By joedeltron
Feb 20, 2014

There is a guidebook that lives in the Ponderosa Lodge in the area which was open on Thanksgiving this year, it's worth a call to see if they are open now.


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