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The Charlatan
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bad Fortune T 
Charlatan Summit Spire (a.k.a. Our Lady of the Needles) T 
Fancy Free T 
Gemstone T 
Northwest Route T 
Spooky T 
Superstition T 
Valley Guy, The T 
Unsorted Routes:


YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 175'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Smith & Laeger - August, 1976
Page Views: 8,627
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 18, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (85)
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Mark from Montreal finishing Spooky.


Spooky is Marge's cat. It is also a great "end-of-the day climb" - especially after rapping off of the Sorcerer as it begins from the Sorcerer/Charlatan notch.

P1: Climb up a fairly easy slab/face on the SW corner of the Charlatan to an obvious ledge below a right-facing corner with an offwidth in the back. Belay here, or, if you runner your gear well, continue on.

P2: Ascend the OW (crux), and then continue more easily up the face and ribs of rock above. Belay at bolts on the summit.


Light rack. One or two large pieces for the OW.

Photos of Spooky Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: loving it!  the .8 splitter on spooky....
loving it! the .8 splitter on spooky....
Rock Climbing Photo: finishing the slab start
finishing the slab start
Rock Climbing Photo: The two corners of Spooky.  The route then moves u...
The two corners of Spooky. The route then moves u...
Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing up on Spooky
Finishing up on Spooky
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the top.
Nearing the top.
Rock Climbing Photo: overview of spooky slab
overview of spooky slab
Rock Climbing Photo: Kyle approaches Spooky from the top of Charlatan.
Kyle approaches Spooky from the top of Charlatan.
Rock Climbing Photo: Most of Spooky (5.9)
Most of Spooky (5.9)
Rock Climbing Photo: second pitch
second pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: This summit shot, taken atop Spooky, shows the app...
BETA PHOTO: This summit shot, taken atop Spooky, shows the app...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sorcerer, Magician and the Charlatan.
Sorcerer, Magician and the Charlatan.
Rock Climbing Photo: view of first pitch
view of first pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Spooky P1
Spooky P1
Rock Climbing Photo: spooky overview
spooky overview
Rock Climbing Photo: Spooky

Comments on Spooky Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 8, 2015
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Jul 23, 2006

The first pitch that I remember is a sustained 5.8+ lieback/dihedral--and the best climbing on the route.
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Jul 23, 2006

For those uninitiated to the Needles, a great way to ease into the intense exposure of the area is to top-rope Spooky from the bolted anchor near the top of the formation. See the summit shot above for the approximate location. This requires a 60 meter rope.

Rappelling in from the top is also an expedient way to access the start.
By Jordan Ramey
From: Calgary, Alberta
Jan 16, 2008
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Aug 21, 2008

You can do the whole climb in one pitch.

It was fun, but seems a bit overrated? A climbing mag write up? There are numerous better routes at the Needles. This is a fun one to top out after doing something on the Sorcerer.
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Jul 5, 2009

Here is a printable topo of Spooky from Alexander Cooper & Clint Cummins' Needles Mini Guide
By slim
Jul 12, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

i feel kind of dirty only giving this route 3 stars. it would be 5 stars out of 4 at pretty much any crag on the planet, but unfortunately this poor route is surrounded by some of the best cracks your hands will ever caress.

a 4 camalot is pretty sufficient for the OW, although bigger cams could easily be used as well. the top is really, really fun.
By Colonel Mustard
Jul 21, 2012

A #5 C4 will make you feel warm and cozy at the OW crux. I used this with a #4 and felt great and you can too. Very fun climbing.
By Wylie
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 8, 2012

One of the best 5.9's I've done! You get a little of everything on it.
By Patrick Callery
Jul 8, 2014

Very good route, with great variety... I'd have enjoyed it even more if I had brought doubles in red and green camalots for the thin hands first pitch! Though labeled as "easier", I found the face climbing just above the offwidth to be the psychological crux - airy, balancy, thought-provoking.

You can rap to the base of the route from the Charlatan summit with two single-rope raps (60m rope)... a good bolt anchor is found at the base of the offwidth.
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Sep 26, 2014

#3 and #4 C4s easily protect the OW with some bumping. The climbing above is some of the most fun you'll have anywhere. Sadly, you have to climb the OW to get there...
By joehopfield
Jul 15, 2015
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

The class-5 scrambling approach can be avoided by scrambling to top of charlatan from north, then rapping twice w 60m (chains to chains) to start in notch, or even top-rope (it's a vertical enough line).
We found it harder than Igor Unchained.
By Evan Riley
From: San Francisco, CA
Sep 8, 2015

Brilliant climbing. It links with a 70m. 2x #3s will see you through the OW no problemo, just bury them deep and extend. 1x #3 will do it if you bump it.

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