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The Warlock
Routes Sorted
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Dragon's Back T 
Flying Warlocks T 
Ghostbumps T 
Howling, The T,S 
Imaginary Voyage T 
Planet Waves T 
Romantic Warrior T 
Sarcophagus, The T 
Sea of Tranquility T 
South Face T 
Spell, The T 
Titanic, The T 
Unknown T,S 

The Howling 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a PG13

Type:  Trad, Sport, 2 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Laeger, Laeger, & Jaffe - June, 1981
Page Views: 3,968
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 18, 2006

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The Howling.


The Howling is a great two-pitch climb up the NW shoulder of the Warlock and is probably the easiest passage to the summit.

P1: Begin by climbing one of two or three crack systems on the NW corner of the Warlock - right off the trail. These cracks generally go at 5.9-5.10... Choose the most aesthetic one. Belay at a cool ledge-like perch that gives good views to the south, but it may be better to move the belay around to the left and closer to the start of the second pitch.

P2: Climb up a leaning flake and sling the top for pro before committing to a move up onto the face/arete. Continue up the exposed arete via positive edges and gradually easier climbing, past an intermediate anchor and on to the summit -- a fantastic pitch protected by bolts.

Rap Down to the North (two ropes required).


Single set plus draws.

Photos of The Howling Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Vickie finishing up the Howling!
Vickie finishing up the Howling!
Rock Climbing Photo: Me on the first pitch of the howling.
Me on the first pitch of the howling.
Rock Climbing Photo: Josh Janes on the second pitch of The Howling, Nee...
Josh Janes on the second pitch of The Howling, Nee...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Schneiter climbing the classic hand crack on ...
Mike Schneiter climbing the classic hand crack on ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading the slab of the second pitch.
Leading the slab of the second pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Resting on the first pitch.
Resting on the first pitch.

Comments on The Howling Add Comment
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By Jordan Ramey
From: Calgary, Alberta
Jul 23, 2007
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

Pitch 2: 3 bolts and a knob to sling. The move off the leaning block to the first bolt is exciting. There is a chain rap anchor on this leaning block.

This route can be rapped with a single 70m rope. From the top anchors you can just barely reach the mid anchors. Be very carefull about this as the rope ends must be exactly matched and you have a chance of rapping off them if not carefull. Even knots in the end will make the rope to short!
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Aug 21, 2008

Nice route. Named the Howling because of the noise from the wind ripping through that slot at the block belay? Be sure to peek through there at the Terrorvision when you're there, looks rad and scary!

The guide says clipping the first bolt is scary... I have to disagree. While a fall would be bad, it's secure moves on big holds with good feet. Nothing to be afraid of.
By ttriche
From: Altadena, CA
Aug 22, 2008

The comment about the 70m rope for rapping the Howling is important -- it basically means you can climb anything that tops out on the Warlock with one 70m cord. When the sciroccos blow, it is no fun to have a lightweight tag line getting caught on flakes and knobs off-route. This is especially true on longer, less-done routes like Beckey's South Face, S Crack, Imaginary Voyage, etc. Just pay attention as you get to the first, bolted station and then hem towards the 'alcove' at the base of the 5.8 crap chimney variation to P1 and you should be OK.

re: 'While a fall would be bad...'

That's why the move is scary. Easy, but exposed, windy, and scary. The route itself is easy for the grade (compared to others nearby) and as such the whole package makes a good introduction to the 'feel' of many face climbs at the Needles, particularly for first-time visitors.

Plus the position on the summit of the Warlock is fantastic.
By Josh Janes
Aug 22, 2008

I'm pretty sure the "view" from the midway belay is of Titanic, not Terrorvision.
By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Feb 12, 2009

My partner and I got off the top of the Warlock (after climbing the Howling) with one 60m cord. Rap to a ledge with a big detached flake (chains) left of the Howling then to an intermediate chain anchor in the middle of the undulating dark face below you, then to the ground. The "scary" move onto the face on the Howling ain't that scary. You can even girth hitch a spike of rock pressed against the face for a little extra pro.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Jun 1, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

The "step-up" move is well protected and not scary at all. Higher on the face, a 10a move a little above a bolt might give some leaders pause, but the face is quite well protected in my opinion.

p1 - Fun cruiser big hands to a belay on a ledge.
P2 - Did a short pitch to the stance (with chains) under P2 to avoid any rope drag
P3 - Fun face climbing to the top.
By slim
Jul 12, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

very fun route. we did the 5.9 right variation start, which our info recommended a big piece (totally not necessary). the first pitch was straight forward and not sustained, pretty easy for the grade.

as usual, andy laakman's assessment of the 2nd pitch is pretty accurate. you can protect the 'scary' move with slight trickery. at the 2nd bolt, i was a bit cautious as you can just barely see the 3rd bolt on the skyline. luckily the climbing eases up quickly and there are opportunities for protection, with a bit of thought.

great summit. fun route.
By Fat Dad
From: Los Angeles, CA
Aug 24, 2015
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

Terrific route to a terrific summit. This route really encapsulates the exposed, out there feeling of climbing at the Needles. Two comments.

First, the descriptions that mention a short second pitch to reach the rap anchors pertain only if you climb the right of the two cracks. We climbed the left, which leads directly to the rap anchors. Second, contrary to what some have written here, I found the moves getting to the first bolt way more heady than climbing the crux past the bolts themselves. Harder, no; more exposed and balancy, yes.
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Sep 10, 2015

The description says to take the best of the 2-3 options. There are 2 cracks in a chimney/corner area that are not that attractive and also not that great of climbing down low. Definitely take the nice wider looking crack the splits the face to the right of them. It looks wide but is actually lots of good hands and we did it with a single rack to #4 C4. In fact would say to bring only doubles from .75 - 3 with one 4 and 6-8 long draws and your good.

Agree that while spooky looking from below good holds appear on that 2nd pitch to make getting to that first bolt not bad at all.

Summit is also a great place to howwwwwl.

By Josh Janes
Sep 12, 2015

The righthand crack is what I took before first writing this route up on MP. As Karsten says, it is the best climbing. A few days ago I repeated the route via the left hand option (two systems - a crack and chimney - which kinda merge together). While not of the same quality, it is far easier, faster, and more direct (ending conveniently at the bolted belay beneath the money pitch).

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