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The Witch

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Airy Interlude T 
Ankles Away T 
Brute Force T 
Entity, The T 
Gorilla Warfare T 
Green Tide T 
Igor Unchained T 
Innersanctum T 
Pegleg T 
Phosphorescent Flow T 
Pit & The Pendulum, The T 
Pizzazz T 
Pulp Friction T 
Shazam  T 
Spook Book T 
Terrorvision T 
Wicked West of the Witch T 
Witch Doctor T 

The Witch  

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Location: 36.10721, -118.48021 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 125,784
Administrators: Matthew Fienup, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 18, 2006
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The Witch is the major formation just past the Sorcerer. The amphitheater formed by these two rocks holds the highest concentration of Needles' classics. Most climbs are on the west face -- this can be approached by a small access point near the top of the formation.

Descent involves a single rope rap from anchors to the north and a bit of easy downclimbing.

Getting There 

Hike the trail past the Sorcerer. Decend through a notch to the South very near the West face of the Witch.

Climbing Season

Weather station 10.1 miles from here

18 Total Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Witch:
Innersanctum   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 500'   
Igor Unchained   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   
Phosphorescent Flow   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R     Trad, 1 pitch   
Witch Doctor   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   
Airy Interlude   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches   
The Pit & The Pendulum   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   
Spook Book   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R     Trad, 4 pitches   
Gorilla Warfare   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   
The Entity   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R     Trad, 4 pitches, 450'   
Green Tide   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R     Trad, 1 pitch, 150'   
Ankles Away   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 230'   
Terrorvision   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch   
Pegleg   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   
Browse More Classics in The Witch

Featured Route For The Witch
climber high on Igor

Igor Unchained 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a  CA : Southern Sierra : ... : The Witch
A classic introduction to the Needles. 5.9++.Descend into the main amphitheater and locate the first obvious crack system that splits the entire Witch ground to summit. This system is immediately right (and well below) the obvious traverse crack of Airy Interlude.P1: Climb a really long, sustained hand crack through bulges to a belay stance. 5.9+P2: Climb a really long, sustained hand crack through bulges to a sloping ledge system. 5.9+P3: Take off from the right end of the big, sloping l...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of The Witch Slideshow Add Photo
Hiking to the summit
Hiking to the summit
Storm rolling in on the Witch
Storm rolling in on the Witch
The Witch
The Witch
West face of the Witch
West face of the Witch
Left climbers are on Igor Unchained finishing the ...
BETA PHOTO: Left climbers are on Igor Unchained finishing the ...
The litter, first-aid, and water cache at the base...
BETA PHOTO: The litter, first-aid, and water cache at the base...
Witch - Upper East Face
BETA PHOTO: Witch - Upper East Face
Evening light on the Witch
Evening light on the Witch
Witch - Lower East Face
BETA PHOTO: Witch - Lower East Face

Comments on The Witch Add Comment
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By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Jul 5, 2009
Here is a printable topo of the Witch West Face routes from Alexander Cooper & Clint Cummins' Needles Mini Guide
By skinny legs and all
From: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Feb 1, 2014
On October 7, 2007, Michael Reardon made the world's most difficult onsight free solo first ascent by climbing a line on The Witch. With no roped pre-inspection, he climbed an 800 foot line that he named Shikata Ga Nai (Japanese for "there is no other way"). The climb consisted of 120 feet of 5.10 to a seven move V6 on a bald arete, followed by 100 feet of perfect 5.10. Then 30 feet of 5.11+ pure arete laybacking to opposition moves. The first 300 feet of the climb are on a sharp arete and had never been set foot on by a climber. The next 500 feet are 5.11a and was likely climbed before. There were no bolts or anchors on the first 300 feet, and from the magazine article in Climbing, perhaps none on the final 500 feet. There was also no opportunities for natural protection.

Even considering that Reardon had free soloed 1,000 routes in Joshua Tree up to 5.13a in a 30 day period, along with onsight soloing Romantic Warrior (5.12b) at the Needles, this climb is pure insanity. On virgin terrain, with no knowledge of how difficult the moves may be or how solid the holds are, I consider this ascent to be one of the most impressive of all time. Photographer Mike Niles shot Reardon climbing the upper part of the arete on a later date and confirmed Reardon's feat.
By Old Sag
May 27, 2014
The free solo may have had happened but the date has got to be off; Michael Reardon died on July 13, 2007.
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