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Routes in The Witch

Airy Interlude T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ankles Away T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
Brute Force T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Entity, The T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Gorilla Warfare T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Green Tide T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Igor Unchained T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Innersanctum T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Nautilus, The T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b R
Pegleg T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
Phosphorescent Flow T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Pit & The Pendulum, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Pizzazz T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Pulp Friction T 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b R
Shazam T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Spook Book T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Terrorvision T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Wicked West of the Witch T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Witch Doctor T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
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Description

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. The downclimbing can be avoided via a second rap from some slings under a boulder.

Getting There

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

19 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Witch

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 292
Igor Unchained
Trad 3 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 57
Innersanctum
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 230
Airy Interlude
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
 10
Phosphorescent Flow
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 17
Witch Doctor
Trad 4 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
 5
Pizzazz
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 12
The Pit & The Pendulum
Trad 4 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
 38
Spook Book
Trad 4 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 17
Gorilla Warfare
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
 8
The Entity
Trad 4 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
 3
Green Tide
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
 3
Terrorvision
Trad
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
 27
Ankles Away
Trad 2 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
 11
Pegleg
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Igor Unchained
 292
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Innersanctum
 57
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Airy Interlude
 230
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Phosphorescent Flow
 10
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R Trad
Witch Doctor
 17
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 4 pitches
Pizzazz
 5
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13 Trad
The Pit & The Pendulum
 12
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 4 pitches
Spook Book
 38
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R Trad 4 pitches
Gorilla Warfare
 17
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
The Entity
 8
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R Trad 4 pitches
Green Tide
 3
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad
Terrorvision
 3
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13 Trad
Ankles Away
 27
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Pegleg
 11
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13 Trad
More Classic Climbs in The Witch »

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Weather Averages

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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
Here is a printable topo of the Witch West Face routes from Alexander Cooper & Clint Cummins' Needles Mini Guide Jul 5, 2009
skinny legs and all
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
skinny legs and all   Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
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. Feb 1, 2014
runout  
The free solo may have had happened but the date has got to be off; Michael Reardon died on July 13, 2007. May 27, 2014

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