Type: Trad, Sport, 2 pitches
FA: Laeger, Laeger, & Jaffe - June, 1981
Page Views: 6,296 total · 41/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Jun 18, 2006
Admins: Matthew Fienup, Muscrat, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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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. The left one is the most direct and original line, the middle one is the most aesthetic, and the righthand one (a chimney) is super easy but requires a traverse left to reach the belay. 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 (the anchor for Titanic) and on to the summit - a fantastic pitch protected by bolts.

Rap Down to the North (a single 70 will just barely reach).


Single set plus draws.
Jordan Ramey
Calgary, Alberta
  5.10a PG13
Jordan Ramey   Calgary, Alberta
  5.10a 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! Jul 23, 2007
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
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. Aug 21, 2008
Grand Rapids, MI
ttriche   Grand Rapids, MI
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. Aug 22, 2008
Josh Janes

Josh Janes    
I'm pretty sure the "view" from the midway belay is of Titanic, not Terrorvision. Aug 22, 2008
PumpkinEater   Sacramento
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. Feb 12, 2009
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
  5.10a PG13
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
  5.10a 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. Jun 1, 2009

  5.9 PG13
  5.9 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. Jul 12, 2011
Fat Dad
Los Angeles, CA
  5.10a PG13
Fat Dad   Los Angeles, CA
  5.10a 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. Aug 24, 2015
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
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.

Sep 10, 2015
Josh Janes

Josh Janes    
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). Sep 12, 2015
Kristian Solem
Monrovia, CA
Kristian Solem   Monrovia, CA
Mike Jaffe and Herb Laeger had already climbed the right variation, the 5.8 crack which ends on the nice ledge. They went no higher. So, when Herb came back to do The Howling to the top they used the left crack to do something new. Pretty much everyone, Laeger included, prefers the right hand crack and short traverse due to the much better quality climbing. May 14, 2016
The name "The Howling" came from a horror movie with the same name. Not a bad flick, check it out sometime. Aug 21, 2016
G Frisby
Orange, CA
G Frisby   Orange, CA
flame me, call me a candy-assed sissy all you want, but the initial moves after slinging the flake on the third pitch are super scary. the moves involve a pull on good hands, but no feet, with pro at your feet above a potential 10'+ fall onto either a blade of rock, a flat slab, or your partner. after many false starts, I decided the risks were not worth it. again, flame on, but I plan to return next season with a stick clip, so that I can enjoy what looks to be a fun third pitch. FWIW, the first pitch, plus the necessary set up pitch are really fun. Sep 23, 2016
Yes yes, classic route and classic summit. Solem's new guide shows three pitches. Link the first two if you want by climbing the right crack variation of pitch one, then clipping a bolt on the pitch one belay ledge with a double length sling. The bolt is located at your feet as you are standing on the ledge and my partner and I didn't see it until we were both on the ledge. May 31, 2018