Type: Trad, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Bender, Warender (1974)
Page Views: 4,686 total · 31/month
Shared By: Matthew Fienup on Jul 25, 2006
Admins: Matthew Fienup, Muscrat, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin ., Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Pitch 1 (5.7)
Stem and jam an obvious deep crack system in a corner/gully. An offwidth section past a small roof is the crux. Belay from bolts on a sloping ledge beneath a striking dihedral with offwidth. (Alternately, climb a hand crack on the prow out to the left of the traditional start. This 5.8/5.9 crack leads to the same belay as the traditional start.)

Pitch 2 (5.6)
Stem the striking dihedral above the belay. The crack takes 3.5-4.5" (?). Easier crack climbing leads to a belay beneath a roof.

Pitch 3 (5.7/5.8)
Bypass the roof on the right (crux of route) and belay from a sloping ledge.

Pitch 4 (5.5)
Climb up then traverse left on slab to a dish and gear. Climb the water groove above to belay from bolts. The traverse and the runout up the groove is the pshychological crux for many.

Pitch 5 (5.4)
Continue up slab to a large belay ledge.

Pitch 6 (5.5)
Climb a headwall via chickenheads.


The route starts in one of the left-most of many corners/chimneys that break up the south east side of the dome. The approach from Needlerock Creek takes 45-90 minutes depending on your experience with the trail.


Small to 3.5 or 4"


Brad Young
Brad Young  
This is a revised route description (based on the text above). Pitch lengths are approximate, but close:

Pitch 1 (160 feet, 5.8)
Climb an obvious crack system in a corner/gully. Switch cracks to the left twice (the pitch cruxes). Belay from bolts on a sloping ledge beneath a striking dihedral.

Pitch 2 (160 feet, 5.7)
Jam and then stem the striking dihedral above the belay. The first part of the crack takes 3.5 - 4" gear. Above the wide section, easier crack climbing leads to a belay beneath a roof (this belay may now include bolts).

Pitch 3 (100 feet, 5.8)
Bypass the roof on the right (pitch crux). Continue up easier cracks. Belay from gear at a tiny sloping ledge.

Pitch 4 (150 feet, 5.6)
Climb 10 more feet up the crack (it ends). Traverse left on slab to a dish-like, low angle section and gear. Continue left on very easy slab to a very thin water groove. This leads to a belay from three bolts. The runout up the groove is the psychological crux of the route for many.

Pitch 5 (190 feet, 5.5)
Continue up the slab past two bolts. At a headwall move up and left along a crack and then up to a large belay ledge (take a few cams, 2" to 4", plus more large cams for the belay).

Pitch 6 (70 feet, 5.4)
Climb a well featured crack/groove to two bolts.

Pitch 7 (160 feet, 5.4)
Continue up to a slightly steeper slab section. Above that a long section of class four slab leads to a two bolt anchor on top.

Note that the topo in the Needles guidebook (for those lucky enough to have a copy) is a very rough approximation. The photo in that book shows the route location perfectly.

The long runouts are on slab that is much easier than the route cruxes, so I wouldn't give the route an "R" or a "PG." May 11, 2009
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
Excellent clarification, Brad. Many thanks. May 15, 2009
Bishop, CA
  5.8 R
outdooreric   Bishop, CA
  5.8 R
Just did this route, the above description describes the route perfectly. This is a committing climb which I think would be challenging for a 5.7 climber to tackle. The first two belays are equipped with rappel bolts, but unless you have two ropes, you would have to leave gear to retreat. The first pitch flare really got my attention; it doesn't protect well and seemed like 5.8. A set of micro stoppers is recommended as well as two 4 inch cams for the 5.6 fist/ow second pitch.

There are some serious runouts on the upper pitches, the climb deserves an R rating.

All bolts have been upgraded to modern 3/8" with the exception of P4 anchor (1 good, 2 bad) and the two lead bolts on pitch 5 which are still old 1/4". Jun 20, 2010
Boy, it seems this climb has sprouted a lot of extra bolts now. Jun 20, 2010
Mary Moser
Joshua Tree, CA
Mary Moser   Joshua Tree, CA
I climbed this route back in 2004 over Memorial Day weekend. I had an extra day in the area before my partner arrived, so I scoped out the trail and the start of the climb the day before. This really saved us some time in locating the climb. However, I sure wish I had Brad's description of the actual route that day. Although the day started out very hot in the upper 80s, we encountered an incoming storm at pitch 6. We did use our wind/rain jackets as the temperatures dropped into the 60s. By the time I started to lead pitch 7, I was hauling butt up the rock. I was thankful that I found the anchors because at first glance all that slab seemed a bit daunting. In the end, the storm swirled around us and we didn't get rained on, so we were very lucky. Aug 17, 2011
Matt N
Santa Barbara, CA
Matt N   Santa Barbara, CA
P1 if ended at the bolts is only ~100'. P1-3 can be combined into 2 easily w/ a 60m.

Face moves passing the roof are not bad at all and you can place gear before and during that section. Runouts are all on 5.4 terrain, except maybe one move just before P6 belay, with a cam below you a bit. Oct 22, 2012
Guy Keesee
Moorpark, CA
Guy Keesee   Moorpark, CA
I wish to thank whoever added that 3/8 bolt to the belay at the end of P4. The other two BRONZE colored 1/4 didn't give me good feelings.

I agree with the PG and not a R .... unless you do what I did and not bring anything over 3 inches. That made Pitch 2 really serious for me.

Good route. Feb 25, 2013
Colin Yinzer
Los Angeles
  5.8- PG13
Colin Yinzer   Los Angeles
  5.8- PG13
A fun, aesthetic, and long route. did the alternate start, which looked more obvious. 5.8/5.9- & physical. PG-13 runout on P1 slabbing your way to the anchor if you do the alt start. doubles of #3, and at least one #4 is a good bet for this route. We also had 2 large hexes. (3-4 size) which were helpful. bumping/conserving the big gear is advisable. the slab pitches were quite windy. 60M rope was more than enough. 70 would be unhelpful unless linking pitches.

first 3 pitches are awesome, great movement, perfect rock. Pitches 4-7 are more wandering, windy, slabby- and a bit run-out. featured but PG-13 for sure. Hard to see where the few bolts are. generally move up-and-left. an inviting line right up the bulk of Voodoo Dome. would be gnarly for a budding 5.7-5.8 leader. Nov 20, 2018