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Routes in The Charlatan

Bad Fortune T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Charlatan Summit Spire (a.k.a. Our Lady of the Needles) T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Fancy Free T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Gemstone T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Northwest Route T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Spooky T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Superstition T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Valley Guy, The T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
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Type: Trad, 175 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Herb Laeger?
Page Views: 1,433 total, 10/month
Shared By: Matthew Fienup on Jul 25, 2006
Admins: Matthew Fienup, Muscrat, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Around to the right of the start of Spooky is a thin fingertips crack. Climb this to the large ledge that marks the end of Spooky's P1. This crack takes tiny to small gear (RPs, stoppers, TCUs).

From the obvious ledge, stay right and climb the left-hand side of a steep, clean arete past three bolts--strenuous!

Finish on the upper portion of Spooky. Alternately, if you choose to belay atop and around the corner from the steep arete, you can finish up the final pitch of Fancy Free.


Descend from the Djin/Charlatan notch or rappel from bolts atop Spooky to access the start of this route.

Alternately, after climbing Spooky, it is possible to rappel from the bolted anchor and TR Gemstone with a 60m rope. Directionals will need to be clipped on the bolted arete and you may wish to place a piece or two.


Tiny to 2", 3 quickdraws, slings for knobs


Its hard to really know just how thin this crack is until you're up there on it. For my sausage fingers, I was happy to get TIPS in a few spots through the technical crux. Leading up to the bolted arete, I placed the following pro:

#3, 4, 5, 6 HB brass offsets
#4, 5, 6 BD Stoppers
00 Mastercam
2 X 0 Mastercam
2 x 1 Mastercam
2 x 2 Mastercam

TINY! The finger sized gear can't be placed until you're done using the holds, either. Try and save some juice for the bolted finale (power crux). It's burly, and if you got pumped trying to fiddle in dicey pro down low, you'll really have to give it your all. This is a GREAT climb, and I've never seen anyone on it. Jun 11, 2012
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
Here is a printable topo of Gemstone from Alexander Cooper & Clint Cummins' Needles Mini Guide Jul 5, 2009
Greg S.  
I remember seeing Herb Laeger a few years ago and he mentioned that he established this route as an alternative to the offwidth on Spooky. Jul 20, 2007