Trad, 400 ft, 5 pitches,
Avg: 2 from 2
FA: H. and E. Laeger, Lonne 10-77
> Southern Sierra
> Needles / Kern…
A decent route marred by a poor beginning. This route is not the classic of some of the other on the wall. However, the adventurous climbing up a section of the wall not often done may appeal to some. You have the same sort of feel as the crux section of Inner Sanctum multiple times. You know what I mean if you've done IS.
Start Brute Force in the same place as Inner Sanctum. The best belay stance for the first pitch is on top of the boulder on the right, instead of at the base.
Pitch 1: Scope the bolt up and right of the Inner Sanctum start. Begin just off the highest point of the boulder with a reach to an edge, than stand up. Large positive holds lead to the clipping stance. These moves, while not hard, would be disastrous if botched. From the bolt, it seems as if you move down and across to the flakes you see visible to the right. A long stretch is required, after which there is a second bolt ( easy to miss if you aren't looking for it ). This is not on the topo, and may or may not be original. The second should be solid for this, as a fall would be a long pendulum. From here ascend flakes on poor rock. Protection is non-existent for a period, as the rock isnt good enough to hold. Quality improves as you gain height, but is never that inspiring. This pitch is never that hard, but should be considered serious. Stop at bolted anchor at the top of flake system.
Pitch 2: Start off the anchor with A0 moves through three bolts. From the last bolt, do a short tension traverse or pendulum over to the next corner system. Ascend the left edge of the system, including a necky move to gain a corner with the next gear. From here continue to flakes with a nice belay stance, although the flakes are hollow sounding. Fixed slings with no rings here as of 7/2007. A 60m rope would take one to the first belay from here. It would seem possible to link 2 & 3 with a 60m, although I cannot confirm that.
Pitch 3: From the belay, you should be able to spy the single bolt almost directly up and slightly right on the face. The guidebook notes two bolts on this pitch, but there is only one. Head up and left a bit from the belay to the top of a flake and then back left. Balance your way up the corner until it makes sense to move right onto the face. An airy move or two gains you the bolt. From there, climb up to a slanting ledge with belay bolts shared with the Witch Doctor.
Pitch 4: The crux pitch, which goes out the green lichen covered roof. Head almost directly left out of the belay for a move or two, then up and left. Although the roof is marked as the crux at 5.10a, I perceived the section going up and over the next overlap as the crux. You basically bust up and left on small edges, unsure of what lies ahead. After this feel your way up and left to the roof, mostly on big holds. Good feet and positive hands ease your way across and through the roof. Belay at good stance just after the roof.
Pitch 5: Head up and right for a short way out of the belay, then back left to a handcrack. Rock quality is again a factor in the beginning, but the climbing is easy. The handcrack is a nice pitch of 5.7 goodness, and a couple of #3 Camelots will ease the way for those not willing to run it out 20 at a time. Continue up, heading for the large tree visible at the top.
As noted the route starts at the same place as Inner Sanctum, about 1/2 down the Witch Notch, just opposite the Fire Wall. To get down, summit to the left, passing two tricky overlaps. Downclimb to the rap on the left shoulder of the formation.
Needles stopper rack ( Full set, doubles from #3 BD to about a #6 ). Set of aliens, Blue to Red. Set of Camelots Purple to Blue. Doubles in the Aliens would be comforting. An extra Yellow and Blue Camelot if not comfortable running out 5.7 handcrack.