Avg: 3.5 from 31 votes
|Type:||Trad, 800 ft, 8 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||Fred Beckey, Dan McHale, Mike Heath, April 1970|
|Page Views:||9,506 total · 65/month|
|Shared By:||ttriche on Aug 22, 2008|
|Admins:||Matthew Fienup, Muscrat, M Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes|
While the climbing is not technically difficult, the route has the notable distinction of being the first recorded technical ascent of the Warlock (but see comment by Kris Solem for more details). It retains more of a 'backcountry' feel when compared to more popular routes like Igor, Airy, or Thin Ice; you are unlikely to run into crowds on this or neighboring routes. The flip side of this is that you may get lost or need to do some gardening low on the route.
Your reward for the bushwhacking adventure at the base is a fine route with excellent position and moderate climbing, which ascends the tallest spire in the Needles by an oft-ignored aspect, and affords much gawking at seemingly unclimbable sheer faces on golden granite, zebra-striped with water streaks, painted with bright yellow and crimson lichen. Beckey did not ignore aesthetics in choosing his first ascent here; this side of the Warlock is visually quite dramatic, and even now these routes are seldom climbed.
The route faces south (duh) and gets plenty of sun, so it is best to climb this in the cooler months before the road opens (April-May) or towards the end of the Needles season (September-October). I'd suggest bringing a 70m cord, since that's the shortest single rope that will reach for the rappels off the summit.
Approach as for the Howling, Ghostbumps, etc. but keep descending around the base of the Warlock. The top of Voodoo Dome will come into view and then you will keep descending a rather unpleasant talus gully to arrive near the base of S Crack, Shadows in the Rain, and finally the original south face route.
If you have a copy of the guidebook, try to make sure that you don't go all the way around to the Styx (overhanging pillar thing that leans against the Warlock near its lowest point) or, worse, all the way around to the other side of the Pedestal. Good luck!