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Routes in The Witch

Airy Interlude T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ankles Away T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13
Brute Force T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Entity, The T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Gorilla Warfare T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Green Tide T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Igor Unchained T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Innersanctum T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Nautilus, The T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b R
Pegleg T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
Phosphorescent Flow T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Pit & The Pendulum, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Pizzazz T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Pulp Friction T 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b R
Shazam T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Spook Book T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Terrorvision T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Wicked West of the Witch T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Witch Doctor T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Type: Trad, 450 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Vaino Kodas, Herb Laeger: May 1986
Page Views: 1,889 total, 21/month
Shared By: john durr on Jul 28, 2010
Admins: Matthew Fienup, Muscrat, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route


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Description

This forgotten Kodas/Laeger classic parallels its better known Kamps/Laeger neighbor Spook Book in quality and commitment to minimal fixed gear. Plenty of route finding challenges.

Just downhill from the left facing dihedral right of Shazam is a thin seam that starts about 40 feet up (see photo).

Climb up an easy corner, pass a small roof where the crack blanks out up to another small roof on the left, then up to a rusty old 1/4" bolt below the seam. A bit dicey before the bolt - 5.10a/b-R. Follow the seam with spaced but good gear ~5.9 where it disappears in a small roof. There is a great small stopper and useless old bolt here before moving up left to a thin left facing dihedral and back right to the roof and good gear. Traverse right until you can pull the roofs above into a left facing dihedral. Follow this thin corner to a great belay ledge around the corner to the left. Gear belay thin - 1" about 160' or belay the just below the roof option if you have rope drag.

The second pitch follows the thin left facing corner above as it curves left and becomes a splitter seam. When the rock goes from rough to smooth, ignore the off route bolt up and right, and traverse 5 feet left to another finger crack. Follow this to another nice ledge. Gear belay thin - 1" about 120' - sustained 5.10 with two great 5.10c/d cruxes.

Several options are possible on the third pitch, one option follows the left facing corner directly above until a seam breaks out right. Work out right (crux) until another right facing corner is reached. Climb up, then slightly left to another left facing corner past a small bush. Follow this to a fat lieback and small belay ledge. Gear belay 1"-2", 5.10c, ~120'

The fourth pitch follows the easy right slanting ramp up and over to the end of Spook Book. 5.8 ~90'.

Protection

Gear: Thin to 3". Small stoppers and small cams (TCU's) and maybe a set of tiny brass. A few long slings help at the end of pitch 1 roofs for rope drag. The two old bolts on pitch one are antiques, but not that important.

Descend: Follow the low 5th class walk off north to the summit and down to the standard Witch descent - one single rope rap and low 5th class scrambling north.

Photos

ACassebeer
Mojave, CA
  5.10d R
ACassebeer   Mojave, CA
  5.10d R
P1 - The first bolt is an antique (1/4" rusty button head). You should be a solid 5.10 leader if leading this pitch. The 5.10d crux appears 150' in, but is pretty short.

I thought P1 & P2 were pretty classic. We got off route on P3 and the climbing was pretty forgettable. The pictures above have great beta. Not quite as nice of a line as Spook Book, but definitely worth doing. The bolt on P1 needs replacing. Sep 9, 2013
Kristian Solem
Monrovia, CA
 
Kristian Solem   Monrovia, CA
 
Herb Laeger's notes from the FA specifically describe climbing the corner into the crack and heading up and left as shown in John's second beta photo (on the FA this was P3.) He makes no mention of the bolt. Perhaps it was placed later by someone trying a variation or not aware of the route?

That is a pretty long first pitch going all the way up through the roofs, left facing corner (crux) to the ledge. The FA belayed in the crack just below the first roofs. The big ledge was the top of P2. This is what I have done too. I think the 10d corner would not be so much fun with nearly 200 ft of cord hanging down.

I really like this route and have done it 3 times. You never see anyone doing it. Some extra fun can be had by climbing straight up into the Shazan finish to top out. Dec 17, 2010
Murf  
So you did have the inside scoop! I know many people have had questions on that line, so this is pretty key info you have here, thanks. Aug 30, 2010
john durr
Joshua Tree, CA
 
john durr   Joshua Tree, CA
 
Murf, about the second pitch...

~ Vernon told me that bolt was off route and I checked with Vaino.

In any case, it is beautiful and excellent climbing and deserves more traffic. The second pitch is much less stressful than the first. Part of the beauty of the route is that it remains open to personal interpretation. Aug 7, 2010
Murf  
Looking at that face I always imagined The Entity taking more of a pure line up. I think the guidebook (not that I trust it overly) also shows a pretty plumb line. Did you talk to Laeger or Kodas about the "off route bolt" or the round-about line you took? If not, why do you think your line matches the original? Jul 29, 2010
john durr
Joshua Tree, CA
 
john durr   Joshua Tree, CA
 
Greg Vernon's guide book comment refers to going straight up the seam to the off route bolt on the second pitch. Instead, face climb left to another crack when you get to this seam, don't climb straight up. So you don't need LoweBalls and/or a knifeblade piton. Jul 28, 2010
caughtinside
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
guidebook says there is a tough to protect crux right off the first belay and that "lowballes, RPs and a knifeblade may help." Were you able to protect this with micronuts? Jul 28, 2010