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Wailing Banshees 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c PG13

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c PG13 [details]
FA: Randy Leavitt & Brett Maurer - '81
Page Views: 4,410
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 9, 2009

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upper corner. so clean brah


Easily as good as any route on the Sorcerer but decidedly less popular. Perhaps because of a bit of spice (but nothing unmanageable) here and there? It should be climbed as often as Don Juan and Atlantis. It is fantastic.

Begin by scrambling to the top of the Fire Wall and then descending underneath the huge chockstone upon which one belays for Scirocco. Continue scrambling down and over a large bush to a belay perch beneath the obvious left-facing corner system.

P1 (5.11a, 60'): I recommend stick clipping the first bolt which is about 15' up. It's some tricky thin moves getting started. The landing wouldn't be too bad, so you could probably boulder it out. Once you have the bolt clipped, climb another 15' of unprotected and cruxy 5.11a face climbing to a horizontal and more gear. Best not to fall off the jugs or you'll deck. From here it's positive climbing to the top of a pillar. Belay here - a short, 60' pitch and possibly the crux of the route.

P2 (5.11a, 150'): Head up off the belay via a fun, varied corner to a huge slung flake. It's possible that this was a commonly used belay, but the pillar stance below is much better and it's easy to skip this (hanging) belay and continue to the next comfy stance. From the flake follow an amazing hand crack in the corner (save those #2 and #3 Camalots) to a stem stance where the crack arches out left. Save a #3 Camalot to place high and commit to a funky move up, right, and back into the corner. This protects well. Easier climbing past a pin leads up to the bolted belay of Sirocco on a perch on the arête.

P3 (5.10b, 100'): Utilize the arête and corner to work your way up off the belay (thin gear) to a good stance below some flakes. Load these up with small cams and bust left to a wild, exposed flake. Thankfully it is positive and more inspiring pro isn't too far away. Follow the flake up and step left around the SE corner of the Sorcerer to belay at some large, grainy flakes.

P4 (5.10- R or 5.7, 100'): Climb up giant knobs to a cruxy and completely unprotected move. Easier climbing leads to a short right-facing corner and good pro which then leads to a huge ledge. Belay at the tree. This pitch is dangerous, but fun. If you're not psyched, you can traverse straight left and enter an easy right-facing groove/chimney. This protects and checks in at 5.7.

Continue up over the top to the typical Sorcerer rappel.

NB: Having done the route once I would do it again in two massive pitches next time... not sure this would be wise your first time up, though.


Begin below Scirocco and climb the corner just left of it.


2x from tiny to fingers.
1x 0.5, 0.75, and #1 Camalots.
2x #2 and #3 Camalots.
Wires, a few larger RP's, a couple slings and draws.

Photos of Wailing Banshees Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on 3rd pitch of Wailing Banshees on 10/08...
Climbers on 3rd pitch of Wailing Banshees on 10/08...
Rock Climbing Photo: Creating the power to send below banshees.
Creating the power to send below banshees.
Rock Climbing Photo: Upper dihedral details
BETA PHOTO: Upper dihedral details
Rock Climbing Photo: Wailing Banshees is the - Dihedral
BETA PHOTO: Wailing Banshees is the - Dihedral
Rock Climbing Photo: Darren leading 1st pitch (10-) of Wailing Banshees...
Darren leading 1st pitch (10-) of Wailing Banshees...

Comments on Wailing Banshees Add Comment
Show which comments
By Levy
From: Reseda, CA
Jun 14, 2009

There is a third pitch of this route not mentioned in the description above. From the bolted anchors where Sirocco's arete pitch joins Wailing Banshees, a left curving, brown edged flake leads out on 5.10 D liebacks before curving back left again. This leads to easy(5.7 or so ) jug-hauling to the top of the Sorcerer. This is a very worthwhile pitch & should not be missed!
By Darren in Vegas
From: Las Vegas, NV
Aug 15, 2009

Levy is right, go left for a third and fourth pitch and you will not be dissapointed. The third pitch is sweet, with challenging but good gear. Pitch four my partner went left to an easy chimney, and because he didn't place gear I was able to top rope up the knobs that Levy mentions. I think that the knobs section was tough and would be hard to protect.
By sam.f
From: Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 29, 2009

I have to second (and third) the above comments. Maybe the route description should be revised...? I think the route is not complete until you have done the 3rd pitch, then after that, you might as well top-out (not even sure retreat is possible, w/out leaving gear anyway). This is a classic route, and bailing after the 2nd pitch is not really "completing" it, imo.
By SirTobyThe3rd
May 26, 2015

The crux on pitch two protects well enough. You can place gear, even though it is a bit fiddly, but it does not fall out and looks ok. I think offset purple/grey metolius is nice to have after the semi-fixed (hopefully still there when you do it) nut.

The real crux is the boulder problem to start the route. Very hard moves to clip the first bolt and than to get up from the bolt to the ramp above it is hard as hrll. Major decking potential if you blow the mantle. Was very happy that I was leading the 2nd pitch and not this one...
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Sep 21, 2015

I adopted and rewrote the description of this route to reflect all of these comments and my recent experience on the route.
By Brian Prince
From: morro bay, ca
Mar 5, 2016

once saw a guy whip repeatedly off the jug rail after the first bolt.. looked really violent but he/she kept going for it so it must not be too bad! this thing is every bit as classic as its neighbors.. and is the only way to sneak in a tr on the scirocco arete if you're into that, oh yeah
By snowhazed
From: Oakland, Ca
Oct 12, 2016

The bolt is less than 10 feet off the ground. The climbing eases less than 8 feet above the bolt. The top of the first pillar is about 40 feet up. Despite the opening moves being quite hard, this is not at all where the spiciness is for this route....

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