The breath-taking Needles are a series of huge granite spines standing on top of a narrow granite ridge sitting high over the Kern River in the Sequoia National Forest of California. If you fancy climbing in this stunning destination then read this brief guide to Needles rock climbing in California.
The climbing here is sensational with a huge slabs or granite offering spectacular long, steep crack climbs. But there is a good range of climbing available, including White Punks on Dope which is reputed to be the best moderate climb in California.
Guide to Needles rock climbing in California
Originally climbed in the 70s, new routes have been opening up here ever since, with names like Igor Unchained, Thin Ice and Spook Book. There’s a big range of climbing to be found here everything from beginner routes, through intermediates however it is most suitable for more experienced climbers – who’ll love it.
The Needles consist of a few peaks. The Magician is the largest of the Needles, and is an inspiring view when hiking in. The Witch and the Sorcerer make up the central area and most of the classic routes of Needles rock climbing in California.
The formation called the Warlock has most of the big routes such as the Romantic Warrior and the Sea of Tranquility. There are also many smaller formations in the Needles such as Necromancer, Wizard, Djin and Charlatan. Plus separate nearby rock formations called Dome Rock, Hermit, and Voodoo Dome offer alternatives.
A big strength of the Needles rock climbing in California is the lack of crowds. This is probably because there has not been a huge amount published about the area. However the hour long hike to the climbing does not help, nor does a lack of facilities – you need to bring wag bags to take human waste back out with you.
The ideal Needles rock climbing condition can be found from May to November, although the summer can get hot. In the winter it is best to check with the ranger station as it can be closed due to snow. There is a campsite in Needles Spring area which is a 3 mile hike, you can also camp within the Needles but need a permit.
If this guide to Needles rock climbing in California has you excited to explore this top climbing destination then check out Sierra Mountain Center, as they can help you explore this amazing area.