Skip to Content


RSS FeedClick on "Routes" to subscribe to a RSS feed of all new routes added to this category. Click on "Ascents" for a RSS feed of all new ascents recorded in this category. Routes | Ascents

About Needles:

The intimidating spires of The Needles draw climbers from all over the world to savor classics like Igor Unchained (5.9), Thin Ice (5.10), and Romantic Warrior (IV 5.12b). These routes have 'pucker factor'. If given a choice between The Needles and The Valley I'll hands down take The Needles. Beautiful green lichened rock in a more solitary environment. No tourists here! The rock is solid granite offering everything from hard crack to hard face.

One important caveat -- the Needles is not a good area for beginning leaders; you should be self-sufficient and comfortable leading sparsely protected 5.9 on gear, at a bare minimum. Extensive racks with doubles of everything are required for many climbs. As E.C. Joe, one of the early developers of Needles, puts it, "do not venture out to climb at the Needles unless you are prepared to take care of business."

Nearest town or city: Ponderosa

Take Rt. 99 to the Rt. 190 east exit for Porterville. Continue past Springville (food! cheap gas!) for about an hour. If you get to the Ponderosa you've gone about 1 mile too far. If you get to Johnsondale you've gone WAY too far.

Routes on Voodoo Dome and Demon Dome are normally approached from the road near Lower Needlerock Creek, aka. Peppermint Springs. The approach is about 45 minutes to 1 hour of steeply uphill hiking on somewhat indistinct trails; this is not recommended as an introduction to the Needles unless traveling with someone who is familiar with the area.

Routes in the main Needles (Magician, Djinn, Charlatan, Wizard, Sorcerors Apprentice, Witch, Warlock, and Necromancer formations) are accessible from the hiker's trailhead, which is at the end of the dirt road marked 'Needles Spring Road' about a mile west of the Ponderosa. For routes on any of these formations besides the Magician, the trail is followed up to the steps leading to the lookout tower, at which point a trail dips down from the Old West style horse-hitching rack which will be on your left as you face the steps to the lookout. This trail leads to the Witch-Sorceror notch, where you will likely find other climbers.

No water is available in the Needles. Bring sufficient quantities for each member of your party to consume up to 6 liters daily. A faucet is available at the Ponderosa for filling up; bring your own suitable container.

Unrestricted camping is available approximately 100 yards uphill from the end of Needles Spring Road (FS21S05), but permits (available from Margie at the lookout tower) are required for fires. Do not build campfires under any circumstances when fire danger is posted as "Extreme".

Latitude, Longitude: 38.10000, -118.48500
Access Issues:
Camping: Free
When to Climb: Spring
Quantity of Climbs: Lifetime

Topo Images

No route specified

Most Recent Photos (See all 84 photos)

No route specified No route specified Scirocco
Lost at Sea

Forum Discussions (See all 24 posts )

  Subject Author Replies Last Post
With Replies Southern Sierra Needles Guide book for sale chanceboarder 5 Jul 06 2012, 9:54 PM
With Replies Needles access clmbmtns 2 Apr 08 2010, 10:07 PM
With Replies Needles Cell Phone Coverage? jhitch 5 Sep 16 2010, 11:51 PM
With Replies needles access jcrew 1 May 30 2008, 4:00 AM
With Replies Needles, CA in Oct? tylerm 2 Aug 06 2007, 3:55 PM
No Replies Needles Access? jer99 0 May 24 2007, 4:54 PM
With Replies Late season beta on Needles, CA??? climberzrule 1 Oct 13 2006, 1:44 AM
With Replies Break in and theft at the Needles sunnysloper 1 Jul 04 2006, 10:48 AM
No Replies SSCA Needles event! t_votaw 0 Jun 16 2006, 4:04 PM
With Replies needles access jcrew 4 Jun 18 2006, 8:28 PM
With Replies Reardon solos Romantic Warrior onsight! socalbolter 73 Dec 04 2006, 5:14 AM
With Replies Needles route beta soulsurfer 14 Aug 12 2005, 3:38 AM
With Replies Needles weather and snowpack? paulc 18 Jun 23 2005, 5:35 PM
With Replies Needles (CA) climbing mid June? aierez 2 Apr 18 2005, 6:34 PM
With Replies Needles, CA area New Years? adamd 4 Dec 04 2004, 9:37 PM