Thursday, October 27, 2016


Checking out the remains of the burned fire lookout on top of  the Magician.
After climbing the Chouinard-Herbert in the morning, Matt and I headed down to Visalia to meet up with Brad and food shop.  In the excitement of seeing Brad again and heading to a new climbing area we forgot to get directions to the Needles.  Google maps took us to the wrong spot, and by that time we were well out of cell service.  We drove around in the dark looking for signs to help us.  A dirt road appeared and not knowing where it lead, we took it. 4 miles later we were on another paved road and amazingly on the right track.  We made it to the TH parking lot late enough to wake everyone up as we were setting up our tent...sorry.
Matt climbing into the warmth.
There was a cold front coming though the area so we woke up to frost.  After a slow start we made it out of the parking lot and down the trail.  Without thinking Brad and I followed Matt up the stairs to the location of the old fire lookout.  Although it was a great view and cool to checkout, as we walked back down the stairs we wished we would have left all our ropes and gear at the bottom.

Brad resting after 'Thin Ice'.
With the cold temps we decided on 'Thin Ice' since it was in the sun.  Thanks to a 10 year old crusher we found the base and were assured it was a "fun route".  Matt dragged Brad and I up to the top of The Sorcerer and and then we rappelled to the base of The Charlatan.  We climbed 'Spooky' to exit, the top of which is one of the coolest sections of granite climbing I've gotten on.
Following 'Spooky'.
After the obligatory ascent of The Charlatan Spire we walked back to the notch to figure out what was next.  Brad was destroyed and said he was done.  Matt and I settled on 'Airy Interlude' and asked if Brad would help us carry some gear down.  Once at the base we talked him into climbing the first 5.8 pitch with the promise that he could just walk off from the top of the first.  There was no walk off and Brad continued to the top with the help of the occasional cam handhold.  

'Airy Interlude'
 The next morning after some breakfast Brad headed home and Matt and I headed for the VRG.  We made a quick stop to break up the drive and get a couple pitches in and then pushed on home.
Great Times!

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