/ Needles, california
Hi, Does any one have any info on climbing and camping in the Needles. We are going in June/July.
Camping is traditionally at the car park at the end of the access road. It’s free and convenient and is just over an hour’s walk from the crags.
The new definitive guidebook by Kris Solem came out last year (or maybe 2017?)
Thanks for your reply. Do you know where we may be able to buy the guidebook from , in the Needles area?
If you want a ‘proper’ campsite there is Quaking Aspens, and I am guessing the Ponderosa general store will have the guidebook,
They had copies in the REI I stopped at on the way back to LA last autumn. I imagine most REIs in the LA or SF area will stock it.
Its a great place. We did an ace 5.9 called Spooky.
When I went there was no water at the camping, so we brought a Jerry can which lasted 4 of us a good while.
Also the dirt road is pretty badly eroded and we need a high clearance vehicle/ 4X4 to get up there.
Pretty sure it would be for sale at the Ponderosa. You could check that by asking Kris Solem on this thread: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/103045/Needles-guidebook or by emailing him - he gives his email address just a few posts from the end of the thread (the Supertopo member to member email doesn't work, so don't bother trying that).
If the road defeats your car as Tom suggests it could, you can always climb on the lower formations like Voodoo, by approaching from Lloyd Meadows road (from the south). All my visits the normal road access has been fine but I believe since the demise of the Needles fire lookout, they just don't bother with maintenance any more.
My advice is buy the guidebook before you go, (you don't want to be messing around if finding a place has sold out) plus it helps planning. Also have a plan B in case of forest fire (eg Tahquitz). We used some free camping up near Dome Rock to avoid problems with the dirt track... only adds a mile to the walk-in; 4x4 hire is expensive.
Needles are an amazing place to climb.
I went there in 2014 in the autumn. We made it in with a ford focus style car and it was fine but i guess the track could have deteriorated since then. Awesome place and climbing. There is no water at the campsite so bring a lot in with you. Interestingly the only place we stayed at in California with no bear boxes despite some other climbers seeing bears on the walk in and we saw one on the main road when we came to leave.
> We used some free camping up near Dome Rock to avoid problems with the dirt track... only adds a mile to the walk-in
Out of interest can you explain where. I'm struggling to see how it only adds a mile to the walk in.
You camp at Dome Rock and drive to the access track. You walk the access track.
Its great. You can access it from below (a tarmac road) and some routes are better approved that way. That road has formal pay campsites and possibly water.
From above its a dirt track. I recall it being car friendly but it was two years ago and I had a jeep so I would not trust my memory. The camping at the top is a free Forrest service site with fire rings etc so totally legitimate. I'd aim to try to camp here as its best all round. There is no water. Try walmart or harbour freight for really cheap water jerry cans.
I think we also snuck into the quaking aspen campsite for water. That campsite was expensive!
We bivied down by the rocks one night which was ace. Igor Unchained was amazing. I want to return to climb Think Ice as it looks fantastic.
Also for the full cultural experience camp one Saturday night on the Kern River to see the great and the good of Bakersfeild at play!
> You camp at Dome Rock and drive to the access track. You walk the access track.
OK but the access track is 3 miles. Do you mean you drive some of it then walk the rest?
Sorry for being flippant. I remembered the track being shorter.
I think you could almost certainly get some of the way. I think with care you would get all the way.
The campsite is about a mile away from the road parking and the track continues beyond it.
You're talking now about Dome Rock? So you would drive from there to the Needles road and drive up as far as your car would allow then walk from there, as Brown says? Sorry, I'm not trying to be thick!
Yes... we camped near Dome Rock, drove to the Needles parking and walked in past the Needles camping. There had been a fire and the watchtower on The Magician burnt down so we were unsure if we could access The Needles so camped near where we knew we could climb. In the end access was OK.
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