Cleopatra's Needle, East Face
|2,515 page views|
Good page? (3 likes)
This climb is 3 pitches. The formation just sort of jets out of a flat field;..there are dirt roads directly to the base of the formation. The first pitch (climbs the pedestal) starts on the right side of the East Face and diagonals up and left to a ledge at the base of the actual steep "headwall" section. The first pitch is sort of loose, sort of junky, and about 5.8. Pitch two is where the "business" starts; make a 5.9 move to a ledge, traverse right to the main crack and start aid climbing (A2 on cams and wires) to a bolt ladder (about 5 bolts), then back to the crack (A1) to a sling belay from 3 bolts. The last pitch is wild, in that you are climbing a fin of rock that is probably only 6-10 feet thick to the other side!.....(It's wide enough and you don't even realize just how thin it is until you get to the top and straddle the summit.) The last pitch opens up a bit, to about 2 1/2 Friend size (many)...and ends up at bolts (and pins?) on the tiny summit. Rappel to the top of pitch one, then to the ground.
East of the small town of Sawmill on dirt roads. There are ranches and cattle/sheep in this area;...If you are visiting to view these wonderful spires, close gates, be low key, park away from spires in pullouts on main dirt road, etc. Eric's Desert Rock has a detailed description of how to get to Cleo.
Cams (extra small/medium), wires, ...we used no pitons.
|Photos of Cleopatra's Needle, East Face Slideshow
|Comments on Cleopatra's Needle, East Face
From: Joshua Tree, California
May 5, 2007
This climb is most outrageous and outstanding. It is a remarkable formation, and I doubt that on the whole planet earth there is another such spire. I climbed this spire with Brian Povolny in Nov. of 1982; we were both residents of the Reservation at the time. The last pitch is probably only 6-10 feet thick through the spire, but because it is sort of a wide fin, is has SOME structural integrity. Someday this formation will melt away, and that will be that. It is elegant and beautiful to look at, and the climbing is exciting and fun enough. The route climbs natural lines on good enough rock (It IS sandstone.) I did this climb back in Nov. of 1982, with Brian Povolny. We drove right to the base, racked up on the bumper of the truck, and went about our business. We saw no locals or others that day of our ascent. The ascent went without any problems. My heart skipped a beat when at the top, grabbing a wad of slings, one of the anchor pins (or bolts...can't remember which) pulled out;..that was sort of scary. Sitting on the top, straddling the summit fin, is a trip, and only then do you really realize just what you are on top of.....you really have no idea just how skinny and thin the whole thing is until you reach the top. As you near the top, you can start to see through the crack to the other side, and feel the wind blow through the whole formation, so you kind of have a hint as to the thinness of the spire as you get close to the summit. Cleopatra's Needle is fantastic. Bill Forrest and Kris Walker did a route on the West Face (5.10 A3) in 1971. The area around the spire is sort of half forest and half cattle country;...it's not in the stark barren desert area like Monument Valley. The town of Sawmill nearby ain't called Sawmill for nothing...there are pine trees all about, and it's rather cold here in the winter months.