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The Warlock
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Imaginary Voyage T 
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Sea of Tranquility T 
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Titanic, The T 
Unknown T,S 

Imaginary Voyage 

YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: E.C. Joe and Dick Leversee, August 1977
Page Views: 8,795
Submitted By: Michael Schneiter on Feb 22, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (34)
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A friend and I on the first pitch


There's probably a number of ways to break these pitches up and it appeared some possible variations on some of the pitches. Climb a great crack on the first pitch. Where this crack ends there is a bolted protected the face moves above. With a 60 meter rope you can take it all the way to a ledge where you can belay at the base of a left-facing dihedral. Climb the dihedral and belay at a ledge or continue up another crack before belaying at a ledge left of the crack at the base of a chimney. We thought the next pitch was great. Climb up the steep chimney which you can stay out of by climbing the well-featured face and continue up and right until you come to the large chimney below the summit block of the Warlock. Face climb past some bolts to the summit of the Warlock. If you've been to the Needles you know moderates are in short supply and Imaginary Voyage is a good, moderate route that gets great afternoon sun when it gets hot.


Located on the east or southeast face of the Warlock. Go around the north side of the Witch and past the Howling. Descend the gully between the Warlock and Voodoo Dome. It's been a while, but I remember looking for a crack on the face left o f a large dihedral. There is a bolted face route just right of Imaginary Voyage. There's a descent topo on Clint Cumming's Needles site.


Standard rack.

Photos of Imaginary Voyage Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Schneiter climbing the fourth pitch of Imagin...
Mike Schneiter climbing the fourth pitch of Imagin...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down at the sweeping granite wall from the...
Looking down at the sweeping granite wall from the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit of the Warlock with Voodoo Dome in the back...
Summit of the Warlock with Voodoo Dome in the back...
Rock Climbing Photo: Joy Schneiter on the first pitch of Imaginary Voya...
Joy Schneiter on the first pitch of Imaginary Voya...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan follows p2
Ryan follows p2
Rock Climbing Photo: Joy Schneiter on Imaginary Voyage. Top of the thir...
Joy Schneiter on Imaginary Voyage. Top of the thir...
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the notch before the summit pitch
View from the notch before the summit pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Diana follows the second pitch dihedral - seemed a...
Diana follows the second pitch dihedral - seemed a...
Rock Climbing Photo: P2 and beyond
BETA PHOTO: P2 and beyond

Comments on Imaginary Voyage Add Comment
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By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Jul 14, 2010

We had a topo that recommended doing this in 3 pitches. Kind of a bad idea. Ended up doing it in 5 (recommend doing it in 4 or 5). While you can stretch a rope and do it in 3, the ledgy, blocky, and rambling nature of the upper pitches make it unpleasant due to drag. Use the std p1, then break them up where convenient but count on belaying the last pitch at the base of the 6" crack if you don't want bad drag for the 5.9ish face climbing to the summit.

The "5.9" low angle ramp with a bolt right off the 1st belay, is maybe 5.7. Final wide crack is short, maybe 15'. Beware at the end, the topo shows a 2 bolt face finish, but there are actually two bolted face finishes leading out of the chimney/trough, one with at least three visible bolts starting midway back in the trough (wrong finish) or one with two bolts starting closer to the outside/face (correct finish).

There are two options leading to the base of the final wide crack, a grassy handcrack (fantastic but needs more traffic to stay clean), or a very featured face with no pro. Both are about the same difficulty (5.8ish) and both offer high quality climbing...but the face is clean and interesting with big take the face.

First pitch is really long, and "chimney" pitch turns out to require no chimneying but has really cool moves to make the pitch much easier than it initially looks. Climbing itself is great, but deduct one star for rambling/blocky nature.
By Tim McCabe
Dec 26, 2010

Add one star if it's one of the climbs you are capable of leading in the Needles. A great moderate less sustained climb.

I spent several years raft guiding in Kernville and made several trips each season to the Needles mostly taking other raft guides so I got to/had to lead every pitch. Got spanked on Igor once, mostly stuck to White Punks, Magic Dragon and this one.
By FrankPS
From: Atascadero, CA
May 19, 2012

The first pitch, after the initial dihedral, is a long and sustained wide crack. Stoutness!

Descent info: From the bolts at the summit, rap (less than 100'- not sure how far) to the big ledge where there are two bolts (20-30 feet right of the final wide crack)and a manky fixed rope. Next, rap approximately 110' - 115' to a two-bolt anchor which is somewhat climber's right from the last anchor at the ledge. You go over a couple of edges/ledges before you can see it. We only had a 60 meter rope, so my friend had to downclimb the last 10 feet, after attaching a cordelette from his harness to the anchor for security.

The final rap to the ground is just under a 100', provided you land climber's left on the sloping ground. Trend left so you don't rap off the end of your 60 meter rope.

Edit: there are probably other ways to descend = this is how we did it.
By roman d
From: Pasadena, CA
Jun 4, 2012
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Manky fixed rope is now gone. Also, one of the bolts the fixed rope was hanging from broke with less than body weight.

More here:
By Fat Dad
From: Los Angeles, CA
Aug 13, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This may be a little quibbling, but I think there are a couple of short sections that felt like pretty standard 5.9: the exit moves at the top of the 4th and transitioning from the wide crack to the chimney on the 5th. Also, on the 4th pitch, we climbed straight up from the grassy crack to reach the thin crack/flake that parallels the chimney to the left. Where the crack starts petering out it's easy to step left and down on jugs into the left crack above the chimney portion. You'll have to be careful to rig your pro so the rope isn't running over the edge, but the climbing was fun and exposed.

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