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The Witch
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Spook Book 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b R

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Kamps & Laeger - July, 1978
Page Views: 6,245
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 18, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (23)
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Josh Janes and Greg Barnes on the crux pitch of Sp...


AKA "Welcome to the Needles."

Yet another beautiful, perfect route -- I think it's the Witch's analog to the Don Juan Wall: shorter, and perhaps easier, but more heart-pounding and intense. The crux pitch is one of the most exceptional corners I've ever climbed -- super technical, sustained, devious, and full of committing moves above fiddly gear.

P1: Begin at a small left-facing left-leaning loose-ish flake system. Place some uninspiring gear (I believe there's a shitty pin as well), then perform some committing moves up and right onto the face. A few desperate moves to a thank-God clip. A fall before this bolt would be at best violent and at worst catastrophic. Wander right, then back left and up to a second bolt (crux, 5.11a, er, 5.10a). Continue up to a crack and belay at a stance.

P2: Enter the long left-facing corner system. Climb this system at desperate, difficult 5.11, er, 5.10. Belay at another obvious stance.

P3: Climb a short 5.8 pitch up an overhanging flake system. Do NOT link this into the next pitch (when things look really hard, stop).

P4: Climb the increasingly hard 5.10 dihedral. RPs and TCUs galore. A combination of jamming, palm smearing, and arete pinching will get you through the sustained 5.11+, er, 5.10+ crux. It is possible to run this pitch all the way to the top, or you can step right and belay for a short 5.8 summit pitch.

Descend north - see the Witch description for more info.


Double cams from TCUs through #1 Camalot. A single #2 Camalot. Wires & RPs. Quickdraws (no slings needed).

Photos of Spook Book Slideshow Add Photo
Chris Brown on P1 of Spook Book, as taken from The...
Chris Brown on P1 of Spook Book, as taken from The...
Spook Book (5.10+) on the Witch takes the obvious ...
Spook Book (5.10+) on the Witch takes the obvious ...
Preparing for pitch 4 (5.10+) of Spook Book.  This...
Preparing for pitch 4 (5.10+) of Spook Book. This...
Ian leads pitch 3 (5.10a) of Spook book.
Ian leads pitch 3 (5.10a) of Spook book.
Stein leads pitch 2 (5.10+) of Spook Book.  He too...
Stein leads pitch 2 (5.10+) of Spook Book. He too...
Diana leads the 4th pitch...
Diana leads the 4th pitch...
Diana leading the second pitch.
Diana leading the second pitch.
Spook Book - Looking down the first pitch.
Spook Book - Looking down the first pitch.

Comments on Spook Book Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 3, 2015
By Crack Addict
From: San Diego, CA
Jun 22, 2006

Pitches 2 and 3 can be linked together with a 60m rope. Have your head on straight for this one and bring plenty of wires and RPs.
By david goldstein
Jun 25, 2006

This climb struck me as fairly graded although getting to the bolt on P1 was harrowing. The book proper reminded me a lot of Devils Tower.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jul 18, 2007

A great route with a very committing move to the bolt on the first pitch. The second bolt was added by another party. The new bolt protects a tricky move to the right. You are also a long way out and will probably get banged up if you blow the last moves getting to the first belay ledge. This was for our party the spook part of the book. It would be really exciting if 10+ was your limit.
By Rob Dillon
Aug 14, 2007

10+ on A3 gear should keep your attention where it belongs. This was pretty close to my limit at the time and it sure had mine. Don't skimp on the brass.
By Kris Solem
From: Monrovia, CA
May 23, 2011

Hi Eric - FYI Bob Kamp's contemporaneous notes from the FA have him placing the first bolt and Herb Laeger the second. On the first day,7-9-78, they ran out of time and traversed to Inner Sanctum to escape from about P3. Came back 7-15-78 and did the whole line.
By ACassebeer
From: Mojave, CA
Sep 9, 2013
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R

P1 - The move to the first bolt is only ~5.9. It is mentally challenging, but not hard. The 5.10a section is after clipping the first bolt. Bolts are modern.

P2 - The definitive crux. Bring RP's or expect to run it out. Recommend linking Pitches 2 & 3.

We brought doubles to #2 Camalot with triples in the finger sizes, offset alloy and brass nuts, regular set of nuts.

This route lives up to its classic status. It is very safe (with the right gear), other than the move to the first bolt on P1. Get on it!
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Sep 28, 2014

I'd agree with the above comment that P2 is the crux. It's also the only pitch that really needs any amount of RPs (and you'll be fine with a single set...) The 'crux' pitch is pretty mellow, well protected enduro climbing with no distinct crux. (Despite what the description here would lead you to believe.)

Also, the fixed pin is gone and a good marker for where to belay after the 5.8 (besides 'when the climbing gets hard') is at the perfect foot ledge at the top of the flakes.
By Josh Janes
Sep 29, 2014

Max, do you not like my Mountain Project descriptions?
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Oct 3, 2014

No Josh, I've actually used them a lot all over and I think that they're great. Sorry if I communicated otherwise. You just happened to have written descriptions for almost all the routes I climbed here and I felt that I had some useful beta/perspective to add...
By Josh Janes
Oct 3, 2014

By Kris Solem
From: Monrovia, CA
Jan 3, 2015

Long pitches work well.

P1: Up to the ledge at the start of the business.

P2: 190 ft. to the ledge on the little tower.

P3: Another long pitch to a belay on a keystone shaped chockstone.

P4: Scramble to the top.
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