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The Charlatan
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bad Fortune T 
Charlatan Summit Spire (a.k.a. Our Lady of the Needles) T 
Fancy Free T 
Gemstone T 
Northwest Route T 
Spooky T 
Superstition T 
Valley Guy, The T 
Unsorted Routes:


YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 175'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Smith & Laeger - August, 1976
Page Views: 6,731
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 18, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (64)
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loving it! the .8 splitter on spooky....


Spooky is Marge's cat. It is also a great "end-of-the day climb" - especially after rapping off of the Sorcerer as it begins from the Sorcerer/Charlatan notch.

P1: Climb up a fairly easy slab/face on the SW corner of the Charlatan to an obvious ledge below a right-facing corner with an offwidth in the back. Belay here, or, if you runner your gear well, continue on.

P2: Ascend the OW (crux), and then continue more easily up the face and ribs of rock above. Belay at bolts on the summit.


Light rack. One or two large pieces for the OW.

Photos of Spooky Slideshow Add Photo
The two corners of Spooky.  The route then moves up and left following a crack and then face climbing.  Taken from Yellow Brick Road on the Wizard.
The two corners of Spooky. The route then moves u...
finishing the slab start
finishing the slab start
spooky overview
spooky overview
second pitch
second pitch
Nearing the top.
Nearing the top.
view of first pitch
view of first pitch
This summit shot, taken atop Spooky, shows the approximate location of the bolted anchor.
BETA PHOTO: This summit shot, taken atop Spooky, shows the app...
Sorcerer, Magician and the Charlatan.
Sorcerer, Magician and the Charlatan.
Most of Spooky (5.9)
Most of Spooky (5.9)
overview of spooky slab
overview of spooky slab
Comments on Spooky Add Comment
Show which comments
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Jul 23, 2006

The first pitch that I remember is a sustained 5.8+ lieback/dihedral--and the best climbing on the route.

By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Jul 23, 2006

For those uninitiated to the Needles, a great way to ease into the intense exposure of the area is to top-rope Spooky from the bolted anchor near the top of the formation. See the summit shot above for the approximate location. This requires a 60 meter rope.

Rappelling in from the top is also an expedient way to access the start.

By Jordan Ramey
From: Calgary, Alberta
Jan 16, 2008

By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Aug 21, 2008

You can do the whole climb in one pitch.

It was fun, but seems a bit overrated? A climbing mag write up? There are numerous better routes at the Needles. This is a fun one to top out after doing something on the Sorcerer.

By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Jul 5, 2009

Here is a printable topo of Spooky from Alexander Cooper & Clint Cummins' Needles Mini Guide

By slim
Jul 12, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

i feel kind of dirty only giving this route 3 stars. it would be 5 stars out of 4 at pretty much any crag on the planet, but unfortunately this poor route is surrounded by some of the best cracks your hands will ever caress.

a 4 camalot is pretty sufficient for the OW, although bigger cams could easily be used as well. the top is really, really fun.

By Colonel Mustard
From: Reno, NV
Jul 21, 2012

A #5 C4 will make you feel warm and cozy at the OW crux. I used this with a #4 and felt great and you can too. Very fun climbing.

By Wylie
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 8, 2012

One of the best 5.9's I've done! You get a little of everything on it.

By Patrick Callery
Jul 8, 2014

Very good route, with great variety... I'd have enjoyed it even more if I had brought doubles in red and green camalots for the thin hands first pitch! Though labeled as "easier", I found the face climbing just above the offwidth to be the psychological crux - airy, balancy, thought-provoking.

You can rap to the base of the route from the Charlatan summit with two single-rope raps (60m rope)... a good bolt anchor is found at the base of the offwidth.