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The Magician

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Frustration with the Redhead T,TR 
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The Magician  

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Administrators: Matthew Fienup, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 18, 2006

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The Magician Needle (from atop Charlatan)


The Magician is the first and largest formation on the ridge. On it's top is the historic Forest Service fire lookout tower which is still in use today. A system of rickety stairs ascends the west face of the formation to access the tower. On Sundays, Marge, and her black cat Spooky, the usual occupants of the tower during the summer months, will often bake cookies for climbers willing to pay her a visit.

It is home to the longest climb in the Needles, Magic Dragon, which checks in at about 12 pitches and 5.8. This climb, and a few variations, begins at the southern foot of the formation and follows the ridge all the way up to the North, finishing at the lookout tower.

A few shorter, interesting crack climbs ascend the lower west face.

There are also several, not often traveled, slab climbs (and other climbs which link discontinuous features) on the upper east face.

Descent is either back down the route you came up, or by hopping the guardrail of the tower and heading down the stairs. Remember to respect Marge's privacy by not visiting the tower before 9
AM or after 6 PM. If you finish your route after these hours, one can skip the final pitchs that breach the small headwall on top of which sits the tower by skirting around on a large ledge to the northwest. A rap station exists at the far northern end of the ledge, just below the tower itself.

Getting There 

Approach routes on the west face and the long ones that begin at the foot of the formation by heading down a trail that branches right (south) just beyond the low point before ascending up to the foot of the stairs. Follow faded red bows that are tied to the foliage (it's worth it to keep your eyes peeled for these.

Routes on the east face can be approached by heading around the north end of the Magician (as per the standard approach) and then dropping down to the south.

Climbing Season

For the The Needles area.

Weather station 10.8 miles from here

3 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Magician:
Poof   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, 4 pitches   
Magic Dragon   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 10 pitches   
Browse More Classics in The Magician

Featured Route For The Magician
Route topo for "Poof" (4-5 pitches, 5.7+...

Poof 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b CA : Southern Sierra : ... : The Magician
A great introduction to the Needles--the airiness, exposure, and runouts typical to the area at an accessible grade. Don't believe the guidebook--3 pitches will not get you to the top.P1 (5.6): Climb multiple, broken cracks in a shallow, left-facing corner. Belay from a ledge with a fir tree. [Take a few minutes to TR "Frustration with the Redhead" (5.11) directly below the tree.]P2 (5.7+): Follow a short crack and flakes past a single bolt which is 30 feet out. Continue climbing the moderat...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

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By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Aug 7, 2006
The single best descent information for the Magician can be found at ASCA

Also, here is a printable topo of the Magician rappel descent, from Alexander Cooper & Clint Cummins' Needles Mini Guide
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Sep 8, 2015
UPDATE: Following the destruction of the fire lookout, it is now possible to walk down the stairs any time of day, 7 days a week.
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