Classic face and crack climbing with mostly crack pro and the occasional bolt. Route-finding is likely the real crux of this route, as all of the moves are eminently manageable and the final (4th pitch) crux face move is protected by a fat bolt.
The first pitch is shared with The Pit & The Pendulum: the classic 5.9 lieback/stem on the right of the large pedestal at the base of the Witch's lower west face, which also hosts Phosphorescent Flow and Red Snapper on its face, and Gorilla Warfare in the flare on its left side. This pitch is a rope stretcher; belaying at the anchors for Phosphorescent Flow atop the pitch would be an excellent idea, or you can belay on the ledge. (The pitch ends on top of the pedestal.)
The second pitch veers left (whereas the Pit and the Pendulum is reached by heading right, up a 5.4 ramp) and follows a nebulous line of chickenheads and dishes intersected by crack systems which provide sporadic, somewhat uninspiring protection (mostly small cams and nuts, with the odd chickenhead or hole tieoff), face climbing up towards a couple of bolts. I (Tim) went straight up the '10a' line which is marked in the guidebook as 'no pro', although the runout was no more than 30-40 feet to a huge bolt, then a 20' or so left-hand traverse to a two-bolt belay/rap anchor. (Another line which is documented in the guidebook shows a leftward traverse through two bolts to the two-bolt belay -- one old SMC and another, newer Metolius bolt).
The third pitch traverses hard left from the belay, and immediately heads up through an overlap, then another overlap, and finally a corner/overhang. There was a small fixed nut near the start of the third pitch when we climbed the route. It might hold a fall, but the shifty block beneath it sounded (and felt) like it was ready to depart. This pitch is relatively short (50'?) and ends at a ledge with a horizontal. It might be feasible to link this pitch and the next, although a fall above the bolt-protected crux could be lengthened. The (crux) overlap/roof move is protected by a fixed pin, which can be backed up with a cam in an obvious slot above and to the pin's right.
The fourth pitch goes up a ramp to a fat bolt, which protects (what the guidebook describes as) the route's crux -- a blank-ish face move to your choice of knob. Above the crux is a long stretch of 5.8 stemming and reaching, which might protect with green and yellow Aliens. The climbing (and the angle) progressively eases off after about 40-50 feet of excitement and you may belay wherever you like.
Descent is via the rap station for Igor Unchained.
This route begins with the same classic lieback pitch as the Pit & the Pendulum, on the right side of a large (150') pedestal on the lower west face of the Witch. It is down-gully from Igor, Innersanctum, Spook Book, and Gorilla Warfare.
Up to about #4 is handy for the initial 5.9 layback; further up, we did not use anything larger than a #3 Camalot. Small cams (Aliens) and nuts are handy, as are numerous shoulder-length slings for tying off knobs.
|By Jordan Ramey|
From: Calgary, Alberta
Jul 23, 2007
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a R
Pitch 1: To the very top of the pillar is just under 70m if you setup your anchor there. There are of course opportunities lower.
Pitch 3: I went straight left and down a little to a fingertips crack that was completely invisible from the belay. The moves weren't to bad (5.9ish). Straight up to a questionable old fixed pin below the bulge that protects the pitch crux. Eventually step over right onto the face to gain the horizontal crack and small ledge to belay from.
Pitch 4: In addition to what Tim mentioned, many "hail mary" sling options are available during the runout, but are dubious to say the least. The climbing is never to hard after the bolt.
Jul 23, 2007
Jordan/Tim - sounds like three ways to move off that belay, with two finishes.
Option #1 ( 5.10+ ) - Go up the right facing corner from the belay reaching right for the crack that meets the corner at the roof. This is marked as .10d just above the bolt with a .10c move at the roof. The move to up and left from the belay to the roof was much easier than .10d. The roof move is committing, probably 10+, and you need to work at the pro just below. The moves don't let up for a while, but are doable up and around to the left, basically linking with where you'd be if you went directly left.
Option #2 ( 5.10 ) - Head left out of the belay, to the next crack, then airy face moves through the overlap to the thin crack above. Continue up the left side of the overhangs.
Option #3 ( 5.9? ) - Head left from the belay to the next crack ( fixed nut ), then down and left to a thin crack that head back up, basically meeting option #2 higher up.
Witch Doctor: From the left side of the blocky roof, head back right eventually passing a bolt with a 5.10a move. Easy runout climbing from there leads to the top.
Brute Force: From the left side of the blocky roof, continue left through the green roof ( see Brute Force ).
|By 1Eric Rhicard|
Jul 23, 2007
We did the first two pitches of this route. The first pitch was great. It is long and the lay backing was really fun. The second pitch was less dicey than it looked. From the second belay my buddy went left past the thin fixed wire to the thin finger crack where he got gear, then he kept going left and up eventually moving right to the left facing (good pro) corner that leads to the roof. He then climbed left around the roof and belayed about 30 feet up. We then finished on Brute Force. It was fun and a bit of an adventure.
|By Luke Stefurak|
From: Mountain View, CA
Jul 15, 2008
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a
The thin fixed wire at the start of the 3rd pitch was quite loose and I easily removed it on 7/5/08. The pin below the roof move on P3 is still there but should be backed up with gear in a slot above.
You can link P3 and P4 with a 60m rope. A 70m will allow you to belay at the tree.
The 5.8 section on the last pitch above the bolt is safely protected with green and yellow aliens as noted. This section was reminiscent of the granite tufas on Spooky but with less gear.