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 ADVANCED
The Wizard
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Southeast Arete T,S 
Yellow Brick Road T 

Yellow Brick Road 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Smith, Clark, E. Laeger, 6/76
Page Views: 2,810
Submitted By: ttriche on Oct 17, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (8)
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First pitch of Yellow Brick Rd. The climber in ye...

Description 

Face traverse (somewhat exciting) into a handcrack splitting the obvious streak of yellow lichen. You will come across the remains of a salad oil bottle as the handcrack widens into an offwidth (lieback this, lest you need a similar bottle), terminating onto a huge ledge. (Rap anchors for a Brian Jonas sport route are at the left end of this ledge if you need them for some reason -- you do not want to be on top of the Wizard in a storm, for example.) The next pitch is the business -- thin dihedral to an exciting overlap. Rap off of some nasty slings (can also do a short rap to massive chains which may reach the deck), then 4th-class out of the notch to top out on the Sorceror and rap from there; or, with two ropes, you can rap the Demon and end up below the Sorceror's Apprentice. Classic route at the grade; I've climbed this route with several different partners of varying abilities, and all were amazed at its relative obscurity. Even among the many fine routes at the Needles, this is a gem.


Location 

West face of the Wizard. The route starts at a large bush which is reached by descending a gully from between the Charlatan and Djinn formations; the start of this gully is reached by chimneying through a notch with a somewhat beaten footpath to it. If you screw up and go too far west, you can rap in from any number of points and rejoin the gully. A line of bolts going up and left from the bush is the aforementioned Jonas route, rumored also to be fine climbing. The "Yellow Brick Road" is a huge yellow streak of lichen visible from the lookout, split by the crack system which you ascend.


Protection 

Cams to 4" (#4 or #5 C4 size is useful in the 30' offwidth section); nuts small to medium are crucial for the dihedral. Aliens are helpful for protecting the initial face traverse and the smallest may come in handy when protecting the pie-slice dihedral, especially if you run low on small to medium size nuts.



Photos of Yellow Brick Road Slideshow Add Photo
Rob Beno following the beautiful P2 tips dihedral
Rob Beno following the beautiful P2 tips dihedral
Rob Beno nearing the top of the crux corner on P2.
Rob Beno nearing the top of the crux corner on P2.
Comments on Yellow Brick Road Add Comment
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By Murf
Oct 19, 2006

I vaguely remember bringing a #4 Camalot and not using it, the climbing seemed easier than I expected ( any face holds around the crack ). I do remember feeling like the second pitch was very continuous.

By J Smith
Jul 9, 2010

I found a #4 and #5 useful. A short rap from the summit leads to a chain anchor. With a single 70m rope you can just barely rap into the gully where you started. Be careful when pulling the rope, there is a rope-grabbing constriction.

By Richard Shore
Oct 17, 2011
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Unless you are confident running out 30+ feet of 5.9 fists and OW, do yourself a favor and bring a #4 and 5 cam. Plan on walking them a ways up too. There are face holds, but it doesn't really bring the grade down.

The second pitch dihedral is classic! Sustained stemming with a tips crack. I placed a #1 tcu, 2 x #0, a #00, and my three smallest nuts in the corner.

By Paisley Close
From: Mojave, CA
Aug 26, 2013
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

The traverse into the crack was definitely exciting. A #5 was necessary for the wide section, and you can definitely lieback and/or climb plenty of face features without needing any offwitdth technique.

p3 (or p2 if you link 1 & 2, which you can easily do with a 70) sucked up three small nuts, and we used doubles from #00-#1, 1 #1 and a small offset nut was useful too. Roof move felt burly to me!

The tatty slings on top leave much to be desired for rappel. There's a 'biner (held shut with climbing tape) connecting a quicklink and a rap ring to the slings. It looks like if you pulled up on the slings hard enough they'd just pop off the horn, but once weighted they seem to be ok.

There is a second rap/sling station in the gully between the Wizard and the Sorcerer. We added a new sling to the lot and a second 'biner so you can have opposed gates. From there you can easily make it to the ground with a 70.

By mpech
5 days ago

A little bit more beta for this great climb:

We approached by rapping down Spooky (1x 60M rope needed), then doing another 30M rap off of a tree. As previously mentioned, the route starts in some bushes-- look for a bolted line above you to make sure you are in the right place. You should also be able to see the OW.

Pitch1 features a 5.9 traverse that would lead to a ground-fall if you messed up. Don't mess up. The rest of the pitch follows a wide crack. Need a #4 and #5 cam to protect. It does not really climb like a true offwidth, because of all the face features. The salad oil bottle (apparently used to free a climber's stuck knee) is still deep in the crack.

Pitch2 follows a thin seam in a corner-- super fun! Most useful gear is small to medium nuts.

We did a 30M rap off the top to get to the col between the Wizard and the Sorcerer. It's more like low 5th class climbing to get to the top of the sorcerer.