Added by Nick Tort
Weavers Needle is one of the most iconic pieces of stone that can be seen from many corners of the Superstitions - now climb it! Loaded with folklore and dangerous tales of gold, this two-piece spire offers the quintessential Sonoran desert adventure.
Lace up your boots, stock up your gear, bid farewell to civilization and head out to the wild. This adventure is not one for the faint of heart. It will scrape, snag, trip and stumble you. It will scare, taunt and tantalize you. You will need to earn this one, and it is more than worth the effort.
On a serious note, the actual climb of Weavers Needle, though not very technical, should only be attempted by climbers who have experience with the proper gear and rappelling. No protection gear is needed, but is recommended - there are loads of spots to place small to medium sized cams. Helmets should be worn by all parties as the entire needle and approach is littered with loose debris and rocks.
Most people conquer the Needle as a one-day adventure, starting and ending from the Peralta Trailhead. This will easily be a 10-12 hour day and is very doable, but this trip can also be broken up into an overnighter by laying down camp at one of the sites at Pinon Camp (about 3.5 miles from the trailhead).
Starting out at Peralta Trailhead, make your way along the Peralta Trail, aka the Super Highway of the Superstitions - this has been said to be the most popular hike in the Superstitions - and rightfully so - it's gorgeous and a decently challenging hike with an epic view of the Needle that most people use as the turnaround point. You will gain just over 1300 feet as you make your way to Fremont Saddle. Here is where you will catch your first glimpse of Weavers Needle as it bursts out of the desert floor, letting the surrounding Superstitions recede from its base.
The trail drops quickly from the saddle as it starts meandering its way towards the base of Weavers. There are small pools of water depending on the time of year that can be used to replenish your water supply, but it must be treated and filtered. Pinon Camp will be on your right around the 3.5 mile marker. There are roughly 5-6 sites that can be seen from the trail and would make for an excellent spot for a night out.
After you pass Pinon, start looking for cairns that will lead you right, towards the base of the needle. There are multiple, I dare-say, "trails" that make their way to the Needle, all of which will be filled with loose footing, hidden cacti and seemingly dead-ends. Look at the very base of the needle for a lone, tall cactus. This can be used as a reference point as to what to aim for as you battle your way up. I would be lying if I didn't say this approach is nasty - you've been warned. This tail system will lead you around the bottom edge of the lower needle and into its heart between the 2 spires.
This marks the start of the climb. Many parties stash some gear here to lighten the load. There are a couple areas that are class 3-4 scrambling which will become more and more vertical as you ascend, eventually leading you to the first pitch. There are only 3 pieces of permanent protection here: 2 iron posts and 1 anchor, but there are many places to place your own gear. The climb gets more vertical and difficult the higher it climbs, maxing out with a couple of 5.6 moves.
At the large chockstone at the top you have 3 options: Around right, around left or straight underneath it. I recommend the crawl underneath, as it's not only the easiest, but also just a very different and cool way to end a long, vertical climb. Crawl out the other side and let the immensity of what you are doing smack you straight in the face as you realize the height you just ascended by the fallout of earth before you.
Immediately following this, you will have a 12-15 foot climb to your left leading to some scrambling. The trail to the top is very easy to follow, as there is not much room to move around otherwise. It is loose, and tricky, but it'll go if you follow it. Keep an eye out for the slings that you will be using for your descent.
I love the way the Summit is achieved. It's a final vertical climb with extreme exposure and enormous bomber jugs. It's an insanely easy climb that can make even the most seasoned climbed pull the Elvis leg due to the sheer exposure of it! But the holds literally could not be any bigger. You may want to setup a top belay for any newer climbers.
From the top of that climb, it's a short 30-foot scramble to the official summit. There are some obligatory ammo cans and registry books packed with past stories and accolades.
There are 2 spots for small tents and a fire ring. Other than that, there is no flat ground to be found up there. You can walk from edge to edge in minutes gasping at the simple awesomeness that is all around you. You can see the entire Superstition Ridgeline (Flatiron to Carney Springs), Four Peaks, Battleship Mountain to name just a few of the sights.
For the descent, you will find chains and rap rings just to the left of the spot you climbed up. It's an 80' rappel and it is downright amazing, offering some of the best photo ops of the trip. There are 2 sets of slings that should be used to rap your way back down to the first pitch where you will find the rappel station above the huge chockstone that you crawled under on the way up. Depending on your rope length, you may have to break this final rappel into 2 or 3 sections, using the metal posts for anchors.
- 200' of rope
- Helmet, Harness, ATC, PAS, may want to bring some small-medium cams
- Climbing shoes will make it a much more comfortable ascent
- Sturdy hiking shoes
- Lots of water & snacks
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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