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Weaver's Needle Summit
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mini location map2013-02-23
51 by photographer avatarGrottoGirl
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Weaver's Needle SummitPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Feb 23 2013
GrottoGirl
Hike & Climb11.78 Miles 5,409 AEG
Hike & Climb11.78 Miles1 Day   10 Hrs   6 Mns   
5,409 ft AEG
 
We backpacked in on the Peralta trail to Pinon Camp. Along the way we got a lot of remarks due to carrying climbing equipment. If you ever want to feel like a rock star, it's definitely one way to do it...

The amount of water in the desert was awesome due to the recent storms. We even still found patches of snow. It was quite refreshing to see!

We got to camp and then headed out to figure out the route for the next day. We found the cut off trail which ascends quickly but goes to a saddle instead of the chute where you begin the climb. We also found the "choose your own set of cairn adventures" that lead up to the chute.

We had a pretty good "happy hour" filled with wine, brandy, amarula, and bourbon. We even managed a fire considering everything was wet and picked over. We burned dead agave :)

The weather forecast earlier in the week had showed 10% chance of precip which had been removed from the forecast as we got closer to the weekend. However, that didn't stop the 5 AM rain from falling. Joel darted out of the tent to pull in our harnesses and what not that we had hung in our "hanging tree".

In the morning, we got going pretty good start and soon was climbing. We had two ropes along to try to speed up the process but there were 7 of us. It also didn't help that while we waited we started to freeze. It was very cold in the shade! Not to mention the wind that was pouring down the drainage. A couple of points we even saw a few snow flurries!!!!

The descriptions all mentioned easy climbing but when you are wearing boots and gloves it's all relative! So if you want a super easy climb bring climbing shoes and come when you can stand keeping your fingers out of gloves :)

When I crawled through the hole under the chock stone, Joel turned over belaying to me. I sat and watched snow flurries/rain clouds in other parts of the Supes hoping they would hold out. I also knew that our turn around time was approaching so I was trying to hurry people through the hole and up onto the next rope.

We got up the next pitch and did some scrambling further along. Finally we came to our turn around time. This is always the hardest part about peak bagging. Do you keep going and risk the safety of the group or do you play it safe and turn around. Our leader, John, called it and we turned around. None of us questioned him - we all saw the time and the snow flurries.

We headed back and did the longest rappel of our lives. 60 meters! John tied our two ropes together so we could rappel the whole way down. There are a couple of bolts and some rappel rings on-site (it might be a good idea for someone to replace the rappel rings - hint!). He went first to get the rope straightened out. It kind of freaked us all out as there is a bit of an overhang and John mentioned it. John normally doesn't mention things unless there is a concern. Once I got going, I found that the overhang wasn't too bad since I went further over to my rappel right. I keep my feet higher than my pumpkin and all was good :) No smashing of my face into the rock. I did find that the rope drag was creating a lot of friction and I had a hard time getting any momentum.

While we waited on everyone else to finish the big rappel, John found a beer! We checked the born on date and then he had a well deserved treat. Then the trouble started. We tried to pull the ropes and they won't budge. John had to go back up to see what the issue was. He basically free climbed using the ropes as a hand line, if needed, up what we had done as a three pitch climb in just a few minutes. He managed to get the ropes to move so he started to rappel back down. Mid way, he stopped and got off the ropes to verify that they would still move. Luckily after some pulling it was confirmed that it would move so he went down. It was a bit stressful, especially since some people wanted to be able to rappel down what we had scrambled up.

Finally we were off the mountain and scrambling back to camp. Some of us made it back to camp before dark but a few came in after dark. Then we packed up and hit the trail.

I found the hike out really pleasant. The trail is really easy to follow with full moon light. A headlamp isn't needed. In fact I bet it's easier to see the trail without a headlamp!

We regrouped at Fremont saddle then headed to the TH. At the TH we waited for the rest of our group. It was about an hour later when we decided we need to go check on our last two hikers. We found that they had gotten lost but was easily found so we were on our way.

On the way home, Joel and I stopped at the McDs in Florence. Thankfully they are open late on a Sunday! I scarfed processed chicken nuggets like it was going out of style! I'm still wondering how many calories I burned shivering!

On top of everything, there is nothing like getting home at 1 AM and having to fly the next day...

In summary, it was a little sad not getting to the peak, but it was a great effort which was appreciated by all. It's even more of an achievement when you consider our group: one leader with 7 people. Two of which are in their 70s. I do know that the next time I climb Weaver's needle it will be a smaller, faster moving group to ensure success :)
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