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Weaver's Needle Summit
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mini location map2017-03-03
7 by photographer avatarDennisWilliams
photographer avatar
 
Weaver's Needle SummitPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Mar 03 2017
DennisWilliams
Hike & Climb8.10 Miles 3,414 AEG
Hike & Climb8.10 Miles   12 Hrs   24 Mns   0.78 mph
3,414 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Well now. That was a peach!

Prior to last summer I had never worn a climbing harness. My buddy Jack took me for three practice climbs in the last few weeks to get ready for this one. We did some climbs at Papago Park and also the North McDowells. Gardeners Wall and the Girlie-Man Wall. Hey, I didn't name it. West-side Phil rounded out our climbing trio.

Funny how Weaver's seems so much bigger when approaching with the intent to climb. The trip stats of 8.1 miles and 3400' AEG don't do it justice for sheer exertion. Make no mistake, this is a long, hard day. As so many other trip reports have written, the 45 degree scree slope approach to the base of the Needle and then the return down the slope afterwards are the least fun part of it. Humping up and down all the gear and such. We found the cairned use trail north of Fremont Saddle and that did make it easier so I won't disparage Cairn Builder Man this time. The climbing was pretty much as advertised. Solid foot and hand holds everywhere, though there were times it was tough finding spots to place protection. Jack ran out a 30+ foot lead before taking the chock-stone on the left. I was happy I didn't have to do that without protection. Above the chock-stone we used rope only for the rappel on the way down from the very top. We could have down-climbed this part but we had the rope and the free hanging rappel off the summit was cool.

Some climb the whole thing without rope, even the western route. I guess I can see how that's done but it would take some nerve. I won't do it, at least not from the west. If the east side is easier I might harbor the possibility as a stretch goal. A really big stretch that is. Truthfully, you never have to look for more than 5 seconds to find an excellent hand or foot hold that will comfortably support your weight and you don't have to plan quick moves ahead. Even for the down-climbs you can take your time and look for the next hold with confidence and move only when you are ready. Exposure is in the mind and there isn't any if you don't look down (says the tyro with next to zero climbing experience). The only problem ( ! ) is that if for some goofy reason you did fall, there are many stretches where the consequences would be the most extreme imaginable.

It was a real thrill to finally get up there. Have been looking at it for 50 years. Profoundly humbled, I see it now with new eyes. No silly notion of conquest involved. As with all such adventures Weaver's simply deigned to let me get away with it. Aeons after the last human being has lamented the passing of our species it will still be there, a mighty obelisk erected by nature in celebration of it's own majesty and human-kind's insignificance.
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