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Brunch on the Summit of the Needle (Advanced)


I have canceled this hike, a window of opportunity never opened. 3AM and weather is not clearing up.  Even if this electrical storm passes in the next hour the area about and on the Needle will be to wet to climb without exposing us to unnecessary risk.  Another time we'll do it.


We may have a window of opportunity on Saturday to have a clear shot to the summit of the Needle.  We might not but we're close to home if we have to retreat.

North face of the Needle from the ridge running up to North Peak

THIS IS NOT A BEGINNERS HIKE: Prior approval is needed. If you would like to go place yourself on the waiting list.  The limit is 4.  Please read the the description in its entirety before signing up.

• Physical Level: Advanced

• Technical Level: Advanced

• Distance: 5-6 miles

• Time: 7-8 hours

• NOTE1: Mikee and I found a class 4 scramble route up to the summit of the Needle in November 2008. A few weeks ago I verified the route with Z and Steve.

• Prerequisites: Competent and comfortable scrambling at the 4th class level in areas with serious exposure.

• Caveat: Once we are on the Needle you must agree to follow my instructions unless you deem them unsafe. Generally they will be technical instructions on how we organize the climb and our movements. You could call them rules for safety.


• Assemble at the Smiths located at Central and Tramway.

• Carpool to the Crest House

• Hike to Saddle of the Needle at a moderate pace

• Take the ledge running along the north face of the Needle toward the area known as 5th Avenue

• Pass though a large couloir to the start of the Breakfast Route

• Scramble up the Needle, have brunch and return

• At any point, for and reason that anyone wants to turn back, we will, no explanation needed.


There is no doubt that climbing to the top of Needle is an accomplishment. It is one of the most dramatic formations in the Sandia Mountains. The first time I saw it I wanted to get to the top. The problem was that at the time all known routes were technical and I had no training in rock climbing. Mikee and I decided to look for a scramble route. Took us about 6 months find the starting point, but we did. I think it took us 3 hours to find our way to the top and half an hour to get down. We were a little worried we wouldn't find our way back.

Bring hydration, food, rain gear and a smaller pack. There is always a chance of rain. If we got caught in the rain on the top there will be no climbing down until the rock is dry. Advanced scrambling with exposure is potentially dangerous. It requires focus and a serious mind. It is a lot of fun if done right.


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  • Keith Schuyler D.

    I've been wanting to do this one too, but with the chance of rain, I think that I'll also wait for the next one... But please schedule the next one for a Sunday! :-)

    September 13, 2013

  • Xuyuan P.

    waiting for next one if there is gonna be a next one

    1 · September 12, 2013

    • Aaron G.

      I had the date wrong Xuyuan, if you want to go just add yourself to the waiting list.

      1 · September 12, 2013

    • Xuyuan P.

      thnx, but i haven't recovered from my back injury yet. hopefully in a month, i can join u guys:-(

      September 12, 2013

  • Wendy B

    Do take photos and post them!

    1 · September 12, 2013

2 went

  • Aaron G.
    Trail King, Assistant Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Vidya

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