This is a Celebration of Our Mountains event.
There are all sorts of comments about the Needle hike: like, "hike of a life time, you only do it once," "I'll never go back there again!" etc, etc... The most humorous comment might be the one in the sign-in book on the top that says, "now I am here, how the heck am I suppose to get down!" The uniqueness of that humor is, if a hiker hadn't been there, they don't get that taste.
Yes, it's extremely strenuous a hike. The round trip is 8 miles, with close to 4,000' of elevation gain. It takes about 9 hours to do this hike.
The second half of the trail is especially steep and on loose ground. Every step of it demands full body response and mental focus. It is not only a physical challenge, it's also a spiritual/mental/psychological strain. At the very last stage of the ascending, there's a spot of class 4 climbing that is quite intimidating.