Last time we were up there Jess's Mapmyhike had elevation gain at 3881' [masked] min/max), 11.8 miles. It took us a bit over 10 hours to do it.
The year is coming to an end. This could well be the last time we are heading up to the Needle in 2012.
The descriptions of the last few trips were pretty accurate. Extremely difficult, poses a challenge that is physical/spiritual/mental/psychological.