I have been hiking in the Superstition Mountains for the past few years and I knew Weaver’s Needle on sight. The formation was massive and jetted out of the earth like the final breath of a dying volcano. It was always on my list to reach the top (more of a bucket list due to the rock climbing gear required) and I never thought it would be more than a dream until I got a text from a buddy with an invite. I started rock climbing in a gym a few months back, and this bucket list item was about to become my first outdoor climbing experience! Needless to say I was pretty ecstatic!
Kári, Inga, Craig and I met early in the morning, threw our gear into the back of Craig’s 4Runner, and headed for the Supes! We finally got to Peralta trailhead and started putting feet to trail around 8:30am. Little did we know, the day ahead of us was going to turn out to be a long one! I had Kári’s climbing rope draped over my shoulder as my day bag was already packed to the brim with food, water, and climbing gear. At the sight of the rope quite a number of people descending Peralta trail stopped and chatted; “looks like you guys are going to have some fun!”, “what are you going to repel?”. I was all grins but as Craig explained where we were headed I bit my tongue (didn’t want to jinx it). After short chats, we continued to sweat up the climb. The sun was already going to work on us as we approached Fremont Saddle.
Finally reaching the saddle and we laid eyes on our target: Weaver’s Needle! Every time I looked at it before it was a point of reference or landmark, this time it was a much more ominous beast as I started to wonder what the climb would be like, and how we were going to find our way up what seemed to be an impossible exposed climb. We bombed down Peralta on the north side from saddle headed for the west side of Weavers. As we approached it became more and more apparent we had a large amount of gain to take on just to approach the start of the technical climb.
We found our way to the climber’s cutoff approach rout and crossed the dry creek. After a little bit of bushwhacking I luckily stumbled onto the trail. “Trail”, I yelled to the crew who were in the bushes nearby. Soon we were all back together making the big push towards the base of a notch in the formation. As we hiked up the rock became a little less ominous. The steep, but clearly cairned trail walked right up to the start of the climb. Time for a nice break in the shade! We all plopped down, grabbing out our snacks and munching down.
After the break we got our climbing gear out and began to scramble up the first pitch (lesson learned here, bring your hiking shoes with you when you climb, repelling in climbing shoes is no fun!). We scrambled up the first pitch to the next anchor, it was time to climb! Kári took lead; he has a ton of experience in traditional climbing and knows the technical correct way to do things as he was in Mountain Rescue for many years with Inga. Craig is a seasoned sport climber and walked me through the ins and out of belaying, removing gear, and the general etiquette for climbing.
I watched as Kári and soon Inga and Craig disappeared above the chalk-stone at the top of the climb. I was alone at the bottom of the shoot looking up at my first attempt at outdoor rock climbing. Admittedly a little intimidated I made my first few moves up the climb. My hands were sweaty and I plunged them into my chalk bag. After focusing solely on the holds and where I was going the nervousness went away. Before I knew it I made it to the first piece of trad gear and pulled it from the rock clipping it to the side of my harness. It was cool to see the strategic placement of the gear, but it was strange concept to think I was removing the gear knowing it could be the difference in life and death for anyone lead climbing. Being as I was the last one up and tied into top rope this wasn’t an issue.
Some of the rock on the right felt as though with enough force it would pry from the wall, the left was solid. I climbed up, brushing small pebbles from the holds as I did. I went to put my right foot up on the next foothold, as I did I felt it. There was a rock in my climbing shoe, just under the ball of my foot. This was no bueno! Luckily I was close to a ledge and took a rest to pull my shoe off to empty it. As I did I looked down, yup it would most definitely suck not to be tied in! Some people can freeclimb this pitch, definitely not the case for me! I threw my shoe back on, stood up, found my feet, hands, and soon myself climbing over the chalk-stone! With the crux of the climb out of the way the whole crew scrambled their way to the summit for some incredible views!
We hung out for a half hour or so and soon realized we needed to get going in order to try and get to phoenix at a descent hour! We packed up our gear, and headed back down the climb. All four of us repelled all 4 pitches of the climb which took some time but was really fun (except for catching a few cacti in the leg). Repelling was a blast, especially down the length of the second pitch over the edge of the chalkstone to the bottom of the climb below. Soon when we had out hiking shoes back on and walked off the formation as the sun set. Once we were back on Peralta trail, we broke our headlamps out and trekked the 3.5 miles back to the car in the dark. It tuned into a 12 hour adventure, but I’d rather spend a day outside than any other way! What an awesome incredible unforgettable trek!
- Weather: Hi 70s, Low 60s, Sunny
- Water: 2.5 liters
- Food: 1 Nature valley sweet and salty bar, mixed 1 bag of chips (Salt and Vinegar), 1 Cliff Builders bar, apple, Power Protein Bar
- Time: 12 hours
- Distance: 8.1 miles Round Trip from trailhead
- Accumulated Gain: 3,400 feet
- Climbing Rating: 5.6
- Number of Pitches: 4
- Mule Camelback backpack (3 liter bladder)
- Black Diamond Helmet
- Petzl Corax Climbing Harness
- Black Diamond screw carabiner
- Phantom DMM screw carabiner
- Webbing for personal anchor
- Black Diamond ATC
- Arc’teryx Chalk Bag
- SPOT Tracker
- Cotton T-Shirt (Nom Nom Nom Shirt)
- Arc’teryx Hoody
- Arm coolers
- Cotton Handkerchief
- Nike running shorts
- Darn Tough Medium Wool Sox
- Merrell Mid Moab Hiking Boots
- 5.10 Rouge Climbing Shoes