By: Tina Bowman
Saturday morning, November 4, we had a group ot ten eager to climb Weaver's Needle, signed-in, ready to go about 6:00 a.m. California time since I never can quite remember what's up with Arizona and the clock. The leaders were Doug Mantle, Tom Bowman, and me; participants were Alex Amies, Ed Herrmann, Bob Hoeven, Sue Holloway, Ann and Dave Perkins, and John Strauch.
We were soon on our way on the trail, taking only one very brief break at the saddle, as we tagged along behind Doug in his relentless pursuit of getting to the base of the climb. Some members of the group had climbed Superstition the day before and Babo before that, and probably other peaks I'm forgetting. Those climbs and the warmth of the day (high 80s predicted) led Ann to wait for us beside some boulders not far from the base of the climb where she could see much of the climb but also be in the shade when she desired.
At the base we donned helmets and harnesses. In the midst of all that, Alex spotted an amazingly huge centipede and took a number of photos of it as it scurried about, trying to hide from us. Doug had climbed the peak the day before---yes, indeed!--and left a rope tied in place for the first pitch. He attached a prusik as a selfbelay as he went up. Tom followed next and then Alex (provisional E leader) and Dave (former Rock Climbing Section member). They all worked to get ropes in place and belayed us at the awkward and exposed spots. My job was to check harnesses and tie-ins. Everyone climbed well with no problems at all. With all the rope work it took a little under three hours to get everyone on the summit at noon where we enjoyed the view, had a bit of lunch, and took pictures. I called out to Ann so that she knew we were on top-she hallooed back.
On the way down Doug belayed us on an exposed spot not far below the summit that was a little bit awkward to descend for one move and then in another spot he had belayed us up. We had a short rappel into the notch to avoid an outward leaning move and then two more rappels to reach the bottom. Just as on the way up, it took us a little under three hours to come down.
We picked up Ann where we had left her and hiked back the faint and sometimes ducked use trail to the Terrapin Trail and then the Bluff Springs Trail to the cars. As the sun set the full moon rose, bright enough that we didn't need headlamps.
Doug said goodbye, and the rest of us went back down the road to the camping area just outside the Tonto National Forest, where we had a fine potluck and campfire. It was a very comfortable evening, and I think we all enjoyed relaxing with a good group. Edna Erspamer, who had traveled with Ed, made her Uzbek stew. Bob's friend Annie added to the good company.
Sunday morning we were up early, most of us on our way home. Alex hiked up Superstition and was rewarded with seeing four bighorn. What a great outing!
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