Weavers Needle, Superstition Mountains
By: Bill T. Russell
On Friday, November 25, at 0730 24 people signed in at the Peralta road head for the climb of Weaver's Needle. Peralta road, which has a sign, leaves Hwy 80 about 8. 5 miles southeast of the Route 88 junction in the community of Apache Junction. The road is as shown on the topo. There is ample parking at the road head and there are numerous places to sleep along the road or at the end. Weaver's Needle is in a wilderness area, but I was told by the local USFS that a wilderness permit is not required.
We hiked up the Dutchman' s Trail to just beyond Bluff Saddle and then went cross country to the base of the gully leading to the obvious notch between the two spires of the Needle. There is about 40 ft of easy class 4 at this point, which is followed by short pitches of class 3 on the way to the notch itself. From the notch, the route goes north up the higher spire over several short class 3-4 pitches. We enjoyed the view from the top but did not tarry because of the long time required for 24 people to rappel down. Upon descent several people rapelled at spots that were climbed without a rope. The rapelling did take time, but we were all down the peak and back to the trail by dark. The hike out, aided by the full moon, went fine and we were at the road head by 7:00 p. m.
There are many loose rocks on this route and hard hats are highly recommended. One of our group got thumped on the back by a rock dislodged by another party, and we had several close misses.
On Saturday we met at 0730 at the junction of King' s Ranch Road (it has a sign) with Hwy 80. This road junction is about 7 miles from Apache Junction and about 1-1/2 miles northwest of Peralta Road. At about 3 miles from the highway we reached a crossroad and turned right (east). After about 0. 5 mile we made a 900 turn to the left and reached the road end after another 0. 3 mile. The road end is near a house, and a chain or gate is across the road which becomes a driveway. The trail starts on the other side of a barbed wire fence that parallels the road. There is a narrow passageway through the fence that passes people but blocks cattle. We hiked up the broad trail to Hieroglyphic Spring where many people took pictures of the Indian hieroglyphics. From the spring we climbed the side hill to a spot just right of the obvious balanced rock on the skyline ridge. Here there is a 30-ft class 2-3 pitch to the plateau area at about 3500 ft. From here the route goes eastward up the ridges to the summit. There are a few short class 2 to 3 pitches between segments of class 1-2 walking. The view from the top was great. The weather was fine and Phoenix and the valley were all clearly visible. Our descent was uneventful and we were back at the cars by mid-afternoon to end a very nice outing to two distant peaks.
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