Ascent of Needle Peak on 2013-07-01

Climber: Brian Friedrich

Others in Party:Laura Friedrich
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, July 1, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Needle Peak
    Location:Canada-British Columbia
    Elevation:6857 ft / 2090 m

Ascent Trip Report

A Canada Day traverse of Markhor and Needle Peaks. From the salt sheds we bushwacked through steep, (mostly) open forest to gain the upper NNW side of Markhor. There are a significant number of class 2-3 slabs or boulder sections in this area - great fun. We interspersed these with low-to-moderate angled snow slopes to gain the summit of Markhor. Although some route descriptions suggest bypassing the summit and head for the red gravel col with a subsummit and then angle down through bush, we popped up top and then descended the slabs on the SW side. The slabs never got above class 3 and certainly looked the better choice compared with the tangled scrub trees. From the base of Markhor we scrambled up and over the two intervening sub-bumps - with one 20m class 4 section of downclimbing between the two. Now at the base of Needle's NE ridge, we continued up class 2-3 slabs on the right side of the ridge to a class 4-5.0 corner (20m) to the left side. Although the climbing was not difficult, we opted for the rope as the granite flakes are relatively rotten and the fall unforgiving if one were to break off. A final 35m of class 3+ scrambling saw us to the top and a much needed breeze to keep the bugs off. Mosquitoes and black flies weren't a problem unless standing still for too long in the cols or other shady spots. We descended via the normal route on Needle - mostly well consolidated, but softened, snow that made for quick travel. We followed a boot trail too low off the NNE side of the descent ridge and rather than backtracking up a bit, we contoured around through very steep forest and slabs to intersect the trail further down - probably not the best choice in hindsight... Overall a terrific day with some fantastic scenery.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1280 ft / 390 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3865 ft / 1178 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Grade/Class:Class 5.0
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Rope, Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Clear
Sunny and hot, mild breeze
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1280 ft / 390 m
    Distance:1.1 mi / 1.7 km
    Route:NE Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Col to SW of Markhor  5577 ft / 1699 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3865 ft / 1178 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    End Trailhead:Zopkios Ridge sand sheds  2992 ft / 911 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Markhor-Needle

Complete Trip Sequence:
 Needle Peak2013-07-011280 ft / 390 m
1Markhor Peak2013-07-012585 ft / 788 m
Total Trip Gain: 3865 ft / 1178 m    Total Trip Loss: 4370 ft / 1332 m

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