"Great Needle" aka "Garnicks Needle"

August 8, 2010

An exciting climb to an incredible summit

"Great Needle" aka "Garnicks Needle"

The impressive pinnacle known as the "Great Needle" or "Garnicks Needle", formerly G-16, as seen from Summer Ice Lake. This peak wasn't on our agenda but Dominic and I decided to give it a try on our final day in Titcomb Basin. Our route gains the obvious col on the left side and then follows the south ridge (left skyline) and west face to the summit.

Above Summer Ice Lake

From the outlet of Summer Ice Lake we scrambled west directly up steep ledges for about 600 feet before reaching easier ground east of the peak. The scrambling was mostly 3rd and 4th class with the occasional low 5th class move. 

Dominic scrambling

Dominic scrambles above the outlet of Summer Ice Lake.

Steep & grassy

The ledges were grassy and swampy at times, adding to the mental challenge. On the way down we descended steep snow above Summer Ice Lake instead as we didn't really want to downclimb this. It made for a great ascent route though, allowing us to avoid a steep snow climb on bulletproof snow first thing in the morning.

"Great Needle" & Henderson Peak

"Great Needle" (left) and Henderson Peak (right) as seen from about 11,700 feet just east of "Great Needle".

Approaching "Great Needle"

Dominic approaches the "Great Needle" from the east. We're headed for the col on the left.

Climbing to the col

To reach the col we climbed a mix of moderate snow slopes and junky talus.

Looking down from the col

Looking down toward Titcomb Basin from near the top of the col.

View to the southwest

From the col we climbed straight up the steep south ridge for a bit as instructed by Bonney. I have no pictures of that part as I was too focused on the climbing: third class my ass! Definately low 5th class and exposed! Somewhat loose to boot. When the ridge steepened even more we escaped around the corner to the west face. This picture is looking southwest from the west face just below the south ridge.

On the west face

The west face is darn steep too!

Traversing the west face

Dominic carefully traverses the west face.

Awkward climbing

Awkward climbing on big blocks not too far below the summit.

Nearing the summit

Dominic prepares for a funky move to reach the south side of the summit block.

Dominic touches the true summit

Dominic tags the highly exposed summit of "Great Needle". I found the cairn of sorts to be quite a peculiar obstacle to overcome while executing the "straddle and scoot" technique. Henderson Peak (left) and American Legion Peak (right) can be seen in the background.

Ridge to Henderson Peak

The connecting ridge with Henderson Peak is sharp and impressive. Notice Dominic's shadow from the summit.

Airy toothbrushing

I think he's been hanging around with Dwight too much?!

Henderson & American Legion Peaks

View northwest from the summit. Henderson Peak (left) and American Legion Peak (right) dominate the scene.

Summit block

The summit block as seen from the top of the northwest ridge. The left (north) side is extremely exposed. We climbed up on the right (south) side.


The pinnacle known as "Trident" is part of the Titcomb Needles and lies directly south of "Great Needle".

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