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Weavers Needle Summit - Tonto National Forest

Summary: A hike/climb to the summit of the most prominent landmark in the Superstitions. To do this hike you will need: helmet, harness, webbing, carabiners, rap rings, and a 200' rope (or a 100' rope and a 100' pull cord). You should also have someone in your party that is an experienced climber (at least one report puts the climb at a 5.6, though I suspect it is less). You can also do this climb by coming in from the east along the Terrapin Trail. Supposedly this route is easier, but I have not done this hike.
Directions: From Phoenix, drive east on the Superstition Freeway (U.S. 60) past Apache Junction.  About 4.5mi beyond the end of the freeway at milepost 204, turn left following the signs for the Peralta Trailhead. The road is initially paved as it heads through a housing development, then becomes well graded dirt. At the signed fork 5.4 miles from the highway, bear left following the sign, and continue another 2 miles to the parking area at the road's end (complete with an automated fee station & restroom facilities).
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Easy - as long as you spot the trail to the base of Weavers
Length: ~6.5 miles
Date Hiked: May 2003
Weather Conditions: Warm and sunny
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the Peralta Trailhead, pick up the Peralta Trail which starts just behind the brown information sign. For the first 1.5 miles or so, the trail follows Peralta Creek, crossing it a few times along the way. The trail then ascends the bank on the left and begins climbing more steeply with a few switchbacks at the end to Fremont Saddle, which has nice hoodoos on your left and a great view overlooking Weavers Needle (2.3 miles). Continue following the trail down the hill on the other side of the saddle. You are looking for a prominent use trail which leads to the base of Weavers and the start of your climb. This trail begins just south of the notch that separates the smaller southern spire of Weavers from the larger northern one. This same spot is just north of where the hoodoos on the ridge to the right cease. There will likely also be cairns marking this right branching junction. When you find this trail, turn right and cross the wash you have been following, passing through a bit of brush. Then continue following the well cairned trail as it ascends the boulder and scree slope to the base of the Needle. Just before reaching the base, the trail winds left around a prominent outcrop, then climbs right towards the notch between the two spires. This is your route. Begin climbing the steeply sloped rock towards the notch. Once in the cleft, begin climbing straight up towards the big choke stone at the top. Good hand and foot holds abound (as well as a few old pipes anchored in the rock), however, it would be prudent for the first climber to place protection and belay others in the group. Once at the choke stone, you can go under it, or around on either side. Under is easiest, so that's the route I took. The hardest part is over and once on top of the choke stone, you'll have great views to either side of the needle. Your next climb is a vertical 12' pitch, also with great holds. Following that climb, a bit of scrambling will bring you to a ledge and the last actual climb, which offers no more difficulty than the other two. A short walk will bring you to the summit and stunning 360 views. Sign the register and when ready head down to the 3rd climb. Just to the left of where you came up are two bolts linked by a chain. Use this as an anchor to rappel 60' to the ledge you were on earlier. Follow the trail down to the 12' pitch & down climb or do a short rap off a rock on the left. There are two bolts on the choke stone that can be used as anchors for your final rappel down the cleft. Scramble down the rest of the rock, then down the scree slope (watch your footing, the rocks are loose), then back to the Peralta Trail which you can follow to your car.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author completed this hike solo, at a quick pace, in 5 hours (note: larger groups will take longer, perhaps much longer).
Maps: Beartooth Maps - Superstition Wilderness Topographic Map
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Weavers Needle from
Fremont Saddle.
The first climb is up through
the notch in the center.
Weavers Summit. View west from the summit.