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Typical fun Needles climbing with what seems to be a new direct finish. My 1980 guide says to go right at the 3rd of 3 bolts. My handwritten note from 1993 says go right at the 4th of 4 bolts. On this ascent in 2007 I tried going right via a hard move around a blunt arete, but it was pretty scary over there. I reversed the moves and climbed directly over the bulge at what seems to be a new 5th bolt. That was about the same difficulty as moving right but far less spicy.
Follow the trail to the gap between Aquarium Rock and Photographer's Peak. Walk right behind a triangular pillar and past a gray water groove. Continue behind a flake to reach a left facing right angling flake. The first bolt is just right and up from the top of this flake.
5 bolts plus the anchors.
From: Rapid City, SD
Oct 10, 2007
I went over the bulge and it was very thin on hands. Very fun and thought provoking and borders on 5.8+. My second went to the right and thought it was much easier. I think the key to the right is to not go all the way around the arete, but rather straight up it.
Originally this route keeps going up and joins the Prat chimney which goes to the top and is fairly easy at about 5.3.
Jun 27, 2012
There is a sweet alternative to the original second pitch that offers fun movement, a few spicy sections, and a great path to the summit.
I’m unsure of the FA party or if it has a name but I’ve heard it affectionately referred to as “Pillar de Femmes” because of what it looks like if gazing from the General Store and using your imagination. This pitch climbs the wrinkled left side of the pillar that splits the SW face.
If attempting this pitch, climb 15’ past the anchors atop P1 and sling a large, perfect horn after a ramp for a much more comfortable belay.
Pillar de Femmes - P2 Variation: (5.7, 130’) ***
From the cozy belay atop P1, step directly across the gap and climb the tenuous face up and right to gain a left-facing crack. A #3 or possibly #4 is essential here as it is 20 feet above the belay and the first piece of gear. Stem and jam your way up this left-facing corner to a horizontal undercling that protects well. Traverse right a few feet to gain another left-facing crack and follow it for 80 feet on small gear to the summit. The gear is a little funky in spots but good gear can definitely be found.
Stoppers including the brass, 2 sets of micro-cams, 1 set of cams to 3”, many long draws
Rap from chains on the W edge to a massive ledge. Once on the ledge between Photographer's and Aquarium. Walk NE to find the second set of chains. I believe these raps can be made with a single 60 m rope.