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Needle and Squaretops

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Little Squaretop 
Little Squaretop Massif 
Minerva's Temple 
Organ Needle 
Retaining Wall, The 

Needle and Squaretops  

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Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Marta Reece on Jul 23, 2013
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Ben enjoying the morning view of the Needles from ...


The Organ Needle is the highest and probably the most visited peak in the Organs. The trail to it can be reached from either La Cueva or Modoc Mine Road and winds up the west side of it. (It has been overused and is in horrible condition.) When you reach Hummingbird Saddle (at the top of Dark Canyon) the Retaining Wall is to your right, Minerva's Temple lower down ahead of you, about the direction of Sugarloaf.

The Squaretops are to the north of Organ Needle. As viewed from Organ Needle, there are two peaks divided by a gully running North-South between them. The peak to the left is refered to as Little Sqauretop and is the peak that is seen when gazing at the Organs from the West. The peak on the right is referred to as Little Squaretop Massif and is similarly the only peak visible when gazing at the Organs from the East. To make these names even more confusing, Squaretop peak (or Big Squaretop) is the square-like cog further north along the mountain ridge, but it only resembles a square-cog when viewed from the west.

There are a number of old mountaineering routes up to these summits, as well as steep technical climbs which can be found on the myriad of faces, ridges, and pinnacles which surround these peaks. These include the Tiger Fang formation, found low on the northeast side of Little Squaretop Massif, which is a stunning shark-fin-like pinnacle first climbed in 1956.

Getting There 

From La Cueva or Modoc Mine Road, or on the east side from about the middle of Pine Tree Trail, look at individual peaks and/or routes for details.

Climbing Season

For the Organ Mountains area.

Weather station 10.4 miles from here

12 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Needle and Squaretops:
Normal Route   3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a     Trad   Little Squaretop
Normal Route   3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a     Trad   Organ Needle
Browse More Classics in Needle and Squaretops

Featured Route For Needle and Squaretops
John Bregar rappelling from the summit. A single 6...

South East Arete 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a  NM : Organ Mountains : ... : Squaretop
While not the first route to the summit, this pioneering route has become the trade route for summiting Squaretop. The final pitch up the southeast arete starts is airy and beautiful. While the Ingraham Guide calls this final pitch "High 4th," I felt that a low 5th class rating was more appropriate. The first few moves to establish onto the arete are exposed and difficult to reverse. The preceding "pitches" are 4th class or l...[more]   Browse More Classics in NM

Photos of Needle and Squaretops Slideshow Add Photo
Squaretop Gully in flood. Yes, it does rain in the...
Squaretop Gully in flood. Yes, it does rain in the...

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