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The Needle

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bustin' Move 
Damage Done, The 
Descent Route 
Momentary Lapse of Ethics 
Needle TR wall aka Uphill Slab 
North Lieback 
South Face 
Suburban Hangover 
Temple of the Dog 

The Needle 

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Location: 40.357, -105.5167 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Nate Christiansen on Feb 5, 2003
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Trent Watkins TRs the Uphill Slab, the Needle.


The Thumb and Needle are 2 crags on the slopes of Prospect Mountain. The routes on The Needle vary from 5.0 to 5.13b. Some routes on the Needle have bolts and some have rings to rap off of. The Needle is short (2 pitches at the very most) but offers excellent exposure to the town of Estes Park.

The original description for The Thumb & The Needle was split for clarity.

Getting There 

The Thumb and the Needle lie on top of Prospect Mountain and the eaisest way to get there is to drive either from CO Highway 7, leaving town until you reach Peak View Drive (PVD). Take PVD until you see a gold sign on your right that says "Prospect Highlands". This is Curry. Take that sharp right turn. Continue up this short road that will eventually turn into gravel and park at the cropping just short of the gate. Please do not attempt to park in the way of the landowners. The trail starts just up the gully and goes for an enjoyable yet steep 5 minute approach. The first rock you will see is The Needle. Less than 100 yards further uphill is The Thumb. The Thimble is a sliver of rock lying just East of The Thumb.


To descend The Needle, you can rappel from the anchors on the sport climbs or there are two 2 bolt anchor with chains on the North face. If you are ambitious, you can descend no-hands, a la John Gill....


Per Nathan Welton:

A. South Face, 7, 1p, 110', gear.
B. Suburban Hangover, 10, 1p, 70', bolts.
C. Momentary Lapse of Ethics, 11, 1p, 40', bolts.
D. Temple of the Dog, 13, 1p, 50', bolts.
E. Damage Done, 11, 1p, 30', bolts.
F. North Lieback, 10, 1p, 70', gear.
G. Bustin' Move, 12-, 1p, 60', bolts.
H. Needle TR wall aka Uphill Slab, 7-11, 1p, TR.
I. Descent Route, 2 R, 1p, 70, gear.
J. West Face.

9 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Needle:
Momentary Lapse of Ethics   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   
Browse More Classics in The Needle

Featured Route For The Needle
Perhaps this is a shot of the TR wall aka Uphill Slabs?  Kira, climbing.  In Gillett's guide, this may be known as Uphill Slabs.  There are 2 sets of anchors for this.  Rossiter's guide rates this as 5.7.  Gillett's guide rates it as 5.8-.  It's probably easier to the left.

Needle TR wall aka Uphill Slab 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b  CO : Estes Park Valley : ... : The Needle
This is the slab to the right of the overhung sport routes on the Needle. Many variations can be made from this wall and that makes it a great place for some beginners. Possibly 5.7-5.11 variations. To set up the top rope, the ramp on the right side is an easy 5.0 scamble to the summit. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of The Needle Slideshow Add Photo
Somewhere near the Descent route.
Somewhere near the Descent route.
Blake Collins rapping off the top of The Needle.
Blake Collins rapping off the top of The Needle.
Comments on The Needle Add Comment
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By John Gill
Feb 18, 2003

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, these were pretty popular with locals. Rich Goldstone and I and friends made several FAs on the Needle. One was something we called Angel Overhang, to the left of the downclimb. Another was the no-hands FA of the Needle by Bob Williams and me. We did our balancing act up the downclimb face! I don't remember any bolts, but that was in an era where bolting from rappel was considered unethical.

By Brian Faulkner
From: Fort Collins
May 16, 2003

New bolts were just put up on top of the Needle around 5/15/03.