There are at least three traditional (ground up) routes on this rock. The first is the long downhill side, climbed by Dave Rearick and the Conns in the late 1950s. Dave carried a drill bit and a stud and hanger with him, but was not forced to use it for protection. The route is about 5.6. The second is around the corner to the right and ascends the left side of the steep face that overhangs the parking lot. Start on the left side of this face and move several feet up to a shallow groove, then to the top. It's about 5.8, if I recall correctly. The third is my unrehearsed 1961 free solo route up the slightly overhanging face to the right of route #2. It took me several visits before getting up the nerve to top out. At the time 5.10 was the top of the scale, and it was years later that this climb was recognized as the first 5.12. The second ascent (in the style of the FA) was about 1987. John Sherman made an ascent in 1991 (see "Stone Crusade"). It has seen some top ropes, but, thankfully, no bolts. This was the climb that some say marked a turning point in the popularity of bouldering.

Getting There

Sits below the Needles Eye, on the edge of the parking lot. About 30 feet high (above the parking lot).

1 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Thimble

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
The Thimble (Backside)
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Thimble (Backside)
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R Trad
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I have a new website that has some comments about the Thimble: Mar 24, 2003
The route to the right of John Gill's original line up the Thimble has the same start and then goes up and right , but not quite to the arete. This crimpy climb is about 5.12b.

The overhaning arete to the right of that, a very obvious feature, could probably go free at 5.13-something. Aug 1, 2004
The top roped variation that starts on the "Gill" route then moves right is a Kevin Bein-Barbara Devine variation first climbed in 1980.

The arete on the right side of the parking lot face of the Thimble was climbed first by Bob Murray on a top rope and is lower 5.13. Aug 8, 2004
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
It seemed to me that the easiest way to do the Thimble with a few hard moves but not total sustained "owch, my fingers hurt" is to start on what is the obvious Gill problem, and from the "good" square hold 4 meters up, to continue up and left to merger with the 5.9 route on that arete. Done as such the hardest move felt 5.11+/5.12- (v4?) but it was over before it would be high-ball.
What we could not make out is exactly what line the Gill Route went, since from said good hold, up the left arete was so obvious. Anyway, I'm no tough guy, so I took that line.
Please explain where the original Gill problem is? What is it's relationship to the rounded "scoop" to the left? Jul 31, 2006
Joshua Dreher
Bremerton, WA
Joshua Dreher   Bremerton, WA
Has the overhanging arete on the right been bouldered/soloed since its top rope first ascent? Aug 21, 2007
I am a huge John Gill fan. In this interview Mr. Gill speaks about "The Thimble" and other aspects of his climbing career.

Work and family safe link:…

Many thanks
Brad McLeod Dec 1, 2013
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
In 1973 the "backside" route was, I believe, rated 5.3 in the guidebook of that era. Talk about "old school"! [More detail in a COMMENT] on the "Backside" climb itself.] Jun 9, 2015