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East Saddle

Easy 5th, Trad, Alpine, 300 ft, 2 pitches,  Avg: 1.3 from 4 votes
FA: William Elam & Companions, 1948 (first recorded ascent of The Needle)
New Mexico > Albuquerque Are… > Sandia Mountains > Juan Tabo Canyon > The Needle
Access Issue: Juan Tabo Canyon is subject to annual access closures from March 1 to August 15. Details
Access Issue: Seasonal raptor closure for some areas in the Sandias Details


Hill's guide indicates there is more than one way to do this route.

P1 - Straight up the buttress/ridge starting from the saddle, perhaps tending a little to the right (north). Belay at a large tree at around 30 meters or a little further. Fourth or easy fifth class.

P2 - Most if not all of this "pitch" can be done unroped. Continue up, just to the right side of the ridge. Near the end of the pitch, the route will steepen and level off just before dropping down to a place where the south side of the ridge is accessible. If not done, build an anchor around this location. Fourth class.

P3 - Drop down to where one can access the south side of the ridge. Down climb perhaps 10 feet. Then traverse to the west while down climbing. This deposits you above a ramp near a second minor saddle. This second saddle is the saddle near the start of the two rappels described on The Needle page. Low fifth class.

There is some loose rock/boulders on this route.


The route starts from the saddle between The Needle and the major ridge of The Crest.


Light rack.

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Rollie leading Pitch 1
[Hide Photo] Rollie leading Pitch 1