Type: Trad, 2 pitches
FA: Zeilman, Rees, & Kay, Summer 2011
Page Views: 1,351 total · 20/month
Shared By: Vic Zeilman on Jun 28, 2016
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

You & This Route

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On the Northeast shoulder of the Needle is an obvious weakness (kind of a prominent, blocky dihedral of sorts) that is evidently left of the North Face Route and right of an easy gully called the "NE Gully or Brady Gulch."

The first pitch of Tin Cup Pistol Tricks is run-out 5.7ish terrain - there's a fixed knife-blade piton a little ways off the ground, then a bolt at about 70 feet, with small gear and RPs everywhere else. A loose scramble on the upper half of the pitch eventually ends at a ledge with another fixed pin at the anchor.

The second pitch is short (also 5.7ish) and ends at a cairn on top of the finger (perhaps first placed there by NE Gully climbers?). From here, you have the option of rappelling back to your bags (double rope) or downclimbing off the backside of the pillar into a "saddle" and scrambling to the summit proper.

All in all, this route is a fun adventure in a beautiful setting. The line itself is a "5.7" for a seasoned trad leader - not technically that difficult but fairly heads up and chossy.

For all those Black Canyon climbers who have wondered about this formation every time they visit the North Rim, standing on the summit is worth the effort. It could be a fun afternoon adventure on an extended stay in the Black.


Follow the directions to the parking area at the Needle, and walk up the well-marked trail to the north side of the formation. Look for the prominent weakness/blocky dihedral left of the North Face route.


Single rack of TCUs plus microcams, RPs - maybe even a hammer, pins, and a bolt kit. Feel free to add another bolt or two. There ain't much gear.