Type: Trad, Alpine, 80 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 375 total · 9/month
Shared By: Kevin Dahlstrom on Jul 30, 2016
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Needle Rock (10,656') is the iconic tower on the boundary of Telluride Ski Mountain. It's visible from town, and if you've ridden Lift 8 (Oak Street), then you've probably spied this formation while passing by - it often has a pirate flag flying on the summit.

It's a spectacular summit guarded by a single pitch of blue collar 5.9+ on crappy Telluride conglomerate with questionable protection.

The crux is the first 20 feet - a hand/fist crack through a bulge that involves a mix of physical jamming and face climbing on questionable conglomerate pebbles. Once past the crux, the difficulty eases considerably (5.6 or easier), but the rock quality degrades. The best policy is "don't trust anything". Solid protection is sparse, and there is loose rock everywhere.

There are 3 old star drive bolts at the top of the route (all of them are in pretty bad shape) and one modern bolt 5 feet away, but it protrudes from the rock. As of July 2016, all 4 bolts were equalized with relatively new cord. Between the four bolts, you probably have a solid anchor.

Overall, this is zero star route with a 5 star summit - net 2 stars. It wouldn't be first on my Telluride tick list, but it's a fun alpine outing if you're in the area for an extended period and are looking for some adventure.


See the detailed approach beta on the main Needle Rock page.


The route generally takes larger gear. There are placements for small stuff, but I doubt it would hold a fall due to low rock quality. To lead the route safely, I recommend a single 0.5, 0.75, & 1, doubles in 2 & 3, and doubles or even triples in 4 (or maybe two 4s and a 5), and maybe 2-3 draws/slings to manage rope drag.