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Needles Nirvana T 

Needles Nirvana 

YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 550', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c [details]
FA: James Garrett, Geoff Tabin, Don Mealing, and Blake Summers, July 2012
New Route: Yes
Season: Summer and Fall
Page Views: 1,677
Submitted By: James Garrett on Jul 10, 2013  with updates from rimoms

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Needles from the gondola ride in summer


Approach (literally 5 minutes from top of Needles Gondola) the lowest toe of the initial triangular shaped wall. Get off of gondola, turn right, and walk down the road. Head down the run Pork Barrel directly underneath the gondola. Veer left to the base of the climb.

A large boulder before the toe of the lower Needle and located directly below the South Facing Patrol (descent) Gully can be used to stash shoes and packs....only a few minutes further down to the start of the climb.This way, after the short rappel from the top and brief scramble towards the Gondola, you will walk right by your gear stash (NO Food....many marmots!!!).

Route finding up and through the various "Needles" should be fairly intuitive, but its not a sport climb. It was a fine adventure climbing with the Seven Summits legend Geoff, Don from the FA of classic Kermit's Wad(!), and Blake of the new generation. We had a blast!

Pitch #1: Climb solid compact quartzite to a white band and surmount a fun roof. Continue up this long sublime pitch of edging diversity passing another short well protected crux to a two-bolt belay station. 12 bolts. 5.8-, 55m.

Pitch #2: Scramble over the top of the apex of this triangular wall and down climb to an obvious arête. Follow this to its end and another two-bolt belay station. 3 bolts. 5.7, 20m.

3rd class about 20m along the crest of the ridge line to the base of more climbing at "The White Overhang" in a small saddle.

Pitch #3: Fun moves take you over the white overhang and continue up thin face climbing to another bulgy spot through some bushes. Fixed pitons are generally marked with webbing to make them easier to find. Climb the solid face to the left of a faint left facing dihedral (rotten) to an easy roof and continue past some more bolts to the belay ledge on this next "step". 6 bolts. 5.8, 30m.

3rd class and take care here with more scrambling (somewhat exposed) along the "crumbly crest" to an obvious gully and the final third "step" or "Needle" of the cluster. Going left here at the saddle offers a rapid escape or return to the top of the gondola. Go right and down about 10m to continue to the final pitch that starts around to the right of the pillar that divides the final Needle. A couple of slung Bashies "mark" the way. 1 bolt. 3rd Class.

Pitch #4: Once around the corner climb up the solid face to the right of the right facing rotten appearing pillar. Trend right and up to a Two-bolt belay/Rap station. 2 bolts. 5.6, 20m.

Pitch #5: It is easy to link both of these final pitches in one. Start up this final pitch to a small ledge to steepening rock which follows the left edge for some moves and then follows the more compact rock to an easy roof and many grips and steps to a two-bolt belay station. Find a route register here....spray away! 7 bolts. 5.7, 35m.

DESCENT: The best and easiest and quickest way down is to Rappel (one 70m rope) from the summit (top of Pitch #5) after enjoying the flat summit with panoramic views, but not quite so complete like from Mt. Ogden:). Scramble back to the saddle before climbing the final Needle. At the saddle, a short little down climb to a trail leading back to the Needles Gondola makes for a quick descent.

The West Ridge (one or two moves of easy 5th class down climbing) may also be descended, but it is more complicated and not equipped for rappel. The route itself is equipped for rappel, but two ropes would be necessary to rappel the entire route. From the summit back to the gondola via the south Patrol Gully (used for avalanche control work in winter), however, only one 70m rope is necessary.

Enjoy the BBQ and the live music after the climb at the base of the mountain!


This is the beautiful formation of alpine crags just to the right (north) of the Needles Gondola and Lodge. About a 10 minute approach time from there will bring you to the base of the route.


12 QDs, add a few Alpine Draws, Set of Camalots to #1 (C3s and Aliens very helpful at protection friendly horizontals). Fixed anchors at most belays, but not for the 4th class sections.

Photos of Needles Nirvana Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: JG on ptch 1
JG on ptch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Needles in winter
Needles in winter
Rock Climbing Photo: My wife having fun on pitch 2 of Needles Nirvana
My wife having fun on pitch 2 of Needles Nirvana
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking at the start of Needles Nirvana
Looking at the start of Needles Nirvana
Rock Climbing Photo: My wife having fun on pitch 1 of Needles Nirvana
My wife having fun on pitch 1 of Needles Nirvana
Rock Climbing Photo: Having fun on pitch 3 of Needles Nirvana
Having fun on pitch 3 of Needles Nirvana
Rock Climbing Photo: Having fun on Pitch 1 of Needles Nirvana
Having fun on Pitch 1 of Needles Nirvana
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking at the edge of the route from the hoidy to...
Looking at the edge of the route from the hoidy to...
Rock Climbing Photo: Happy James
Happy James
Rock Climbing Photo: Off the belay pitch 3
Off the belay pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: From the ride up.
From the ride up.

Comments on Needles Nirvana Add Comment
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By Robert15 Stock
Jul 9, 2014

So when do I need the cams set. Is that just optional I don't want to carry it if I don't need it.
By Greg Gavin
From: SLC, UT
Aug 11, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Robert I would say take a single set from blue tcu to #1 camalot, and maybe medium nuts. You would be climbing a fair distance on p3 between bolts without pro as many of the pins on the route aren't protection quality, and serve only as route markers.
By glen kaplan
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 19, 2016
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Really amazing--if this is what some of Switzerland is like, I want to go so bad. Gondola ride? Fun plaisir adventure climbing on amazing quartzite? The. Live music and BBQ? This gets my vote for best Sunday in the Wasatch...ever! Thank you so much James Garrett! Wonderful gift to everyone. MUST DO! A few times!!!!!
By Michael Whalen
Jul 3, 2017
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

First pitch is definitely more than 10 bolts, didn't use anything off my trad rack for it but 10 draws didn't last long. We just did the first pitch and TR'd two novice climbers with joined ropes so I cant speak for the rest of the route. Despite the 91* July weather down at the parking lot there was enough snow to cover the first two bolts, it was also very dirty and turned everything that touched the ground black. The 5 minute approach was nice except the loose screed. The first pitch was nice enough though, each climber pulled a couple rocks off the wall...I think with traffic it will get better.
By Tom Thomas
From: Pittsburgh
Sep 10, 2017

This was a super fun route. My wife and I did this climb over the holiday weekend not a climber in sight.. I found every pitch to be fun.. Yes some loose stuff but what alpine climb doesn't have some.. I loved the approach and want to thank the route setters for all the hard work.. The people at Snowbasin were super nice I can't say enough about the whole experience

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