BEST ADVENTURE CLIMB - 2006
Mountains must be climbed because they are there, but some people also feel compelled to stand on all big, pointy things. Show us any rock tower, pinnacle, cone or spire and we'll find a photo of someone showing off on top of the damned thing. So we understand if you've been looking with desire at Weaver's Needle, a stubby finger of rock rising 1,000 feet from the desert floor in the Superstition range. You've seen it from Fountain Hills or your drives up the Beeline to Payson, and you've wondered if it were possible to climb. Well, don't hold back. It's not that technical, except for one part in the middle that requires climbing gear and a couple of ropes for safety. Anyone with strong hiking legs, a bit of climbing expertise and a lot of chutzpah can bag the summit. Take U.S. 60 to Peralta Road, then hike Peralta Trail up and over the saddle to the base of the Needle. From there, it's an ugh-fest up the steep slope to a gully that bisects the giant lump of rock. This is a good place to get a drink and rest up for the summit push. (In fact, if it's the middle of summer, you'll need a cooler of cold drinks ? and even then, beware of heat stroke.) A long, easy rock climbing pitch up past a big chockstone gets climbers to the fun part ? a couple hundred feet of unroped ascension on easy vertical terrain. Easy ? and potentially deadly. If you fell near the top, you'd have time to open a parachute before you hit the ground. But you won't fall, right? You'll be having lunch on the grandest, pointiest summit in the Valley. And if you can't get enough of the sublime view, there's enough room to throw out some sleeping mats and spend the night. Sweet dreams!