Spanish Needle

Owens Peak Wilderness, CA

Info

Distance11 mi
Elevation gain3,100 ft
Route typeOut & back
Duration7 h
CruxClass 3
Quality8/10

Peaks bagged

1
Spanish Needle(SPS)7,841 ft / Prom. 881 ft

SPS — Sierra Peaks Section

Report

From Chimney Peak Road, we followed this dirt road into Lamont Meadow.
Alpenglow on Lamont Peak.
The road peters out after a couple miles as we enter a pine forest.
Slowly gaining elevation as we make our way up the valley toward a saddle north of Spanish Needle's summit.
Beautiful fall colors.
Following a sporadic use-trail, we veered slightly south.
Looking back down the valley defined by Lamont Peak on the left and Lamont Benchmark on the right.
Some deadfall and brush slowed our progress slightly.
Final climb to the PCT.
Following the PCT a short distance to the saddle.
Arriving at the saddle.
From the saddle, view east.
View south toward Spanish Needle. Although the peak is only 1 mile away, it would take us 1.5 hours to traverse its eastern slopes.
Dropping about 100 feet from the saddle.
The first of several chutes filled with loose dirt and rock.
Another, much larger chute. We aimed for a weakness in the rib near the tree, left of center.
A short ramp leads around the rib.
We started up the slope at the final chute.
View back toward the saddle.
Final climb to the ridge on very loose, forested terrain.
Atop the ridge, heading up a relatively brush-free slope on the west side.
Looking back at a class 2 section. North Needle, a minor peak along the ridge, is visible on the left.
Remaining ridgeline to Spanish Needle's summit.
There are a couple intervening pinnacles (like the one shown here), which offer some fun class 3 scrambling opportunities.
Closing in on Spanish Needle. The route crosses an exposed slab, visible on the left.
A cruxy, class 3+ ledge system leads to the slab, shown here.
Ben crossing the slab. This move is trickier in reverse due to the slight angle of declination.
A notch just north of the summit block, accessed via a class 3 crack ahead. (Photo taken on the return.)
Ben climbing a class 3 crack below the summit block.
Spanish Needle summit. View south toward Owens Peak.
View east into Sand Canyon.
Back at the saddle, descending a more northerly line than our ascent route to avoid some thickets of manzanita.
Admiring the pinnacles along Lamont Peak's ridgeline.
Exiting through a meadow.
Chimney Peak Road ahead.

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