Trip Report
New Route on Day Needle
Tuesday August 30, 2011 8:37pm
Credit: Amy Ness
the whitney massif
the whitney massif
Credit: Amy Ness
1st pitch
1st pitch
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
The giant roof, to blank slab, to one hell of an over hanging head wal...
The giant roof, to blank slab, to one hell of an over hanging head wall
Credit: Amy Ness
open books at base...we took the furthest to the left
open books at base...we took the furthest to the left
Credit: Amy Ness
Spire summit on the right, only nine pitches away.
Spire summit on the right, only nine pitches away.
Credit: Amy Ness
day needle on the left of keeler needle
day needle on the left of keeler needle
Credit: Amy Ness
Credit: Amy Ness
I smiled at one of the hikers coming off the summit of Whitney heading back on the main trail, but he didn't smile back! Myles explained that I had blood on my teeth from the split lip I had gotten after our 3 days/4 nights putting up a new route on Day Needle-or what's now known as Crook's Peak. To the hiker, we must have looked half-crazed...worn and haggered, carrying our heavy packs up to the Whitney summit in order to descend the Mountaineer's Route.

It didn't matter. I guess I had known this day would come. After moving to Lone Pine last year, my boyfriend Myles had informed me of his dream to put up a new route on Day-or as he called it, "the forgotten needle". Last season, all our energies were exhausted on a new route we put up on the portal buttress and our back country excursions were our breaks to 'just go climbing'! Anyone who has put up a hard, multi-pitch route knows that actually climbing the route is only a small part of the ordeal-hauling, tactics, scoping, protecting, etc. plays a much bigger role than the pure climbing. So, after finishing "The Never Ending Story" (which will have a trip report soon:), we were free to start our new project on Day Needle. Although we'd have preferred to start at the base with our portal ledge and get to the top, our work schedule of 4 days on/3 days off made this feat impossible. So, instead, we started slowly. After hiking up loads to the base, we chose our desired line up a right-facing open-book just to the left of the most obvious, green open-book on the center of the wall (which, upon investigation, was seamless). The 1st pitch was fun and easy, with no fixed protection necessary! The 2nd went quickly as well, traversing back right around bulbous, exposed moves on a dike which stretches all the way through the Whitney massif, and ending with a killer flake to belay on a big ledge. After sitting many hours on the cold, shady ledge while Myles began the difficult moves of the 3rd pitch, we called it a day and fixed our 300 ft. static line.

The next trip out, we hiked back up the snow and jugged our line (this time I was prepared with down jacket, hat, gloves, & long johns). I belayed Myles while he placed to button-heads and aided/freed some tricky moves to get to the base of the giant roof, all the while, watching the two parties climbing the Harding Route on Keeler in the warm, beautiful sunlight! We kept wishing for the roof section to slab out and become an easy, fun jam crack, however, as I had expected, it was steep and hard-A0. After starting up a 5.6R up and left after the roof with no bolts or pins to fix, Myles down-climbed the 5.6 and we called it a day. We only had 600 ft. of rope to fix, so we called it and went back to the portal again for work.

With permission for an extra day off, we went back out with the intention of a final push to the top. We had enough food & water for 4 days, one sleeping bag (with Myles' genius pizza design which allowed the two of us to sleep really warm using only one sleeping bag w/one sleeping pad!) and all the clothes and gear needed to get to the top. Waking up at 3am, we knew that we had to hike out, jug, haul, & climb a pitch in order to rap down to a bivy ledge we spotted. Big Day! After jugging our extremely overhung ropes to the belay at the 5th pitch, Myles led up the 5.6R again to get us to our bivy. We decided that because of the quality of the route thus far, we needed to push ourselves and go up the right facing open-book we had both been eying on the right. We knew it was going to be much more difficult, but the prettiest line should be taken. Our bivy ledge was somewhat smaller and more uncomfortable than we had hoped, but when the sun came up the next day, we started off again up the open-book which turned out to be smaller than 00tcu's. Myles fixed two pins and it went fairly smoothly. Pitch 6 turned out to be a much bigger undertaking-another hard, thin R facing open-book to a bolt ladder to a difficult snake crack. Again, Myles fixed protection as I sat freezing. But, when all was done, I got to free the beginning! The weather turned as I was climbing and all the sudden we were on the wall, getting hailed on, had no where set to sleep, and had just dropped our other rope...in other words, we were committed. Myles climbed quickly through a steep A0 crack from a mushroom-like formation on what we called the 'mini-headwall' to find our next bivy just before dark. We found a giant, loose ledge which looked much better than our previous night's accommodations. Hauling over the loose terrain proved a little difficult, and after hours of hammering and neglecting to eat or drink water, Myles had gone into shock. He curled up into a little ball and went straight to sleep. The next day we got to climb 2 pitches of easy terrain (5.4)but the exposure on the ridge was superb! I came to the base of a giant jam crack and brought Myles over. After the hard day he had before, he agreed to let me take it. 215' of #1's and .75's led to a large slabby platform. The next pitch proved much more difficult-overhung #3's. After taking a painful fall in which I straddled an extremely sharp arete on impact, I started pulling on pieces! Myles nearly freed it on TR, falling at the very end! After trying to go left and realizing that the crack system we wanted was to the right, I down-climbed to a killer belay an alcove behind a detached rock. Myles led on to the right to the base of a perfectly beautiful, but very difficult off-width. After repeatedly bumping up a #4, Myles called down that he had accidentally stepped on his cam. From there, he gunned it to the top. He called down that we were only one pitch from the top, but it was about to get dark and we still had a lot of tricky hauling to do. Luckily, Myles had reserved our camp spot when we hauled after the 10th pitch-our bags had conveniently landed on a ledge Myles had spotted from our belay. We fixed our 300 ft static and 70m lead line and rapped to our last bivy-our best night's sleep yet. Jugging up the steep wall the next morning, it occurred to me that we were about to summit. I hadn't climbed the o/w yet, so Myles jugged up and started hauling so that when the bag got stuck I could free it as I came up. The sand-bagger told me that as a lie-back, it would be an easy 5.7, so he left me with ladders, ascenders, approach shoes, 2 #3's, a #4, a rack of nuts, down jacket, gloves, and anchor to bring up on the R-side of my harness! It was not 5.7, and I couldn't do it clean with the weight and my level of exhaustion. At the end of the pitch, we made a cool move up and around a chalkstone. I took the last pitch up a catwalk and through a hole to the summit. We got on top and packed our bags to carry off. We had thought about going up a final crack instead of the catwalk, but it looked like there were many large, loose chockstones and neither of us really desired to go up it. When we go back to make it 5.11 A0, we'll probably try to finish it proper.

It's so funny how you work so hard to get to the top and then feel nothing. We cursed the giant, loose gully known as the Mountaineer's Route as we descended toward camp. Arriving just as a strong wind that moved around our tent started. The next day as we hiked down to get to work before 1pm, it started to rain-we had finished just in time:) While putting up the route, we found a fixed bong and a bolt right below the chalkstone on pitch 13. We contacted John Vawter to see if it was their route's end, but it seems to be a variation off the Becky route. We chose to use button-heads to minimize the appearance of bolts on pristine, alpine rock. Looking up now at the Whitney Massif, it has just begun to hit me that I have had the privileged of scaling all three...now, I just can't wait to bag the other beautiful needles and spires to the left:)

  Trip Report Views: 6,953
Amy Ness
About the Author
Amy Ness is a climber from ND. Lives/works @ the Whitney Portal Store.

Comments
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Aug 30, 2011 - 08:47pm PT
Way cool. Good job guys. It sounds "fun."

What's this Crook's Peak thing? Is it a new name or an old name?

TYeary

Social climber
State of decay
  Aug 30, 2011 - 08:56pm PT
Nice job ! I think the photo, however , shows the Harding Route on Keeler. Mas photo's coming?
TY
Myles Moser

climber
Lone Pine, Ca
  Aug 30, 2011 - 09:52pm PT
Hey thanks Del Cross,took us a minute to figure the photos out. The route was outrageous and one he'll of an undertaking. We ended up calling the route B.C.B. On the Prow.
6. fixed pin (2 for belays)
6 1/4" button heads for pro
6 1/4" button head for three belays
Blitzo

Social climber
Earth
  Aug 30, 2011 - 10:01pm PT
Phil told me about this a couple weeks ago. Nice job "Shovel stealer"!
I'm looking forward to meeting you Amy! Phil has nothing but nice things to say about you.
Maybe JT this season.I want to photograph you! :)
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 30, 2011 - 10:19pm PT
Sweet write up, great job on another FA!!!!!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 30, 2011 - 10:23pm PT
Wow! Some nice looking cracks.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Aug 30, 2011 - 10:29pm PT
Cutest couple evar award goes to!!


<3 u guys
F10

Trad climber
Bishop
  Aug 30, 2011 - 10:47pm PT
Nice job, cool of Doug to let both of you out
Urmas

Social climber
Sierra Eastside
  Aug 30, 2011 - 10:58pm PT
Looks cool! What's it rated?
jfailing

Trad climber
PDX
  Aug 30, 2011 - 11:01pm PT
Both of you guys are so badass...
Blitzo

Social climber
Earth
  Aug 30, 2011 - 11:05pm PT
Hi, Urmas!
Steve L

climber
  Aug 30, 2011 - 11:27pm PT
Nice job you two! Post up a topo!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Aug 30, 2011 - 11:27pm PT

Awesome!!!!
Urmas

Social climber
Sierra Eastside
  Aug 30, 2011 - 11:30pm PT
Hi Billy, I always enjoy seeing your photos on the site. Thanks for the greeting!
ruppell

climber
  Aug 31, 2011 - 01:24am PT
Theres another needle next to Keeler?

Nice job Myles and Amy. Hope that wasn't my static line you guys were using up there. Forgot to tell you I need it back!
Captain...or Skully

climber
Boise, ID
  Aug 31, 2011 - 08:43am PT
Diggin' it. Oh, yes.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
  Aug 31, 2011 - 08:47am PT
Hey, nice climb. A lot of work, eh, Myles?
O.D.

Trad climber
LA LA Land
  Aug 31, 2011 - 08:54am PT
Awesome FA, and report! Makes coming to this forum worthwhile.
Sol Wertkin

climber
Leavenworth, WA
  Aug 31, 2011 - 10:51am PT
Yeah Amy!! Nice job u guys! Who'd thunk Amy would leave Ltown as a pebble pincher and end up sending sweet FA's in the Sierras just a couple years later. Looks like good living down there you guys. Keep up the adventuring and us PNW'ers look forward to your next TR!
Myles Moser

climber
Lone Pine, Ca
  Aug 31, 2011 - 11:02am PT
The route is 5.10 A1. We are possitive we could or anyone else for that matter free the route at hard 5.11 A0. I drew the topo last night, turned out to be 15 pitches, 3 of which are 70 meter rope stretchers. We have no scanner up here in the portal but we'll get the topo to you soon.Thanks for the kind words blitzo, tell phil I hi from us.
krahmes

Social climber
Stumptown
  Aug 31, 2011 - 11:23am PT
Way to go Myles and Amy. Good to see ya get this off your list. Awesome man.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 31, 2011 - 12:50pm PT
Well done you two. What an adventure.

Sorry to let you down, but Norman Clyde climbed those pitches in 1934 calling it Class IV...with a struggle.
Chauncey

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
  Aug 31, 2011 - 01:33pm PT
In the summer of '73, Kenny Cook and I climbed a route on Keeler (the obvious crack system on the left) and saw frequent rockfall from Day, almost like clockwork. I never had any desire to have a closer look at it - we had enough harrowing experiences on Keeler. Spent 5 days and topped out with our longest section of undamaged rope being 90 ft.
Myles Moser

climber
Lone Pine, Ca
  Aug 31, 2011 - 11:43pm PT
hey sorry john, amy got it confused. the bolt and fixed bong were a mystery, but we did intersect the chaulkstone of the other route. Still dont know where those things came from though?
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
  Sep 1, 2011 - 02:22am PT
Congratulations Amy & Myles so awesome u2R!

Tell us more about "Myles' genius pizza design"
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 1, 2011 - 09:48am PT
awesome job!!!!




Ps button head quarters aren't for minimizing appearances, rather for going light and fast.:)
insatiable

Mountain climber
santa cruz, ca
  Sep 1, 2011 - 12:28pm PT
hey myles and amy

totally badass awesomeness. so glad you are at it and hear you are off for patagonia this winter?? have fun!

my summer has been somewhat of a bust- climbed mt clark and carl heller and clarence king and fin dome and then the biggest adventure so far: evacuation in a NPS helicopter! going on my 12th day of recovery so far! lost 11 pounds, 8% of my body weight, in 5 days! the task of rebuilding all that muscle is daunting and i am still exhausted. oh well.

hope to see you sometime
leonie
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Sep 1, 2011 - 01:02pm PT
way to get after it, you two.

I know it's gotta be hard if it slows you guys down!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 1, 2011 - 01:44pm PT
Insatiable,
What an big adventure. What was the evacuation all about? Hope you're on the mend.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
  Sep 1, 2011 - 05:02pm PT
No sweat Myles. Great job and a great line! Comici would approve. This is the route Ed and I hoped to do as we hiked over to it. But the main goal of the trip was to do Keeler and we had food for just 4 days. We just wanted to get to the top any which way we could--in a day. We looked at your dihedrals, but the roofs above were out of the question. So we kept walking south and ended up in the gully on the left.
Myles Moser

climber
Lone Pine, Ca
  Sep 1, 2011 - 05:22pm PT
Bruce- The hail made us think that we were in for it, we could deal with hail and snow we just didnt want it to warm up. It actually hurt!

Em- the pizza design was a triangle with compatable zippers for any sleeping bag so we could zip in one and sleep two. The ledges we were on were tiny.

Krahmes - miss you a bunch here in Lonely Lone Pine! How you been?
Hey you remember the route "Lonely Lone Pine" in the Alabamas?

So, the rack: No More Pins, No more hammers! triple tcu's 00- Yellow for the splitter fingers, pitch after pitch. Doubles of .5- #3 and one #4.
There were two over-hanging headwalls with Splitter jam cracks all the way through. One was about 60ft long, the rope hung six feet from the base...steep!
The route turned out to be 15 pitches, once I drew it, with one pitch being short. Three out of the fifteen are full 70 meter pitches. im still working on getting the topo scanned, but I live in the woods... this isn't even my computer.

John Vawter, thanks man for all your help. I really find it awesome when I can talk to the first ascentionist of route. Come on by and I'll cook you burger at the Portal Store.

D.R. - what up man, where you been? always good to hear from you.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
  Sep 1, 2011 - 05:36pm PT
Hulda (not Hilda) Crooks was an amazing lady and a true mountaineer. I had the good fortune to "guide" her up the Whitney Trail back in August of 1980 for ABC Sports TV. ABC wanted me along because there was some snow still on the switchbacks. Hulda had no problem - she was 84 then.

Later that year, in October, I escorted her up Mt Conness for another TV show. She outlasted most of the film crew and was delighted to climb something in the Sierra other than Whitney.

In 1990, by an Act of Congress, Day Needle was renamed Crooks Peak in her honor. I visited her at her home in the Spring of 1997. She died later that year at the age of 101.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Cali
  Sep 1, 2011 - 05:46pm PT
Congratulations Myles and Amy! Good to see you got this project done. Keep at it and maybe we will see you this winter when your campground opens back up and we come up to climb in the A-hills.

Jan McCollum
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Sep 1, 2011 - 10:57pm PT
Way to go team!!
Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
  Sep 6, 2011 - 11:13pm PT
Myles and Amy,

Seems your partnership has brought you both very far. Left a message with Kastle last spring to try to find you guys. Imagine its been lonely since Tim left. Hope to come up this weekend and will stop by the Portal to look for you guys.

I went to Mammoth this past weekend and just saw this TR. Awesome effort. Really happy for you guys.

Jorge (from El Lay)
Dad5

Social climber
San Diego
  Sep 9, 2011 - 01:41pm PT
Great report Myles and AMY. I was happy to hear that amy was on belay. See you soon
todabenstr

climber
Riverside, CA
  Sep 9, 2011 - 02:37pm PT
Nice report. Myles, if you need help with scans I would be happy to help. Just let Blair know...he will find me.
DrychronRed

Mountain climber
Pine Mountain Club, CA
  Sep 13, 2011 - 04:20pm PT
Great Report! See you sometime at the WPS (next time we ascend Oct 3)
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Oct 13, 2011 - 04:14pm PT
Wow
jfailing

Trad climber
PDX
  Dec 30, 2011 - 01:51pm PT
Shameless bump for the local hardmen and hardwomen...
Zander

climber
  Dec 30, 2011 - 05:12pm PT
Cool!
Myles Moser

climber
Lone Pine, Ca
  Dec 30, 2011 - 09:07pm PT

topo has to go with the trip report
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jan 3, 2012 - 01:37pm PT
Bump - who's going to get the second?

Nicely drawn topo, I like the sparsity of description on it. Clean and simple...

Barrel Chest

Ice climber
Lone Pine, CA Missoula, MT
  May 26, 2012 - 07:48pm PT
Myles and Amy,
Great route, keep charging.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 6, 2012 - 03:16am PT
Here's a somewhat cleaned up version of Myles' topo:
viejoalpinisto

Social climber
Pahrump, NV
  Jun 9, 2012 - 12:18am PT
Superb!
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