We initially went up to this area to scout out a lake that I want to take my son to on his first "backwoods" camping trip. I wanted to do Needle first because the lake hike isn't significant enough to spend a whole day on it...and Needle is the one I really wanted to do anyway.
The forested section had areas of snow but nothing too daunting. It was also a little wet and sloppy because of snow melt.
It was a warm day and even though the pictures don't really show it, it was gloriously sunny. Did I choose to use sunscreen...no, I did not. Bad decision.
Once we were out of the forest and onto the ridge the hiking was beautiful...and hot.
One of our hiking party hadn't provisioned himself with quite enough water so he was forced to replenish from one of the many streams created by the snow melt.
It took far longer than planned to summit Needle but the views from the top were, as I expected, breathtaking. We loitered around the summit for at least 45 minutes enjoying the sun and the cooling effect of the gusting winds that were not noticeable below the summit.
On the way down we enjoyed our sort of "boot skiing"/sliding/reckless descent...too much so it seems. We lost the trail at some point and were down some significant elevation before we really realized that this was going to be an issue. We had our gps but could not seem to find our way to the trail because of a steep ridge line...the result...about 45 min of bushwacking on steep grade. Not fun!
The hike ended up taking us so long we had to cancel the reconnaissance hike up to the lake...which was the primary purposes for the day...oh well. That's hiking!
Overall the hike was beautiful, enjoyable and worth every minute. I highly recommend Needle to anyone that loves the view from a beautiful summit.