10/3/11 - In a quick trip from Seattle, Dave Burdick, John Frieh, and Zac West did the first ascent of the east arête of Burkett Needle in southeast Alaska. The three men flew to the Burkett Glacier in the Stikine Icecap area on September 9, with a forecast for a two-day weather window. The trio had hoped to climb a line on Mt. Burkett, but dangerous late-season glacier conditions quickly prompted them to turn their attentions to the unclimbed east side of Burkett Needle, a granite spire about 8,500 feet high.
After a tortuous approach up the icefall below the Needle's southeast face, the team bivied at the col below the east arête on the night of September 10. The next day, they climbed snow, rock, and mixed ground up the spine to complete Repeat Offender (IV 5.9 M5 AI3), making only the sixth ascent of the Needle. They descended the northeast face.
Burdick and Frieh had completed the fifth ascent of Burkett Needle, in July 2009, climbing the west ridge of the peak via a route they called Smash and Grab (IV 5.8 M4). / The Needle was first climbed in 1964, by Dan Davis and Layton Kor.
This year's climb was sponsored by the Mazamas Expedition Committee and a Copp-Dash Inspire Award, administered by the American Alpine Club.
Date of ascent: September 10-11, 2011
Sources: cascadeclimbers.com, John Frieh, American Alpine Journal