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The Needle, Dún Séanna Head

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Had a great day on Saturday in Dún Séanna, finally got to climb the Needle. Conditions were perfect, the sea was flat calm, there was a pleasant breeze and good sun all day.

We abbed in down the line of Giraffe and then scrambled around to the south face of the Needle. I then traversed around the corner to the West face and followed the arete to the top. The starting moves from the arete to the small ledge are hard and took me a bit by surprise. From the ledge there is a few more tricky moves and then it’s reasonable straightforward climbing to the top. The exposure is off the scale and the climbing is nice, the rock is a little hard to read, you really have to feel around for the best holds.

We happened to meet other climbers at the crag who had climbed the Needle last week and left a sling and crab so we used these, I lowered off these and then top roped the lads up. I think this is simpler than belaying on top.

Rather than climb out we swung across from the Needle to the ledges to the west. There was a comedy moment when I (and my camera) nearly went into the water as I didn’t allow for rope stretch before I swung across.

The way I see it there are two ways to ‘do’ the Needle.
1 – Ab down Giraffe, scramble around to the front face and climb the hard moves to gain the arete. Ab down the front face and then swing across to the big platforms on your ab rope attached to the top of Giraffe. Advantages – Good anchors at top of Giraffe, easier ab down slabby side of needle. Avoids a long jumar back up the ab rope.
2 – Ab down Stinky Poo. Belay on platform and traverse around to the arete. Ab down steep side of Needle. Jumar up ab rope or climb Poo of JJ Barry. Advantages – Avoids the hard moves at the start of the other approach (not necessarily a good thing). Less vulnerable to a rough sea.
What do you think is the best way? How detailed do the approach directions need to be, should competent climbers be able to figure it out for themselves or is it worth spelling it out very clearly?