Wattle Ridge Road, down Slotts Way to Nattai River then head to Russell’s Needle and climb to summit
This was our forth attempt in the family to tackle “The Needle”. The first three attempts failed because of poor time planning. This time Merav and I perfected the timings, despite the shorter winter clock, albeit getting back to car on Day 2 with just 30 mins of light left. It’s an amazing hike. Day 1 involves a walk down Slotts Way. There are magnificent views on the way on what is a pretty steep 400m descent taking 3 hours or so (take note, as this makes Day 2 pretty hard going coming back up!). At the end of Slotts we arrived to Nattai River and headed south towards the Needle. An hour or two of bush bashing later, we arrived at the foot of the Needle and set up camp by the (freeeeezing river). Day 2 we woke up early and headed straight up the Needle with just light day packs with water and snacks. Our chosen route (there are multiple!) up via the east face is fairly steep, with some steep rock scrambling. But it takes less than an hour to reach (one of) the Needles summits (not the highest which I believe requires a west face ascent and more dangerous climbing too). But it’s high enough for amazing views and a wide perch to rest on. Descending is easy enough (needs care as steep!) and we quickly got back to camp site, packed up and headed back to and up Slotts. The hike up was pretty exhausting, (for me anyway, Merav smashed her way up!). We loved this hike and will do it again choosing a different route up Russell for some variety.