In case you were wondering, North Needle can be done from the north and you can do it without seriously risking your life. There's no stairs. There's no trail. It's steep and rough. But there are faint remnants of a previous sojourner's flagging. Dave Berg, Trail God, led us directly through some points of old flagging in fact. Of course, there may be no small coincidence in that because the best we can tell there is only one way up and down - Conroy egress paths excepted.
We had perfect weather after leaving from Lynn Headwaters parking lot at about 0815h. We were pretty well geared up and phones were off.
The basic idea: go up to Norvan Meadows and turn right. Look up. Head toward the col to the left of North Needle and aim for it. Stay left near the top. And prepare to be rained on by debris from your trail partner above you. A helmet and shin guards would have been useful at times but if you take it slowly then you can do okay. (I hope my mom doesn't read this.)
Needless to say, I doubt that more than 2 people a decade take this route. So no need for anyone else to wade through the thickets of blue huckleberry, salmon berry, devil's club and god knows what other pricklies and shrubs we encountered, for another decade. Thankfully there was some scree to hop along. We took advantage of that on the way down in particular. If you must go there, find it and use it I say. Just keep your goal in view.
After the Bag we went to see if there was a way out to the north east. When you look on Google Earth it looks like there might be since there is a long ridge. But we got stopped midway at the place where there is no more land. It drops off on all sides at least 1000 feet, especially on the east side which is more like a 2000+ foot drop. Great views from there but after traveling all around the ridge at that point we didn't see any other way down but the way we came in. Thankfully our ridge hike brought us right back to where the 'down' part exists. Again, no coincidence we think. One way in and one way out.
If you go, take gloves and pants and prepare for some of the best views and mosquitos you can find on the North Shore. And prepare for a long day. Ours was 13 hours.