The 'Plankensteiners' can be reached by ski quite well - there even is a well know steep downhill called 'Raucher' (i.e. 'smoker') nearby. So sometimes you will find climbers there in winter as well. Especially the needle is totally snow free (but windy) most time. IMO the best route is the east corner of the needle. All routes on south are quite short but nice while the north though beeing significant higher is not really worth visiting.
I climbed Plankenstein several times. 1994, the Direkter Ostgrat was my first alpine rock climb (grade IV) as second. In 1996 I led the same route. I also visited several times its neighbor Risserkogel to take the pictures of the south face.