Information Entries for Crestone Needle and Name History

Name History (Crestone Needle)

Title: Naming of Crestone Needle

Entered by: 14erFred

Added: 05/14/2010, Last Updated: 05/14/2010

Sources: Borneman, W.R., & Lampert, L.J. (1978). A climbing guide to Colorado's Fourteeners. Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing Company. Hart, J.L.J. (1977). Fourteen thousand feet: A history of the naming and early ascents of the high Colorado peaks (Second Edition). Denver, CO: The Colorado Mountain Club.

Some time before 1853, trappers and traders entered the San Luis Valley (west of the Crestones) and saw some resemblance between the Crestone Group (The Needle, the Peak, and Kit Carson) and the Three Tetons of Wyoming, which were the best known mountains of the west. Thus, the Crestone Group is called the Trois Tetons on the Wheeler Survey's maps of 1877 and 1879. Crestone Peak and Needle were also once known as the Crestone Needles and as the Spanish Crags. According to Spanish lexicons, the name "Crestone" has many meanings, including "a large crest, cock's comb, crest of helmet, or outcropping of ore (the suffix "-on" means large) seen from the south, the present Crestone Peak is remarkably like a cock's comb; most people are sure of the resemblance" (Hart, 1977, p. 25).

The last Colorado 14er to be climbed (by Albert Ellingwood and Eleanor Davis on July 24, 1916), Crestone Needle was first named "the South East Spannish (sic) Crag" by the U.S. Land Office Survey of 1883. However, locals referred to the mountain as simply one of the Needles. In 1921, the Colorado Mountain Club named the mountain "Crestone Needle," and in 1923, the CMC officially accepted this name for its list of Colorado highpoints.

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