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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-08-28||Route: South Face
Info: On South Face std route, summer conditions. A little snow between Crestone Peak and East Crestone, however it is not a big deterrent. There is quite a bit of snow below the saddle, if you try to get from the saddle to Northeast Crestone.. A more difficult task. We only did Crestone Peak today, because we were on a time crunch to get the traverse.
|2016-08-19||Route: South Face
Info: Conditions on 8/19/16 remain very similar to Nelson's update from 8/18/16, perhaps a little less grapple pooling. The Red Gully had a lot of running water and plenty of patches of snow/grapple. I have not done this route before, but a climber we meet as we began descending the Red Gully commented to us that he has done this route before and he has never seen it with so much moisture in the gully this time of year, which he felt made it harder. I personally thought the gully was pretty difficult with so much running water and think there is truth to his statement. I don't think we would have continued up the Red Gully had we not gotten there as early as we did (7am-ish). The route description suggests following the best rock by occaionally switching from one side of the gully to the other. Our experience was that the left side of the gully (ascender's left) held the best rock/least mositure. This may be due to the ample runoff that flowed from the top of the gully all the way to the bottom. Both summits remained hidden in white, wispy clouds for the majority of the day. We notice a thunder head developing while we were on the summit but never heard any thunder nor did we experience any precipitation. However the skies above the Crestones looked very dark as we left the area around 4pm. I imagine that area is getting slammed with heavy precipitation this evening, so beware of an even further drenched gully this weekend.
|2016-08-18||Route: South Face
Info: There has been heavy rain in this area for the last 2 days for about 3 hours a day. This has been accompanied by significant grapple/snow in some but not all areas. The south facing aspects of the Crestones and Broken Hand Pass had grapple pooling of 2-3 inches in places. This made for slippery conditions on rock and made for very wet conditions around Cottonwood lake. I turned around in the bottom of the Red Gully as it was much to slippery for my taste. I have a photo of the south side of Broken Hand Peak illustrating my point. I would have taken more but I was on a dead run to beat the weather at 10 am!
|2016-07-17||Route: South Face
Info: My group climbed the Needle, the Peak and Humboldt on Sunday and Monday. Humboldt and the Needle were basically totally snow free. There were a few small snow fields on Broken Hand Pass, but you could get away without any snow gear. We were happy to have ice axe and microspikes in the Red Gully for a larger snow field near the top. Biggest news for us was the mosquitoes. Camping was flat out miserable. We really enjoyed the peaks and bugs were mostly absent up high, but all of the camping areas, areas near the lakes and anyplace low at all was inundated with mosquitoes.
|2016-07-15||Route: Northwest Couloir
Info: No longer a "couloir". If you were hoping for a snow climb, you'll find only a couple of small snowfields with bullet-proof ice. The NW couloir route remains viable, but as a class 4-5 loose climb, not a snow ascent
|2016-07-15||Route: South Face
Info: Did the peak to needle traverse from S Colony on 7/15. All of the snow is avoidable except for a short section leading to BH pass. We didn't need anything beyond low top approach shoes an a ridiculous amount of DEET. The mosquitos are apocalyptic from the TH to treeline.
|2016-07-13||Route: South Face
Info: Looks like a good bit of snow still on the standard route. The mosquitoes on the west/cottonwood side were beyond bad. I live in Crestone and I expected them to be bad, but this was next level. Early morning might be better mosquito wise - it's like a whole new generation is born each afternoon and by the time you descend they've multiplied and gotten ravenous. Smoke is also a modest problem from Hayden Pass fire - the clouds to the right of the Needle in the picture are actually a column of smoke. The wet valley is full of it, and some is getting over into the San Luis Valley as well finally (some might be from a Grand Canyon-area fire too it seems). Painful on the throat and some impediment to making good time. Could get worse or better in short time of course. http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4849/ https://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/fire (smoke only shows during the day)
|2016-07-09||Route: Crestones Traverse
Info: Fun traverse. A lot of route finding on the traverse, be sure to follow the cairns. Got lost on Needle's south face. DONT go off into the obvious gully directly from summit. Every party that summited Needle got lost. Instead, veer left and follow the cairns just off the summit ridge. The traverse from West to East gullies is a bit confusing and a snow bridge complicate things. Ice axe and traction (crampons or micro) a must for a week. after that probably only need ice axe.
|2016-07-06||Route: South Face
Info: Broken hand pass still has snow and there is a lot or snow in the red gully. Some of the Red Gully snow is avoidable by climbing on the left side. Expect snow, waterfalls, mud and ice in the Red Gully. Also be aware that the melting has created hidden snow bridges under the snow fields. We opted for snow climbs when possible. The upper part has rock ridges separating narrow snow bans. So we had to climb those since the snow was to soft and thin. Went off route and climbed to the top of the red gully. Then followed the ridge line to the summit. It was dry. Coming down the ledges were dry. Down climbing the far left side choke point on BHP was difficult. It melted enough to create that place where there is almost not enough snow to set an axe anchor but still to much snow to just climb the rock. You may have to look around for a easier route. The Red Gully took alot of time for us. Started at 6am and finished at 8pm for South Colony lake.
|2016-07-03||Route: South Face
Info: Broken Hand Pass and the Red Gully still hold enough snow that an ice axe and crampons areally worth the weight. The lower part of the Gully is snow free but there is a lot of water flowing. The ledges above the Gully are dry. Others reported no snow on the traverse and the standard route for the Needle is snow free once past Broken Hand. The mosquitos are not too bad...
|2016-06-19||Route: South Face
Info: South Colony TH-4WD road totally dry and in great condition. Snow Drifts on trail just after metal gate- photo 1 below (around 11,000) but easy to walk over and follow footprints. Large Snow Drifts just before Broken Hand Pass, easy to walk on and follow large cairns-photo 2 below. Broken Hand Pass-photo 3 below-All snow...ice axe and microspikes needed! Crestone Gulley-photo 4 below-All snow...ice axe and microspikes needed! Photo 7-9 show the gulley. This is very deep. A few times a sunk in to my hip! Most of the time I was able to get good steps. Fun glisade down.
|2016-06-19||Route: South Face
Info: Here's a few pictures of conditions from a flight I took on Sunday. My wife was taking pictures of the routes -- hope it helps. Lighting wasn't great as it was mid morning and sun hadn't crossed the range.
|2016-05-14||Route: Northwest Couloir
Info: Conditions look good from afar.
|2016-03-19||Route: South Face
Info: With a lack of recent snowfall and warmer temperatures, the snow was bomber, even on the approach through cottonwood creek. The red gully was definitely more exciting in winter than in summer. There is a solid trench in place from cottonwood creek trailhead all the way to the top of this mountain.
|2016-02-20||Route: South Face
Info: Attempted red gully couloir from cottonwood creek trailhead. Started before midnight on Saturday and turned back at 10.8k (around 6 am). The trail was great the first 3 miles then all hell broke lose. The snow quality was terrible and we were postholing to our waist even with flotation. (Skins and snowshoes). We were able to gain elevation to 10k fairly quickly but progress slowed dramatically from that point on. Our biggest concern if we kept on pushing to summit was the snow conditions on the return as the weather was very warm. With new snowfall this week, this route may improve. Word of advice: bring man power and be ready to break trail for hours. Access to trailhead is simple and 2wd.
|2015-10-11||Route: Crestones Traverse
Info: Icy snow up broken hand pass, also snow at the bulge and the knife edge on the traverse (can be avoided but add +1 focus to the already high stakes traverse).
|2015-10-04||Route: South Face
Info: Hi! Climbing Crestone Peak was my 55th fourteener summit this summer! It was my last mountain to climb, and I did it! You can read more about this hike and others at sunshineof1985.com. At my blog site, I have very detailed directions on how you can most easily cross from the Humboldt side of the trail to the Crestone trail. My story was also covered on Channel 9 News and you can watch it at http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/features/2015/10/08/woman-climbs-55-fourteeners-to-help-overcome-eating-disorder/73628028/ Overall Distance for Day: 12.1 mi. Distance from Upper Parking Lot to Camp: 3.4 mi. Distance from Camp to Summit: 4.3 mi. Elevation Gain: 2,750 feet Time started: 8:35am End time (arrival back at camp): 3:35pm Time to Summit: 4 hours and 5 minutes Time to Descent (back to camp): 2 hours and 55 minutes (with break at summit) Time to Car: 1 hour and 30 minutes Overall Pace: 1.2 miles per hour GEAR (to bring for day): Bear spray, GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat, warm hat, lightweight gloves, day pack with water sack (100 oz or more), snacks. Road Condition: With a little guts, my sedan was able to make it all the way to the upper trailhead- barely. It‘s very bumpy and plenty of opportunities to bottom out unless you know what you‘re doing and have plenty of experience. Trail Condition: There was a little bit of ice around 13,300 feet, but I never slipped from it. Walk 2.65 miles up the road for the trail junction and head up the Humboldt trail as it is shorter and more direct. From the Humboldt side of the trail you‘ll need to cross at the start of the South Colony Lakes. Below with pictures I have a very detailed account on the easiest way to cross over. Broken Hand Pass is marked very well with large cairns to follow and has a decent dirt path. Once on the saddle, the trail continues over to the left and you‘ll see it carry on down a nice trail to Cottonwood Lake. Past the lake, you‘ll cut around to the right and come to an enclosed area. There you‘ll see the red gully right in front of you. There are cairns along the boulders that mark the trail great, and it will seem like it‘s leading you far to the right of it, but they are trustworthy cairns and bring you to an easier entrance on the gully. At the start of the gully, the rocks are smooth and there isn‘t much loose rock, but the higher you climb, the more loose it becomes. There will be cairns marking the easiest way to the top of the gully. Once at the notch, turn left and continue to follow the cairns to the top of the ridge. You‘ll need to cross over to another rock pile at the summit to reach the full summit which will be an only slight difference, but obvious (there is a capsule there).
|2015-09-19||Route: South Face
Info: Totally dry. On the way down, as soon as you exit the gully, just above 12700, turn left. We went straight and reached a pretty steep face that we did not ascend on the way up. We just had to turn left to regain the trail to the left (east), but just a heads up. I guess this is pretty common. Broken Hand Pass is a crumbly mess on the way down after the mostly solid rock on Crestone. When you get to the large pinnacles at the "crux" on the way down, go right. It‘s slippery but pretty simple.
|2015-09-12||Route: Northwest Couloir
Info: After climbing the standard route on Humboldt (dry in good shape), I followed the direct ridge to the Bears Playground. From there I took the traverse around to the NW Couloir on Crestone Peak. The lower section of the couloir is snow free as of 9/12/15 up through the first elbow. The upper Y of the couloir is still choked with snow and ice and made for tricky scrambling (no crampons/ice axe). I climbed the headwall to the climbers right to get around the rock hard snow/ice (low class 5) before scrambling back to the headwall that leads directly to the summit. Overall there is about 100-150ft of snow that needs to be bypassed, but it runs wall to wall right before the Y, so requires some tricky class 4 to low class 5 scrambling to get around. The Red Gully was completely clear of snow, easy travel. The traverse from Crestone Peak to Needle is all clear and well marked with cairns. The descent off Crestone Needle is also in good shape, just be careful with rockfall.
|2015-09-08||Route: South Face
Info: Bone dry on the whole route except for the stream in the Red Gully.