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 Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
 Post Date:  06/26/2007 Modified: 07/03/2007
 Date Climbed:   06/25/2007
 Posted By:  summitridge

 Peak and Needle--No Traverse   

Old Ickabod and I drove most of the way up the South Colony Lakes road in his Wrangler, but stopped a mile or so from the upper parking area. The hike up was uneventful.


Image

The Needle from the lower lake.


We hiked up over Broken Hand Pass feeling pressured by a thunderstorm lingering just to the east and south of Broken Hand Peak. Our original plan was to stop at the pass, drop our heavy gear and climb the Needle and then head down to Cottonwood Lake to camp. However, the weather was to dicey, so we beat a hasty march to the grassy meadow below the Red Couloir on Crestone Peak.

The snow up the pass is steep and was soft near the top. An ice axe or ski pole or two made the climb a little easier.

Image

Looking back from the pass, the edge of the storm can be seen.

Image

Looking down at Cottonwood Lake.

At our camp, we had many marmot friends to entertain us until our early-morning ascent.

Image

Our nearest neighbor at camp. He behaved and only chewed a small bit of Old Ickabod's visor while we were gone.

Image

A look up at the snow in the Red Couloir.

We got started about 5:30 am and the snow was very good for cramponing. We also mixed in some fun scrambling on rock where the snow had melted out.

Image

A look up the snow in the Red Couloir near the bottom.

Image

Looking down the couloir from over halfway up to the notch.

About 1:45 minutes into the climb we reached the notch between the east summit and the "true" summit of the Peak.

Image

Old Ickabod standing at the notch.


Image

A look over at a tower between the Peak and Needle from the notch--exhilarating!

Image

Standing on the summit ridge just below the summit of the Peak.


We reached the summit in 2:05 minutes and descended in about 45 minutes. We packed up and headed to Broken Hand Pass. Once there, we dumped most of our gear and began our ascent of the Needle with the printer-friendly version of the route from 14ers.com!

Image

Looking up the awesome nubby conglomerate near the start of the real climbing.

Image

Old Ickabod nearing the top of the west gully preparing to gain the summit ridge.

I lost track of time during the ascent (I was focused on the climbing), but I think we summited from the pass in about 1:45 minutes. It is worth noting that the small amount of snow on the standard route can be avoided with little difficulty.

Image

Looking from the Needle's summit down at part of the traverse.

Image

Heading down the summit ridge preparing to carefully downclimb the Needle.

We were both pleasantly surprised to find the downclimbing fairly easy and we made good time. Again, we used the photos from the route report and made sure to locate all of the key points along the route. Cairns really helped, but the photos were invaluable. Thanks Bill for this wonderful site and all the great information.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (5)
USAKeller


Nice report!     2011-02-04 17:22:13
Congrats with both the Peak and Needle! It was nice to 'briefly' meet you on trail at Culebra, and again when we were coming down from the Peak!


summitridge


Thanks!     2010-11-30 10:28:37
Nice to meet you, too. We didn't have much time to talk on the way up to Broken Hand. We still had designs on the Needle that the storm thwarted.


stevevets689


Good job     2010-11-30 10:28:37
Sweet climbing, good timing, looked like fun!

By the way, that picture you have of ”Crestone Needle” from the peak... that's not the Needle, that's a 14,000 foot tower Northeast of the true summit. In the picture after of your friend on the summit ridge, the Needle is behind him.


summitridge


???     2007-07-03 19:33:26
Ooops. I double posted.


summitridge


You are right!     2007-07-03 19:44:02
Man, I got confused up there I guess. Thanks for the correction.



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