| Almost Crestone Needle...
We were camping at South Colony Lakes for the weekend.
We had hiked Humboldt Pk the day before and we had thought about attempting the Needle on Sunday, although we knew we did not have much time given the fact that we also had to pack camp and hike back to the TH and drive all the way back, which would require almost all day. So the goal was to scout much of the route and at least make it to Broken Hand Pass and take a look at the remaining route. However when the peak is there and so close... the climbing bug starts growing up... That was a pretty day to hike, the redish colour of the mountain was inviting us to go up...
Broken Hand Pass:
We woke up at 5.30 am and started a little bit after 6am. The hike up to BH Pass was easy enough to follow with the big cairns along the route.
There were 3 patches of snow to cross, it was not too steep but it felt good to have the ice-axes handy.
And finally the last climb up to BH Pass, there was snow and it was a little bit icy, so we took our time going up. A climber (you can actually see him above me) passed us on his way to Crestone Peak. I am not so used to hike on snow and that was a little bit of a challenge for me, I am glad we had the ice-axes and some rope, just for reassurance.
Once we got to the Pass we felt good and decided to continue, the first crux was done so we proceeded to the next ones. The next one was a little bit of downclimbing and I asked Mike to belay me, which again felt better than just hoping down on a steep rock. I prefer to play safe.
After that we continued climbing on these fun rocks and we got to the point where we had to cross to the west gulley. We had been reading a lot and studying the pictures posted by many climbers. But once you are there it is difficult to reconigze the exact spot. We got there but we did not see the cairn on top of the pass (maybe our position was not righ to be able to see it), so we decided to go down and look for the spot. We found another crossing but that one had a steep cliff so that was not an option. Finally we climbed up again and by carefully looking around we think we found the spot, here is a picture:
And this was one of the problems:
Some snow to cross (even though it is a little patch), but I did not feel comfortable. Mike crossed over and took a look at the other side. Also weather was coming, we had lost a lot of time trying to find this crossing point and we finally decided to call it off. We were at 13,500 feet, but without knowing what was ahead of us and not having enough time we felt it was safer to head back and try another time. We were the only ones in the mountain that day, we had the mountain to ourselves, and she was inviting us to come back another day...
Next time we will know the route and we will have more time to conquer it, she will wait for us!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):