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Crestone questions

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Crestone questions

Postby MtnHub » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:23 pm

If a buddy of mine can join me, we are thinking of trying one or both of the Crestones the 3rd week in July.

As I've never been down in this area before, if we don't camp out, are there any places to lodge fairly close to the TH, like in Westcliffe or somewhere? Nothing fancy required, just a relatively clean bed and shower would suffice.

Also, would helmets be advised to do either the Needle or Peak?

Thanks in advance for anyone's help!

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby jverrant1 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:50 pm

The road to the trailhead is fairly treacherous, and even if you have 4WD to get to it, it's still around a mile or so on foot to get to the lake if I remember correctly. As far as helmets go, definitely use one on the needle. I haven't done the peak but I would never attempt the needle without one personally. Another word of advice, make sure you do not miss the path rightward after passing through the broken hand pass. When me and a buddy climbed the needle we somehow ended up taking a route that we definitely didn't mean to and were totally unprepared for. It was quite unnerving to say the least! Luckily we reached the summit without any injuries, but on the way down we saw the correct standard route and it would've been much easier and safer to do it that way!

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby timf » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:11 pm

http://www.westcliffeinn.com/ is a popular place to stay and fairly low cost.
Popular pizza place afterwards is also a hit. Pizza madness I think it's called. It's right along the main strip.

I may tag along that weekend if you don't mind. PM me if you're open to the idea.

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby KentonB » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:40 pm

I'd say you definitely want a helmet on Crestone Peak as well. Probably more so than the Needle. A LOT of loose rock!

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby Steve Bonowski » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:41 am

Yes, you will need climbing helmets; not bike helmets; for both peaks.

You didn't say which route on the Peak you're considering. Even in July, you may still encounter ice and snow in the north couloir on the Peak, the route from the Bears Playground. You may need an ice axe; also maybe crampons; for this route; as well as the knowledge of how to use both.

It's a real long day to do the Peak via its south couloir from the Colony Lakes side. However, having summited the Peak four times via the south col route, with hopefully #5 over Labor Day weekend with CMC, I recommend it over the north side route. The south side route is considered by many climbers to be much safer than the north side. Steve

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby MtnHub » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:37 am

Steve Bonowski wrote:You didn't say which route on the Peak you're considering. Even in July, you may still encounter ice and snow in the north couloir on the Peak, the route from the Bears Playground. You may need an ice axe; also maybe crampons; for this route; as well as the knowledge of how to use both.


We would probably be considering the standard routes from S Colony Lakes. Does anyone think we might still possibly need axe or crampons for this route in mid-late July? I'd rather not drag any along.

Steve Bonowski wrote:Yes, you will need climbing helmets; not bike helmets; for both peaks.


Thanks to all for all the cautions and recommendations! Just curious though, why are climbing helmets so much better than bike ones? I certainly realize biking helmets are not specifically made for climbing (and vice versa), but what additional protection do they offer, specifically?

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby glodder » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:49 am

Definitely climbing helmets for both Peak and Needle.

I think the standard route on the Peak these days is the South Couloir route. You probably won't need axe/crampons for that climb in the 3rd week in July. If you're considering the NW Couloir route, however, I climbed it back in 2004 and you will definitely need at least an axe to ensure safe passage across a steep snow couloir which is usually there. Possibly crampons too. If you decide on the NW Couloir, let me know and I can give you a little bit more info on it.

Todd
"It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." - Sir Edmund Hillary

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby Bullwinkle » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:05 pm

The Westcliffe Inn, just south of town makes a good place to stay. If you prefer to camp, the Grape Creek RV place a few miles further south has some campsites available. The Custer County rodeo is 18 July this year and the Bluegrass Festival is the week before--so make reservations well ahead.
As a mountain more fully reveals itself to a man, so the true nature of the man will be more fully revealed

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby JA_son27 » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:39 pm

To answer your question about helmets I think the main reason you want to use biking helmets for biking and climbing helmets for climbing is because the biking helmet is really designed for a one time use, one hit from a good sized rock will shater the bike helmet rendering it useless, and it also rests right on your head so it won't absorb as much energy as the climbing helmet. The climbing helmet can sustain multiple hits and is suspended slightly off of your head to absorb some of the impact of a speeding rock.
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
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pin scar

Re: Crestone questions

Postby pin scar » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:43 pm

The South Colony Lakes Road is in considerably better shape than it has been in years, with many of the more problematic sections having been smoothed out recently. This is not to be taken to mean you can drive a passenger car up there - I would strongly suggest a 4x4 - but a stock 4x4 would more than suffice.

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Re: Crestone questions

Postby MtnHub » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:58 am

Thanks to everyone's replies! Really helps in planning for a safe trip!

Happy climbing! MtnHub

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