recommendations and conditions near Crestone?

Colorado peak questions, condition requests and other info.
Forum rules
Please do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website. For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
Post Reply
timwjones
Posts: 2
Joined: 6/8/2021
14ers: List not added

recommendations and conditions near Crestone?

Post by timwjones »

Howdy -- I'm staying in Crestone for the next couple weeks, and want to find mountain adventures that are ambitious but safe.

In the past, I've done some serious rock-climbing and mountain-climbing in California (e.g. summited Half Dome and Tenaya Peak via 5.5 technical routes), but I am totally new to Colorado climbing and have almost no experience with snow or ice climbing.

My current take on the peaks I've considered:
• I'm saying no to: Summits of Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Blanca, Elington, Little Bear. These might be good for me in good conditions, but it seems like they're almost certainly too snowy/icy right now. (I'd love to come back and do some of these when I'm better prepared and the season is later.)
• Borderline: Could Challenger Point or Kit Carson be reachable via Willow Lake? Are Phantom Terrance and Venable Pass passable, even if I don't summit Venable Peak? Or are these routes still too snowy/icy this early in the year?
• Safe: If I must do a 14er, then Humbolt looks to be the easiest choice, particularly if I stay the night beforehand at South Colony Lakes so I'm not rushed. Apart from that, I'll probably stick to 13ers and Class 1 trails.

What do y'all think? I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions for the area this time of year, especially if you've been up there lately and know what the snow conditions are like. Thanks in advance!

=T=
User avatar
herdbull
Posts: 420
Joined: 6/6/2011
14ers: 58
13ers: 11
Trip Reports (1)

Re: recommendations and conditions near Crestone?

Post by herdbull »

I'm in Westcliffe so all of my data would be for this side of the range. Expect permanent snow above 11,100' on basically all the trails on this side. Some of it is walkable but most of it is not. It's been staying warm at night so anything below timberline isn't freezing. So expect some deep postholing as some of the snow is still 5-6ft deep. This afternoon I trail ran to Horn Lakes at 11,700' and stood on a 10ft deep snow field and was soaked from the waste down by the time I got done. It's warm though so it's not really that bad.

Phantom Terrace is kind of open but not completely. The loop over to Comanche Lake is corniced and blown in. It might be kind of sketchy yet. I haven't been in by Humboldt yet but would expect there is snow that needs to be hiked through. Overall lots of snow up high and it's fairly soft so it makes for some miserable hiking. But if you're prepared to get soaked you should be ok. There was another post in regards to Rito Alto not that long ago. I posted some pics on that post. Otherwise I post daily on my FB page as I'm usually up in the mtns somewhere.
timwjones
Posts: 2
Joined: 6/8/2021
14ers: List not added

Re: recommendations and conditions near Crestone?

Post by timwjones »

Thanks herdbull, that's very helpful!

Here's a link to that Rito Alto post, for future reference,
https://14ers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f ... 3&p=744247
happyfeet
Posts: 21
Joined: 8/6/2015
14ers: 46 2

Re: recommendations and conditions near Crestone?

Post by happyfeet »

Just hiked Humboldt this weekend (directly adjacent to the Crestones) and it was summer conditions in the area. Perhaps not little bear or the Crestones, but any of the others in the area should be good to go. Good luck on whatever you end up goin for!
Post Reply