Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  08/15/2011
Modified:  08/16/2011
Date Climbed:   08/13/2011
Author:  tlongpine
 The Needle - Standard Route  


Despite myriad setbacks before stepping foot on the trail this turned out to be an incredible climb.

Upon arriving at the trailhead I realized that one of weekend bags wasn't packed in the SporTrac.

In this bag, and therefore missing was:
1.) My helmet
2.) My topo and route guide
3.) My gloves
4.) My tea
5.) My tripod

Bummer. Anyway...

At 10pm-ish I hiked under the light of a full moon until I found a suitable clearing among the trees and strung up my hammock for a few hours rest.

I wake up at 4:30 and hiked up the end of the 4WD road to watch the moon set and the sun rise. Pretty spectacular with the full moon.

Beneath Broken Hand pass there is quite a bit of loose scree, so watch your footing but it's not a difficult climb.

Just beyond the pass, into the notch past the saddle someone improvised a toilet. The smell was a pleasant as the unsightly tissue paper.

From there I made quick work to the Class 3 section and serendipitously teamed up with fellow 14er GlazedHam and his climbing party, who had a detailed route description for the last segment of the trail.

We charged up the west gully and gained the summit on a absolutely gorgeous August Saturday. tmatthews was on summit to great us.

On the descent I was lured in to the east gully by an off-route climber. I tried to correct him when I saw he was about to descend the east gully without any protection but we were far enough apart that the communication wasn't effective.

I followed in case anything bad happened. Nothing did, but I can see how it might it you're not comfortable down-climbing.

Then back through the pass, across the boulders, along the lakes, back the to 4WD road, into the forest and back to the trailhead.

Where I discovered an especially nasty South Colony Road had given me a flat on the way in.

After changing the tire I was on the road with a pretty awesome 14er behind me.

Next season I'll go back for the traverse.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

class 3
08/16/2011 02:37
I am assuming you went up the standard route -south face. How was it compared to other class 3 summits you have done. We have done Eolus, Sunlight, Windom, and Snowmass. Just wondering how this compared in terms of difficulty.


class 3
08/16/2011 16:01
I haven't done any of those but the rock is incredibly featured. There are countless jugs and holds along nearly any route.

Because of this are many class 4 variations available along the route, if you want the challenge.


08/16/2011 16:07
tlongpine, I was in the group that was first up that day so we must have passed you on the way down. Nice to hear you made it.

arianna2, I found the Needle to be easier than Snowmass, but there isn't really much comparison. The conglomerate rock of the Crestones isn't like anything on the mountains you just mentioned; solid holds are bountiful. The exposure was comparable to Wetterhorn, in my opinion.


08/17/2011 02:11
beautiful pictures!

in terms of exposure and scrambling difficulty, is there any comparison with the last part of longs?


vs. Longs.
08/17/2011 02:33

The two are pretty unalike.

My recollection is that Longs was more exposed along the the Narrows.

The rock, however, is completely different. Longs, especially the Homestretch, is granite slab. The rock on the Needle is very featured conglomerate - it's as close to gym holds I've climbed on a fourteener.

rob runkle

08/17/2011 15:53
Was on the Peak at around 9:30 am and the Needle at around 1 pm on the same day. We camped into So Colony. Good job from the TH. We didn't poop on the pass.

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