Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Date Posted:  10/28/2012
Date Climbed:   10/20/2012
Author:  PDavis
 Crestone Peak/Red Gully  

Red Gully
Elevation gain- 5,700ft
Miles- 13

It was Thursday afternoon and Tony and I still hadn't decided which mountain that we wanted to climbed for Saturday. After some going back and forth Crestone Peak was decided and if we had time we would also go for the Needle. We left Friday afternoon and headed down to the South Colony Lakes trailhead. We found a perfect place to camp with a fire ring right before the trail. We got the fire going and had a few beers with some tasty chips and salsa before calling it a night.

We woke up early to get a head start on the day. It wasn't long on the trail before we hit snow and we were curious to see how much snow was going to be up on our route, high in the gully. We figured that since it was South facing that there shouldn't be to much snow left. We made good time and were on our way up Broken Had Pass as the sun was rising.

Sunrise with Humbolt Peak on the left

There was a fair amount of snow up on the pass. It was at least above our boots and in some places deeper.

Making our way up towards the top of the pass

Tony climbing through the crux of the pass

As we were climbing up the pass we could see the whole south side of Humbolt Peak and it was nice and dry so we knew snow shouldn't be an issue for our climb. Once we made it down the other side of the pass we reached Cottonwood Lake and decided to take a quick break and get some food before the real climbing began.

Cottonwood Lake

A little past the lake you get your first good view of the Peak and our route of choice.
The Red Gully is the obvious line right in the center of the photo and the summit is the high point on the left

Route finding on this route is a complete non-issue. Once you make it to the gully it's straight forward and just deciding if you want to climb on the left or the right side of the gully. From almost the start of the gully there was ice and it almost went to the top so we ended up climbing mostly on the left side and some in the middle.

Tony at the start of the gully

Approaching the first steep section of the gully


We were able to avoid all of the snow and the ice except for this one small patch up higher in the gully. It was still early in the morning and frozen so we had to kick steps to make it accross



Sand dunes

This was taken around 13,700ft showing the remainder of the gully and the last steep section

Tony making his way up the finally part of the gully



Once you make it out of the gully the true summit is up and to your left just another 200ft



We just stayed up top for a few minutes and headed down. The descent was uneventful for the most part. We made it down and back up the pass ready for our descent back through the snow.

Top of the pass looking down

Tony making his way down the crux of the pass

Tony and the Needle in the background from the hike out

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

10/29/2012 13:31
You guys certainly earned this one - nice accomplishment! That ice looks sketchy!


No kidding..!
10/29/2012 14:41
Tha picture with the ice looks pretty nasty. Nice job guys.


10/29/2012 21:30
Congrats to a safe climb! What a site to see all the icefalls in the gulley. A very cool accomplishment and great report.


Way to get after it!
10/30/2012 02:28
Thanks for the report ! Looks a lot different full of rock . I did it in the spring as a snow climb Great photos Steep!


10/30/2012 03:02
Your TR and your trip makes it look much simpler than what it is!!


Great job!
10/30/2012 04:02
Crestone is a great mountain - nice climb!


11/02/2012 22:14
Thanks everyone for all the comments. It was one hell of a day. Next summer we're planning on going back for the traverse to the Needle

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