Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Marble Mtn A  -  13,266 feet
Date Posted:  09/11/2013
Date Climbed:   09/07/2013
Author:  bergsteigen
Additional Members:   koeffling, Leanne, scramble, Jump Roper, superdawg
 14er Gurlz Thread the Needle  

Crestone Needle

Route: South Face standard
Partners: Sara, Erica, Michelle, Leanne, Christine, Kirsten

It's that time of year again. The pink Gurlz hike. Comic relief! This year I wanted to do something a bit harder, a scramble, if we could find a weather window. The legacy of Steve Gladbach has been ringing in my head much of this year. Mentorship is such a vital part of mountaineering, that I feel it's time that I start giving back more, even if I am still mentored by others for my own personal growth. I feel I am to a point where I can at least do something to further those starting out. I also hope that others in a similar position as me, will also take on this vital role and help out the community.

After the Tex-ass Pootastrophy at Willow Lakes, and other less damaging incidents in the past, I've felt the need to be a better steward to the Wilderness areas in Colorado. While currently controversial (please don't hurt me!), I was going to make sure that this year I kept our numbers at or under the required number of participants for Wilderness regulations. This was particularly hard, as many friends who may have come, did not for the sake of allowing those who have never summitted Crestone Needle a shot at it. Next year I may rethink things some more, and find a non-Wilderness peak for the hike, so that anyone who wishes to, can attend. If we as a community do not set high standards for ourselves, the future of these areas may not be so bright.

So all that annoying stuff aside. Done and done!

We decided to car camp at the lower trailhead to allow those with 2WD vehicles and a late arrival the chance to get a ride up to the top. So the early group sat around a lantern, chatted, had a beer or two, and gave ourselves a pink mani-pedi. My nails have not seen paint since... a decade or more. It felt strange, and every time I do something with my fingers/hands, I startle myself. Those are not my fingers?!? Sara choreographed the chorus section for the dance video and so we got a little practice in before it was dark and time to sleep.

We had an early start, with those extra miles on the road. In the dark, the time went quickly. Good company will do that. Soon we found ourselves on the cut-off trail with the sun rising quickly to greet us.

The Needle blushes on our approach

Sunrise pano

The Gurlz!

After greeting the rosy sunrise on the Needle, we make our way over to the trail split and shot a dance video scene. Oh, this is going to be a fun day!

Made the very familiar trek up to Broken Hand pass. Still very loose after the washout a few years ago. No one had any problems, though watching that much pink scramble... put a smile on my face (and I hate the color pink). On the pass we do more formal introductions, as it's hard to put names and faces together in the dark.

Starting up the trail to Broken Hand Pass

Scrambling in fishnets...

The superdawg approves!

Taking a break on the pass

After the break on the pass, we make our way over to the base of the East Gully. The first class 4-ish downclimb goes smoothly, and soon we are presented with the fun to come.

Approaching the Needle

The Abbey Road of the Needle

The fun downclimb enroute

Now for the fun non stop 1,000' of scrambling! There was only one other group nearby, but we still take extra special care to not let any rocks fall. We get to the crossover to the west gully as one group was making its way down the east and also coming over from the west. It was like the Hilary Step! Everyone made it across with no trouble at all. Even had a few celebrity sightings along the way! Great to see you again Ian and Emcee Smith!

Starting up the solid side of the east gully

Cross over

cross over

Celebrity sighting! Snowball!!!

Climbing over to the west gully

Scrambling up the solid west gully
Looking down the west gully

Nearing the top of the west gully
Topping out on the summit ridge

Nearing the top, I race ahead to be able to photograph everyone arriving on the summit. Only a father son team were there at the time, and they were quite pleased to see us, with the father promptly taking our photos and getting one with us and his teenage son for LOL's. I'm not sure if the teen was blushing, or it was just all the pink reflections!

Sara and Leanne on the summit!

Erica arrives!

Here comes Kirsten!

Michelle on the summit!

After the father son team left, a Crested Butte Mountain guide came up the traverse with his group of two. Then from the arete, two of my BC ski partners, Evan and Michelle show up. Everyone helped us with the photos and video, and for that I am eternally grateful. We all had such a good time, as can be heard by all the laughing throughout the video.

So without further ado, here are your 2013 Gurlz and dance video submission!

Announcing your 2013 Gurlz on the summit!

14er Gurlz lyrics:

Greetings loved ones
Let's take a journey
I know a place
That looks down on all the others
Warm, wet, and wild
There must be somethin' in the water
Sippin' Coors Light
Layin' underneath the pine trees
The boys break their necks
Tryin' to creep a little sneak peek
You could travel the world
But nothing comes close to the golden peaks
Once you party with us
You'll be fallin' in love

14er girls, we're unforgettable
Hiking skirts, colorful tank tops
Sun-kissed skin, so hot
We'll melt your popsicle
14er girls, we're undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it unlocked
Mid-coast represent
Now put your hands up

S*x on a 14er
We've got gravel in our hiking boots
We freak in my truck
Snoop Doggy Dogg on the stereo
You could travel the world
But nothing comes close to the golden peaks
Once you party with us
You'll be fallin' in love

14er girls, we're unforgettable
Hiking skirts, colorful tank tops
Sun-kissed skin, so hot
We'll melt your popsicle
14er girls, we're undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it unlocked
Mid-coast represent
Now put your hands up

Toned, tanned, fit, and ready
Turn it up 'cause it's gettin' heavy
Wild, wild mid-coast
These are the girls I love the most
I mean the ones, I mean like she's the one
Kiss her, touch her, squeeze her buns
The girl's a freak, she drive a truck
And live in the Mountains
I'm okay, I won't play, I love the peaks
Just like I love CO
Crestone Needle and Longs Peak
Summertime is everyday
Homeboys bangin' out
All that ass hangin' out
Bikinis, zuchinis, martinis, no weenies
Just a king and a queenie
Otina, my lady?
Looky here, baby
I'm all up on ya
'Cause your represtin' Colorado
14er girls, we're unforgettable

Hiking skirts, colorful tank tops
Sun-kissed skin, so hot
We'll melt your popsicle
14er girls, we're undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it unlocked
Mid-coast represent
Now put your hands up

Colorado, Colorado girls
(Colorado girls, man)
Colorado, Colorado girls
(I really wish you all could be Colorado girls)

Things I've learning about dancing on a 14er
1. Dancing at 14K is exhausting!!!
2. I haven't danced since.... I lived in Alaska - ie a long time
3. Everyone had smiles on their faces!

Unfortunately it became time to head down, before we got any more silly! So down we went, being careful to take our time, and spot the correct cross-over. I took up sweeper, but everyone was together anyway. A good solid group of scrambling ladies!

Descending the west gully
descending the east gully

Dropping off Broken Hand Pass

The descent down the road, was well, annoying. But I would rather have that than the fee system and being able to drive the road. Well... that last mile really did suck!

You really can bivy under my truck!

More Needle Photos

Marble Mountain A

Trailhead: Rainbow trail on South Colony road
Mileage: 6.74
Elevation Gain: 3,529'
Partner: scramble

Since I had kidnapped Sara (willingly) for the weekend after she successfully defended her Physics comps, we stuck around another day for an easy nearby 13er. We got over 8 hours of sleep, with Sara taking a nap under my truck the afternoon before (the clouds threatened for an hour or so). The summit was only a little over 3 miles away, and much of it was in the trees and follows the ridgeline pretty closely. The first part there are a lot of downed trees to go over or under, but it gets better after half a mile. Soon we were on the summit and presented with an amazing view, well worth the hike up. I will be returning when there is snow on the peaks, as the view can only improve!

A great cap to a wonderful weekend!

Pano from Marble Mountain

The beautiful profile of Crestone Needle!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

 Comments or Questions

09/11/2013 22:10
Solid entry! Raising the bar and some nice choreography & editing to boot! Mucho point as well for picking an awesome peak, which the voting public appreciates!
But, alas, that poor, poor man happened to be on the wrong peak at the wrong time.... (or the right peak at the right time...depending on how you look at it!!!) Nice job ladies!


Looks like a fun trip!
09/11/2013 22:37
Sorry I missed this one! I love that pink dress, Otina. You planning on rocking that at the Spot?


Super job, ladies!!
09/12/2013 02:26
What a fun time! You ladies really rock! And I'm sure you're right about dancing at altitude. I got tired just watching you all! It looked like more work than climbing up the C4 sections! And you may get the votes for the dance-off competition!

I also like your thoughts about keeping Steve's legacy alive and mentoring. That's one of the reasons I love doing Longs every year; I almost always find one or several people along the way to encourage or help in some way. It's always a joy to see the newly found thrill in a first-timer's eyes!

And if you're not opposed to mentoring someone a little older than yourself, I'm always looking for new partners to expand my C4 experience! (but I don't look good in pink! )

Thanks for sharing your trip!


09/12/2013 02:49
...gurlz rocked it in more ways than one!


Well done
09/12/2013 04:12
Nice report. You Gurlz climbed it in style and put together a great video while you were at it. It was neat bumping into you at the crossover.


The Needle...
09/12/2013 04:18
... is one spectacular summit, and no less for a little silliness. Nicely done!


Awesome report!
09/12/2013 13:45
Otina, once again you had a successful gurlz trip. You girls rocked it! Great pictures too!!! Awesome input on the mentoring...People like you are why I love the 14ers site. Everyone seems so willing to help and give back to people like me who are less experienced. This was one I was sooo sad that I missed. I didn't feel ready to tackle such an intense peak being out of shape after having baby #2....BUT maybe someday in the future we could hike this one together. Congrats on a successful day, beautiful weather, smart decisions, and an fun dance! (It is surprisingly VERY exhausting dancing at high altitude - I could barely do my 2 minute dance solo)


Thanks everyone!
09/12/2013 19:41
Jim - Would you expect any less from me?

Bethany - If I showed up at the SPOT with that hot pink skirt I would have all the guys trying to ”spot” me. Oh wait... that might be a good plan

Natalie - If Sara's hitting the nightclubs, I need to join her!

MtnHub - I don't think there is an age requirement for mentoring! And no, I usually do not wear pink, so neither would you!

rajz06 - Thanks. Next time, a better song! But this one just fit.

MountainHiker - Great to see you again. It's such a small world out there on the 14ers!

pioletski - I absolutely love the Needle, can't wait to ski it - seriously.

HarknessHooligans - There's always next year! I was so out of breath dancing, I couldn't even do my break-down of the running man like I usually do - haha. Or maybe that's for the better! I will likely climb the Needle every year if I can. With a small group, I think it wouldn't be bad to climb this with new scramblers. Camp at the lakes, take our time with the scrambling, etc. I know there are others who were on the fence about this trip because of its difficulty.

Ridge runner

Nice video!
09/14/2013 04:21
Haha, nice job ladies! The guy in the video looks a lot like Colin (astrobassman). Glad you all had a good time and congrats on summiting a fine peak!


Great TR And Video
09/25/2013 22:29
I'd take to wearing pink after this TR, but my wife wouldn't let me climb 14ers anymore.


great video
04/02/2015 19:45
Sorry I couldn't join (and still sad that my pick - Lindsey - didn't win, but voting was fair). You and Sara both stole the show in the video - very nicely done! Could it be possible that Sara is hitting night clubs instead of her physics studies?

Jump Roper

Miss you all
02/05/2020 16:23
I'm finally heading back to get Crestone Peak. I'll look over to our dance floor fondly.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2021®, 14ers Inc.