Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Date Posted:  09/23/2013
Modified:  10/09/2013
Date Climbed:   09/07/2013
Author:  climbnowworklater

 Crestone Traverse from Cottonwood Creek TH  

Stereo311 and I did this trip and here is our experience. A video of the trip is available to view below.

The trail is very clear for the first few miles. Then rock cairns and beaten path mark the way to the river where you turn North.
After turning North and heading up towards Cottonwood Lake is where the cross country hiking starts. We had a GPS but really didn't need it.
We checked it periodically to confirm our direction but it was pretty straightforward. It is appx 5 miles and 4000' to CW Lake and it took us appx 4 hours. This hike in is probably to arduous for most and should ensure privacy for those who make it to the lake.

The traverse was great. Cairns periodically. Again, had GPS, only used to confirm direction a few times. The 5.2 move or moves probably weren't that hard and the Knife Edge was only 15 feet of climbing. The best part of the climb for me could also be perceived as the scariest for others: The class 4 summit pitch on the Needle. I thought the rock was solid and gave me a lot of confidence but was very exposed. Stereo311 thought the exposure was worse than the Knife Edge on Capitol. Approach this section prepared and ready.

We found the down climb off the needle to be hyped as scarier than necessary. In addition to others on the mountain, there was tape, cairns, and a pretty obvious drop off if you don't cut over. The traverse took us about 2 hours and the down climb about 1.5 hours.

Final thoughts: Cottonwood Creek TH is awesome. I was so thankful to avoid BHP first thing in the morning. Waking up and just leisurely hiking to the start of the "red" was awesome.



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