Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   07/09/2005
Author:  ufotoaster
 7/9 Crestone Needle Ascent  

Left Dallas Thursday afternoon 7/7 and arrived Westcliffe Friday morning. Road up to South Colony Lakes was worse than I remembered (8 years ago). We were in 4W Excursion and made it half way from parking area to the lakes. Set up camp near the lake just after noon and spent the day acclimatizing.

7/9 left camp at 6 a.m. and headed up Boken Hand Pass. There was still some snow and the final chute up to the pass was troublesome since we didnt have crampons or axes. Once on the pass it was beautiful. The path seems improved and there were implements stored on the pass from a trail crew. The crossover from the east gully to the west gully is marked with green webbing and was for the novice a little dicey getting over. Arrvied at the summit around noon to a clear sky with great views 360 degrees. We had a group of seven (four adults and three scouts). There was also a cute couple in their late sixties and the Needle was their 51st summit. They had started an hour behind us and beat us up to the summit.

On descending there is a small red flag marking the crossover from the west gully to the east gully. The descent from the ridge is much nastier than cliimbing up. A group of climbers rappelled down while we were faced with scrambling down. Things were great until we hit the snow patch under the pass going back down to the lakes. During the day there had been some melting but as the day cooled the snow was slick. The couple ahead of us slipped out of control down the slope and stopped in the rocks below. During our descent thru this it began to sleet/snow and the temp dropped rapidly. Fortunately someone behind us had a rope and we were able to control our descent.

All back at camp by 4 and pumped by the thrill of the climb.

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