Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   07/17/2005
Author:  SarahT
 7/15-7/17 Peak & Needle std routes  

Friday - We backpacked in to S. Colony lakes from the beginning of the 4WD road. I was a little worried since this was my first backpacking trip ever and I had never carried a heavy load. We started hiking later than expected Friday evening after being caught in I-25 traffic and reached the lower lake at 11:15pm, 3 hours and 10 minutes after we began. It was a lot easier than I had expected. A few vehicles passed us on the way, only to park part way up the road (and we beat these guys to the TH). There were 30-40 trucks parked at or near the 4WD parking area. We set up camp right by the turn off for Broken Hand Pass.

Saturday - Shortly after 6am the next morning we were on the trail to Crestone Needle. The snow on the way up to Broken Hand Pass didnt really cause us any problems. The scramble up to the Needle was a lot of fun! As mentioned in a previous post, the route finding is made very easy by a green sling signalling when to cross from the east to west gully on the way up and a red flag doing the same on the way back down. Also, Bills directions are spot on. We had the summit to ourselves shortly after 9 which I was surprised about given all the trucks at S. Colony TH. On the way back down there was a catastrophic event - near the top I dropped my camera down towards the east gully. It fell about 80 feet, bouncing on many rocks on the way. I went to retrieve it and found that the case had come apart in one spot and the memory stick was gone. I shoved the case back into place. Couldnt find the memory card with all of the pictures I had just taken. I was really upset, but at least the camera seemed to work still (thank you SONY!). I had been considering going back to the pass and then tagging Crestone Peak but after this I couldnt bring myself to do it. Instead I went back down to camp, grabbed my other spare memory stick and headed up to Humboldt. See Humboldts section for details.

Sunday - Headed up to Broken Hand Pass once again on our way to Crestone Peak. Took the standard route up the red gully. It was a lot of fun scrambling and a bit easier than the Needle for the most part. Towards the top of the gully there was still a significant amount of snow, but one could navigate around it. We also had this summit to ourselves. Since we were feeling pretty good still and it was fairly early we decided to go back to Broken Hand Pass and climb the Needle once again (yes Im crazy and did the climb again only because I had lost my pictures the day before - my boyfriend was nice enough to make me feel like this was totally reasonable and came with me again). Although I was a little temped to try the traverse I wasnt sure I was ready for that and my partner definately wasnt. The ascent back to up Broken Hand Pass wasnt bad at all. The second climb of the Needle was just as fun as the first! We saw a group coming down who wed seen on Crestone Peak that did the traverse. They said the route was very exposed and had their legs shaking a bit! We made it back down to the pass right as a nasty thunderstorm started. We got really wet and made amazing time half running down to camp. We waited out the storm, packed up our stuff and started packing out shortly before 7pm. Took about 2 hours, 55 minutes. Reached the car exhausted but very happy!

I love the Crestones - the rock is wonderfully solid and the holds are plentiful!

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