Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   07/16/2005
Author:  Schuller
 Crestone Needle via the Ellingwood Arete  

A friend and I got done working on Saturday, July 16 and drove to South Colony Lakes. The road is rough but we made the 5.5 miles in about 1.5 hours in a Toyota Tacoma. We slept at the trailhead and started hiking about 0400. We arrived at the base of the climb at first light and took a more direct start than Roach describes. The first pitch was in the 5.6 range and fairly rotten. After the first belay we unroped and climbed mixed class 3 and 4 terrain until we found a very rotten section around 13,200 feet. After this short belay we simuclimbed a very enjoyable 500 feet or so until we got to the last two pitches. Another group of climbers beat us to the first of the two cracks by 5 minutes so we got to sit and wait. This section was probably the highlight of the climb, It was about 50 meters and fairly easy but you cant beat nice rock at almost 14,000 feet on a sunny day. At the top of this pitch we tracked south and up a ramp to the crux pitch. Again we waited a while for the other group but had a great view. There is one move here that is a bit challenging (mostly because of the exposure) but it was well protected and all of the old pins gave it a historical feel. From there it was a short scramble to the summit. We came down the southwest side via the standard route. The downclimb is steep but there are plenty of positive holds and the rock is largely solid. The trail crew is working on the approach to Broken Hand Pass and there will be a new trail by the end of August.

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