Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Date Posted:  08/02/2005
Modified:  01/02/2007
Date Climbed:   07/30/2005
Author:  doumall

 Crestone Peak via Cottonwood Creek TH  

Debbie and I drove from Boulder to Crestone on Friday night, leaving at 2:30pm and arriving at the trailhead at 6:30pm. Initially the trail is easy to follow. However, we took a wrong turn at the first large waterfall we came to, following a well used trail left away from the creek. This cost us a ton of time as we had to navigate an annoying boulder field and cliff bands. Here is a tip, when you come to the first large waterfall, climb up onto the rock immediately to its left. You should be able to peer nearly straight down the waterfall. From here its an easy hike up a cairned trail on flat rock to 11100 and established camp sites. We set up camp here.

The following morning we headed toward Crestone Peak. Turn left and ascend braided trails up a steep slope into Cottonwood Basin. This is an amazing place. We contoured toward the Peak immediatly after entering the basin, using broken grassy ledges on the north side of the valley to reach the red couloir. The climbing in the couloir is easy and fun. Here is the most difficult section IMO:

A large flume of water (easily avoided) running down its center made it a treat to ascend. We really took our time knowing we had all day and nothing to do but enjoy the mountains for the day. The summit was great but smelly. It seems marmots have claimed it with plenty of scat. I tagged East Crestone while Debbie made her way down. Great day. Needle tomorrow.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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