Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  10/15/2020
Date Climbed:   10/06/2020
Author:  rudyking69
 Ellingwood Ledges and Arete   

I had been wanting to do this climb ever since I started getting more serious about rock climbing last year. Is a Classic 5.7 route here in Colorado, I think mainly for its alpine position, exposure, and beautiful views while climbing. We started at 5:30am from the lower trailhead on bikes and made it to the upper trailhead 5.8 miles right around 7:30 am, biking was on and off as the road gets steep at times and super rocky especially the last 2 miles. Ditched our bikes at the upper trailhead and began hiking towards the base of Crestone needle, made it to the base around 8:45 am weather was amazing little wind and bluebird skies. Took a break at the base as we analyzed the route from the pictures. Decided to go up grassy ledges rather than direct route to save some time from having to roping in and change shoes. Grassy ledges are pretty easy until about 200 feet from the red knob, where it becomes class 3/4 all the way to the red knob, there are many different routes you can take to the red knob. We roped in when we made it above the red knob it was easy class 5 at this point, but better be safe than sorry. By the time we made it to the first more difficult climb split between a 5.9 and 5.6 sun was on other side of the mountain leaving us in the shade and cold. We took the easier 5.6 crack on the right, there was one old piton about halfway up the route, but we were mainly using small/medium cams and some nuts for protection. Karl Decker led all the difficult sections and most did the full length of the 60 m rope before stopping to belay me up. The last difficult and crux of the climb is a 5.7 crack near the summit, there were at least 2 old pitons and one bolt on this section of the route. At this point there were a few icy sections that made shoes super slippery and hands were so cold I knew I was touching the rock, but couldn't feel my fingertips on the holds at all. The 5.7 pitch was long and very exposed, but rock quality was good and stable, I found the best holds to be were old river rocks had fallen out from the concrete-like rock. The last section of the climb after the 5.7 crux is an easy class 3 scramble to the summit. Made it to the summit at 1:50 pm with perfect blue skies and little wind, we had talked about doing the Crestone traverse backwards, but we were carrying easily 30 lbs each of climbing gear, and hauling that across the traverse and then again over broken hand pass would take too long and probably finish at night whish I did not want. So no traverse, but still had a great climb!!! Took a nice break at the summit and warmed up a bit. The way down from Crestone needle is very tricky and I kept thinking about the guy who just died a week ago on his way down. Made it to the upper trailhead and bike around 4:20 pm, and biked like a madman the whole downhill which was a lot of fun was worth pushing the bike up the hill. Made it down to car in the lower parking lot by 5:00pm after 17 mile treck and 8000+ feet gain what an EPIC DAY!!! lucky to be alive, live life, you only live once!!!!

watch YouTube video on link below

Comments or Questions
Another League!
10/16/2020 06:22
So impressive! Congrats. Much respect!! Maybe some day for me, but I'd need someone to lead the whole way. Great job

Excellent report
10/18/2020 14:43
That video was great. Thank's for posting this.

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