Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Humboldt Peak  -  14,064 feet
Date Posted:  08/23/2007
Date Climbed:   08/22/2007
Author:  joe4186

 Ninja Style in the Sangres  

Chris and I haven't done any climbing or hiking since we did the Tenmile range a couple of weeks ago. Working six days a week didn't help that. So, we both had this Wednesday off and wanted to drive a bit and hike something.

Our week started on Monday and we went to a punk rock show by the regionally famous band, The Marvin Heeymeyer Experience. Stayed up way to late Monday night and both of us had to work all day on Tuesday.

We left Breck after work on Tuesday around 11, got to the upper parking lot at South Colony at 2:30, slept till 4, and we were walking through the woods at 4:30.

Not wanting to get out of the truck at 4:15 AM

Our plan was to hit up Humboldt, then get up Crestone Peak, do the traverse to the Needle, get down and get some grub and beers in Westcliffe. .

Walking up Humboldt

Trail is pretty straightforward to get to Humboldt. Slogged up the ridgeline, gained summit and 7. We both were feeling pretty worked, we both agreed that we needed to eat some food and take a quick break.

Sunrise over Humboldt

Our original plan was to go back and catch up w/ the Broken Hand pass and take the standard route up The Peak. Feeling as good as we did at that time we really weren't looking forward to back tracking and decided that we were just going to take the North Buttress route.

A good view at 7 AM

After traversing the ridge that connects Humboldt and The Peak we got to Bear's Playground at 9:30.

On the ridgeline from Humboldt to Bear's Playground

After some fun scrambling and a few exposed sections of climbing we got to the 14,120 tower northeast of the east summit. Having done zero class 4 moves anywhere besides a couple of climbing sessions in a gym or class setting, this was all new for us. Even though the rock was great for climbing, the consequences were definitely there.

Chris doing some climbing

Climbing to 14 and change

Got to the short down climb at 11:30, not much for cairns anywhere on this route. They are few and far between, and if you see two rocks on top of each other, oh yea, that's a cairn, tough to see. The start of the traverse is easy to locate, looks like a trail, but then when you get farther into the traverse, no trail, pretty much guesswork, you just have to find the best route across yourself.

Starting the traverse

Chris on the traverse

So, we kind of knew what we were getting ourself into, but I had no idea that the traverse was that long and that, that exposed. Like before, the rock was great for climbing, but exposure was crazy, at least for us at this point in our experiences.

Chris looking down...

After the first part of the traverse we noticed some clouds in the distance and we called off the idea to get the Needle today. With the clouds and the technical style of these mountains, we were in no mood to mess around with even a small chance of weather rolling in on us. Had to make a couple of ninja moves on the traverse, but everything was going well for the situation.

86 Trail

So, during the traverse I only freaked out a couple of times but stayed pretty calm, just trying to trust each hand and foot hold I had, even w/ hiking boots it was ok. Chris had a much easier time w/ trail running shoes. I would even go as far to say, anyone attempting this route, bring some kind of low top shoes, boots are not the best bet, climbing shoes would be ideal.

A wee bit sketchy

We got to the Red Couloir around 12:15, we were both super excited to get done w/ the traverse. Did some easy climbing up the couloir and the rest of the ridge to the summit.

Chris climbing the couloir

It was about 12:30 when we got to the summit, a little later than we had expected, but the weather around us was fairly good. It was the happiest I have ever been on a summit. Met some people from New Mexico on the summit.

Crestone Peak.. Ninja style

After chilling out on the summit for a bit Chris and I decided that we would take the standard route down and take Broken Hand Pass back to South Colony.

Down the Standard Route

Got to Cottonwood Lake and ate some food and drank a Go Fast trying to find some energy to climb the pass.

Up to Cottonwood Lake

It was a tough, short climb to the top of the pass. On the other side of the pass it was pretty sketch, loose rock, broken trail, trail restoration netting all over the place. Got down and got back to the truck around 4:30.


So, a couple of lessons learned while on this hike… You should have 2 days off in a row to do hiking in the Sangres, 6 hours of sleep in the 2 nights before you hike might not be enough, and most important, ninja skills always help.


 Comments or Questions

11/30/2010 17:20
Great TR. Those mountains are serious. Way to get it done, ”maverick_Manley style.”

I think Ninjas wear climbing shoes. Def would've helped your cause.


08/25/2007 00:30

Woodie Hopper

08/25/2007 01:00
job dudes! Thanks for the great pics.


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