Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Humboldt Peak  -  14,064 feet
Date Posted:  07/13/2009
Modified:  10/03/2013
Date Climbed:   07/11/2009
Author:  mountainmicah83

 Sangre Adventure Day 1 – Needle 2 Peak Traverse  

Part 1 of 2

For day 2 see:

Link to Full TR

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Red Gully
07/13/2009 18:09
Great TR! I have a question about the Red Gully on the Peak. Did you downclimb the gully to get down to Cottonwood Lake? What were the snow conditions like? I‘m hoping to get down there to summit the Peak this week, but am unsure if an ice axe and/or crampons will be needed. I also want to summit the Needle, but it doesn‘t look like anything is needed for that one.



RE: Red Gully
07/13/2009 18:17
We climbed most of the way down the gully. Then there is too much water about 2/3‘s of the way down. So we chopped out to the next gully over. As you come from Cottonwood, you should be able to see red gully filled with snow, take the one just before and follow the grassy slope back over the ridge and into the gully about 1/3 of the way up. Bring the ice axe for sure. Crampons are overkill. The snow is soft enough to kick steps. Be careful because the snow was melting fast. It may not be stable enough still and you may have to stay on the ridge to the left at the bottom and the right at the top.


07/13/2009 19:39
If you got to the top of the red gully and then turned climbed ”East Crestone,” and not the true summit of Crestone Peak! Whatever you may have deduced from your GPS, the true summit is south (left) from the saddle! Congrats on the traverse...but you may have to make a return trip for the actual high point.


07/13/2009 19:47
Great catch. I said right and meant left. We really went left. We did go left at the top of the gully... to the true summit and signed the empty register (that assures me we went to the left side). We did not do east crestone. Thanks for the advice.


07/14/2009 03:24
Nice report Micah - Tmathews and I are heading down this weekend if he can secure an ice axe 8)


Re: Nice
07/14/2009 03:38
Matt... Thanks for the comments. If you need any more info let me know. Mountain Chalet downtown rents Ice Axes for a decent price. I think that is one of the most important tools on the mountain...


Great effort
07/14/2009 04:01
Just wondering how likely would the snow be melted off the avenue in a couple of weeks. From out of state and we‘re looking at a Challenger/KC day. Possibly around the 26th 0r 27th.


07/14/2009 09:28
Great report! Wish there were a few more pics of the traverse, but I can definitely understand not stopping to pull out the camera while the ”pucker factor” is in effect! I‘m planning on heading down there to do this traverse the 2nd week of August with my climbing buddy, and really enjoyed your beta and report!


07/15/2009 04:08
Eco- I heard from other climbers that the snow wasn‘t as bad as it appeared from the top of Crestone Peak. They recommended at least an axe still.

COmedic04- Sorry about there not being more pics. Honestly, the pucker factor was not nearly as bad as I was thinking it was going to be. There are definitely more scary routes, but other than the top 100‘ or so of class IV on the Needle, everything was really class 3 with much lower exposure than I imagined. I hope you have the same luck with weather that I did.


07/15/2009 18:47
for the feedback, perhaps by the time we get there the snow will be less of an issue. We may have a look at Crestone Peak, not sure about class 4 section on needle.. We‘ll see. We will be in a Subaru, so not sure about trail access.


little beta
08/13/2009 15:23

I am looking to save weight as I solo this and was wondering how long the rappel to skip the 5th class is so I can reduce the rope length. .



re little beta
08/13/2009 15:28
you will need a 60m or just downclimb it but the exposure is extremely high. I just talked to a guy this last weekend that downclimbed it.


down climb from Needle
01/08/2011 15:29
I downclimbed off the north side of the Needle at the end of July 2010, because I don't own a rope. The exposure was a mix of exciting and terrifying, but with just facing in, moving slowly and focusing on the rock, I managed it. It was just time consuming - that part took a solid 20-30 minutes.

Good TR! Just one question about the Broken Hand route pic - the route to the pass goes to the right of your red line, to the saddle between Broken Hand and the Needle. Did you actually go up Broken Hand directly?

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