Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  08/19/2009
Modified:  08/20/2009
Date Climbed:   08/16/2009
Author:  zeekzilch
 Wind, Fire, and Speedometer Cables - Videos & Pix  

Participants: Roger J. Wendell (aka ZeekZilch) and Jon
Timing: About 2:15 from South Colony Lake to Crestone Needle. Then another 4.5 hours to Crestone Peak (Okay, I'm 53 and not as fast as I used to be...)
Photos and Videos: All by ZeekZilch except the two of him on the peak of both 'Stones (those were taken by Jon)


First, although not a big deal, it was windy the entire weekend - not a dangerous wind but enough to catch your attention over some of the exposed sections...

Second, the firepits around South Colony Lake are intolerable. I have a YouTube video, further below, that shows how close together they are, how much of the krummholtz (twisted trees at timberline) has been burnt, and how trashed the area generally is from campfires and pits. Remember, only you can prevent campfires!

Finally, the marmots at the South Colony Lakes trailhead ARE as bad as you've heard! (or, maybe it was a porcupine, as suggested by ROCK HOPPER in his comments at the bottom of this report) I, myself, like to hypermile (coast with the engine off) down the roads on my way home from a climb (or any other mountain travel). Only this time I discovered my Jeep's speedometer went dead. I took the next day off from work only to have the dealership mechanic tell me animals had eaten through my cables!!

Anyway, Jon and I had a good climb - we were able to safely complete both Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak on Sunday morning, August 16th. Further below are a ton of videos and pix to help describe our adventure!

Here are my personal pages about 14ers, low impact techniques, and the Ten Essentials:

YouTube videos here and further down the page...
If all you see is white space here it's because your boss has blocked YouTube and wants you to get back to work! (Scroll further below to see the photographs)

    Jon on the summit of Crestone Peak


    Jon climbing up the West Gully of Crestone Needle


    ZeekZilch breathing hard up the West Gully of Crestone Needle


    Marmot on the trail (I think this one went down a few thousand feet to eat my speedometer cable...)


    ZeekZilch breaths his way to the summit of Crestone Peak


    Windy tent at South Colony Lake in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains


    Road closure above Rainbow Trail

    Private property each side of the access road

    Jon can't wait for me any longer!

    Jon signs us in

    Heading up to South Colony Lake

    Wilderness is more sacred than any church ( )

    Go left young man, go left! (Horace Greeley?)

    Jon on some 3rd class terrain

    Shadowboxing at sunrise

    Jon coming up the Needle's "West Gully"

    Nearing the summit of Crestone Needle a bit after sunrise

    Magnificent mountains

    Jon nearing the top of the West Gully on Crestone Needle

    Jon nearing the summit of Crestone Needle

    Roger J. Wendell (aka ZeekZilch) on the summit of Crestone Needle

    Jon on the summit of Crestone Needle

    Cottonwood Lake from the side of Crestone Needle

    "High altitude" flowers at Cottonwood Lake 3,750 metres (12,300+ feet)

    Red Gully on Crestone Peak

    Jon coming up the Red Gully on Crestone Peak

    Jon on the summit of Crestone Peak with the Colorado Mountain Club's ( ) summit register

    Roger J. Wendell (aka ZeekZilch) on the summit of Crestone Peak

    Jon downclimbing off the summit block of Crestone Peak

    Jon downclimbing off Crestone Peak

    Jon reaches the bottom of the Red Gully off of Crestone Peak

    Bighorn Sheep calling card - I saw many Bighorn Sheep in the area but couldn't get a really good photo with my $179 camera. However, further below is a YouTube video of some I caught off in the distance...

    Wonderful flowers near Cottonwood Lake

    The path back to Broken Hand Pass

    South Colony Lake

    Campfires destroy fragile environments and separate us from the wildlife and beautiful nighttime sky!


More YouTube videos: However, if all you see below is a bunch of white space it's because your boss doesn't want you watching videos on the company computers!

    Tour De Firepit


    Roger J. Wendell (aka ZeekZilch) reaching the summit of Crestone Needle


    Bighorn Sheep beneath Crestone Peak


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

03/04/2012 18:31
Awesome report Roger! Your almost done! Congrats to both of you for bagging both peaks!


Nice pics and congrats
08/20/2009 06:08
Porcupines may be the cable culprits. I‘ve heard that they destroy wiring and hoses under vehicles trying to get to fluids. They recommend putting chicken wire around your car if you overnight at the Maroon Bells trailhead. A marmot came into our tent and chewed on my friends sleeping bag at Cottonwood lake last year. My friend was in the bag at the time!!


08/20/2009 14:09
Thanks for the congrats and info on porcupine - I‘ve referenced you inside the report.

- Roger


chewed cable?
08/20/2009 16:30
I think the word is out about you and your hypermiling that is why the animals chewed your cable, they were sent by the mechanics union or big oil . Also, were you a fly in your previous life (last 2 trip reports had s**t piles in them)?

Congrats on 2 more down......

Jon Krecker

Excellent Report
08/22/2009 17:13
The videos really add another dimension to the report. Sorry about those cables being chewed. Keep on climbing...

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