Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  08/29/2009
Modified:  09/27/2015
Date Climbed:   08/28/2009
Author:  alexhenes
 Crestone Traverse: Peak to Needle  

On Friday my wife Kristi and I climbed the Red Gully on the South Face of Crestone Peak. We hit both the west and east summits before traversing over to the Needle. This was the first of the "Great Traverses" for us.

Pictures from the trip can be found at...

Crestone Traverse Pictures

Here is why I would choose to traverse from Peak to Needle (vs. Needle to Peak) again...

1. You get to summit the Needle via a route that most people don't. If you traversed from Needle to Peak you would summit the same way as anyone who climbed the Red Gully.
2. I would rather climb up (vs. down) the terrain between the base of the "Black Gendarme" and the summit of the Needle.
3. The route finding was relatively easy going from Peak to Needle... just shoot for the base of the "Black Gendarme". I can't speak for the route finding coming the other way. It helped to scout for the cairns that began the traverse on the way up the Red Gully.
4. It was fantastic to be at the top of Broken Hand pass after descending the Needle. If the traverse was done from Needle to Peak you would have to climb the south side of Broken Hand Pass.

In addition I would like to comment on the final crux pitch to the Needle's summit...

I was definitely happy to have a 30meter 8mm rope. The rope was not only light and easy to carry but it let me genuinely enjoy the climb rather than be preoccupied with the exposure. It was also a great place for a beginning trad climber (myself) to practice setting gear, belaying, etc.

I am no expert on the differences between the high end of 4th class and the low end of 5th... but I would say this last pitch is 5.2ish.

If you are not completely confident with climbing the low end of 5 with significant exposure... bring a rope... it will make for a much more enjoyable experience. If you get there and decide you don't need the rope... nothing is lost.... especially if you carry the light 8mm

We descended the east gully on the south face of Needle.


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