Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  07/01/2010
Date Climbed:   06/27/2010
Author:  Kitten
 Almost Crestone Needle...  

We were camping at South Colony Lakes for the weekend.
We had hiked Humboldt Pk the day before and we had thought about attempting the Needle on Sunday, although we knew we did not have much time given the fact that we also had to pack camp and hike back to the TH and drive all the way back, which would require almost all day. So the goal was to scout much of the route and at least make it to Broken Hand Pass and take a look at the remaining route. However when the peak is there and so close... the climbing bug starts growing up... That was a pretty day to hike, the redish colour of the mountain was inviting us to go up...


Broken Hand Pass:


We woke up at 5.30 am and started a little bit after 6am. The hike up to BH Pass was easy enough to follow with the big cairns along the route.



There were 3 patches of snow to cross, it was not too steep but it felt good to have the ice-axes handy.


And finally the last climb up to BH Pass, there was snow and it was a little bit icy, so we took our time going up. A climber (you can actually see him above me) passed us on his way to Crestone Peak. I am not so used to hike on snow and that was a little bit of a challenge for me, I am glad we had the ice-axes and some rope, just for reassurance.


Once we got to the Pass we felt good and decided to continue, the first crux was done so we proceeded to the next ones. The next one was a little bit of downclimbing and I asked Mike to belay me, which again felt better than just hoping down on a steep rock. I prefer to play safe.



After that we continued climbing on these fun rocks and we got to the point where we had to cross to the west gulley. We had been reading a lot and studying the pictures posted by many climbers. But once you are there it is difficult to reconigze the exact spot. We got there but we did not see the cairn on top of the pass (maybe our position was not righ to be able to see it), so we decided to go down and look for the spot. We found another crossing but that one had a steep cliff so that was not an option. Finally we climbed up again and by carefully looking around we think we found the spot, here is a picture:


And this was one of the problems:


Some snow to cross (even though it is a little patch), but I did not feel comfortable. Mike crossed over and took a look at the other side. Also weather was coming, we had lost a lot of time trying to find this crossing point and we finally decided to call it off. We were at 13,500 feet, but without knowing what was ahead of us and not having enough time we felt it was safer to head back and try another time. We were the only ones in the mountain that day, we had the mountain to ourselves, and she was inviting us to come back another day...


Next time we will know the route and we will have more time to conquer it, she will wait for us!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

07/02/2010 12:28
Hey, thanks for posting the TR. We‘re headed there this week and were wondering about current conditions.


Next Time
07/03/2010 02:20
Yes, that is the easiest crossover point. You can keep it at class 3 by going over at that point. Approach the notch at the top from the right and climb up along the rock rib to reach the notch. You already made it over the hardest part IMO when you got past the big rock at Broken Hand Pass with the ice on the left side of it. I was just up there on Wed (30th).


07/15/2010 04:13


Who mentioned class II?
07/14/2010 18:27
Well, I have done Capitol and Maroon Peak, which are class III too. So, I am comfortable with this class and I did not need ropes there. Here, and because of snow and ice (notice our climb was at the end of June!) we were just playing safe with the ropes, who says not to use them?
I find it arrogant from you to be telling people which class they should climb without kknowing them! just my opinion to your arrogant comment
Congratulations for making the peak in only 3 hours and a half. When I get mine I will at least post the pictures.


07/15/2010 04:14

Mountain Mike

Stick to Class II? Why?
07/14/2010 21:46
I saw the comment from TheSteege (Chris) about ”NO reason for bringing ropes on any part of this climb” and felt that I should make a small comment.

A short piece of 8/9mm rope is always a good thing to have along when there is exposure, snow, ice, and the possible need for a short rappell or climb down (how about wet rock from sleety snow and rain). I see accident reports like the one on Little Bear and am not suprised that people take risks, become seriously injured, or worse. Often they are not properly prepared with ice axe and rope or trained in their use. The comment by TheSteege just propigates this ”take chances” attitude.

The mountaineer has three symbols, the boot (not tennis shoes and trail shoes), the ice axe, and the rope. My Bible is Freedom of the Hills on the ”Sport of Mountaineering”, not hiking. My philosophy is straight from there. There is nothing incorrect about having your mountaineering tools with you when you go hiking and climbing in the mountains. They are what give you Freedom of the Hills, it is not necessary to walk in the exact footsteps of others, nor to turn around and hide from the first dark cloud.

In fact, I propose that many of the accidents occurring on the 14teeners is a result of a bit of a carefree or take a dare type of attitude. The Old Boy Scott motto of ”Be Prepared” is not bad advice. Also we must all learn and what better opportunity than on the more challenging of the 14teeners at the Class 3 and 4 level.


Good Report
07/28/2010 20:02
This climb is not a cake walk, and as with any 14er it is important to be comfortable with what you are doing, and playing it safe is never a bad idea. You aren't the first person to lose the trail at that point. It gets hairy especially at that time of year, and if you can't find the correct ridge you could be doing some class 4 scrambling.

When we did the needle, we took a bit of time in finding the chute so we could keep it class 3, and its much more comfortable of a climb with the rope. Great trip report, good luck on your next attempt! I can't wait to hit the needle again!

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