Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
Date Posted:  09/04/2010
Date Climbed:   09/03/2010
Author:  wesley_j

 Crestone Peak Finisher - "The Undertaker" rules em all  

Crestone Peak: 14,294
Route: Standard; starting from gate closure at upper parking lot
Crew: Jerry (Undertaker), Wesley (wesley_j)
Climb date: Friday, September 3, 2010
Start Time: 3:00am
End Time: 12:30pm
Time: 9.5 hours (hiking/climbing/chatting/snacking)
Mileage: 13 miles (from upper lot/TH at gate closure)
Elevation Gain: ~5,700 feet

The Undertaker

In the WWE world, The Undertaker has been conquering opponents since 1984. Often using his trademark moves such as the "Tombstone Piledriver, the "Arm Twist Ropewalk Chop" and the "Dragon Sleeper." His patented Grim Reaper-esque introductory music was welcomed by thousands of on-lookers.

reference: wikipedia

In the climbing world and the community, Jerry, the "Undertaker" has been taking down big, tough 14ers on his quest to climb all of Colorado's highest peaks. What started out as an uneventful summit (at the time) of Grays Peak, Jerry has been collecting summit buttons, signing registers, and taking in the mountaineering experiences that we all are passionate about.

After exchanging some emails, I was delighted to have the opportunity to join Jerry and hopefully take down a peak that eluded me a year earlier. Having been back to South Colony Lakes twice already (Humboldt and Needle w/ the intentions of doing the traverse), I was interested in seeing how the road closure would deviate from my prior South Colony itinerary.

We left for Westcliff on Thursday September 2nd and eventually pulled into the upper parking lot around 4:00 PM. After chatting with some other climbers, cranking up the jet boil for some yummy chicken and rice, we called it a night around 7:30 in hopes to get some Z's before a 2:45 alarm clock.

The alarm went off and we were soon headed up the road towards S. Colony. An hour later we were at the old upper trailhead gate.

Crestone Peak - September 3rd 2010

With headlamps leading the way, we topped Broken Hand at 5:30.

The East is getting light

After a quick descent of Broken Hand and bypassing the impressive Cottonwood Lake, we soon reached the first glimpse of Red Gulley.

Typical morning in the Sangres

The trail below the Red Gulley extends to the climbers right and then traverses left, into the Red Gulley above the initial set of ledges.

We soon were scrambling around in the Red Gulley, dodging the water trickling down in the middle.

Typical terrain in the gulley

The clouds were quite impressive and when they lifted, it was Sangre bliss...

More 14ers/Southern Sangres

A look down the Red Gulley

I have always been interested in seeing where the entrance/exit to the traverse is on Crestone Peak. On the ascent, there is a large notch to the left and a small cairn on the right. Here is some beta:

Traverse entrance/exit on the ascent

Traverse entrance/exit on the descent

After what seemed like an endless Red Gulley, we reached the saddle and began the final summit push. Here is Jerry leading the way across Crestone Peak's solid, conglomerate ledges. Mild exposure here and the route is easy to find.

The Undertaker approaching the final "pin"

Here is a look at the Needle from the saddle:

Da Needle

Five minutes from the saddle, Jerry has this left for his finisher...


And that's all she wrote!!!
Congrats Jerry!!!

The Undertaker stands tall!!!

Summit shot with the Undertaker. I suppose my ugly mug can make an appearance...

A well earned summit!

We didn't spend much time on the summit and quickly went about our way, down the gulley and ALL the way back to the truck. The remaining pictures are just random shots, some taken during the march back.

Kit Carson & Challenger

Parting shot of the Red Gulley

Crestones on the hike up Broken Hand

The Ellingwood Arete is impressive

The Needle

I was honored to share the summit and this special day with the Undertaker. Crestone Peak is a great summit and tough mountain to climb. Not because it's spooky or technical, but because it's a long approach and the Red Gulley is pretty steep and arduous.

At any rate, please join me in congratulating Jerry, aka the Undertaker, on climbing all of Colorado's 14ers. Give it up for the Undertaker 8)

Thanks for reading, be safe, and happy climbing!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

09/06/2010 23:57
Jerry - Nice Work! Way to go on a great finisher, that one doesn't come easy!

WJ - thanks for a great T/R!!!


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