I climbed this one a couple of years ago, up the standard route: South Couloir from South Colony Lakes. I had the South Colony Lakes all to myself: a gift from the mountain gods, if ever there were one. I have a (long-ass) trip-report here.
The Needle has to be one of my all-time favorite climbs: right up there with Holy Cross and Pyramid. I'll be coming back for years to come. Later this year, I'll try the traverse from the Peak; maybe the Ellingwood Arrete next year, after I've gained some more trad-leading experience.
This has got to be one of the best Forteeners in the state. I've actually climbed it twice (Sept. of 2000 as well), and the scrambling can't be topped - what a cool mountain!
This was my dream climb. 100's of feet of class 3/4/5 scrambling followed by incredible steep cracks that lead one up almost directly to the summit. This highly touted route is not overhyped at all. This is a technical alpine dream...wow I want to go back right now. It was nice for me to set a goal and meet it. Three years ago I had been a timid beginner scared even by steep talus slopes and fast forward to 2002 and I'm leadin up a steep tough pitch. RIP Mr. Ellingwood you brilliant man.
Crestone Needle and Humboldt in a day is a grunt! Especially when you start near the 2WD trailhead. Nevertheless, one of my favorite days spent in Colorado's mountains. A trip report is available here.
A good route on an exciting mountain. Climbed Crestone Peak first, Needle second, then reviewed these summits from the vantage point of Humboldt Peak.
Long 3rd class section but very little exposure. Fun scrambling.
I climbed all three of the local 14ers this day in one long hard push. Real hardmen can add in Kit Carson too, but, ah well, maybe next time.
Did a wierd variation up a sketchy couloir on the SE face of the Needle, then traversed to Crestone Peak summit --- also sketchy in places; couldn't see the simple ridge route the guide described (need better guide!) -- and then slogged up Humboldt, which is the least interesting in terms of climbing, but a nice relaxing grind to end the day. Started at 530am, got down by 130 to avoid lingering monsoon weather.
Off by noon, great day
Started at North Colony Lake, pre-dawn start. We were off the summit before noon. Awesome day!
Not enough time to try the traverse the day before but I was not disappointed with the route. It was lots of fun.
Found a guide to take me up - what a true pleasure. Fun and exciting even though we took easiest route. This was a way to go if you are like me - i want to do summits but don't care to be a rock climber!
It started to hail and rain as we summited. We didn't stay long at the top. It hailed for 15 min...then the hail melted and we descended down the gully through the cascading water. The climb is great....lots of nice holds....lots of exposure. We roped for three pitches...one below the red knob at the bottom and two at the headwall. It was our first tech 14er. The descent is harder than the climb, but it was all great fun!
I went up to South Colony Lake with a group of 10. We setup a base camp at the upper lake, and three of us immediately headed towards Broken Hand Pass to scope out Crestone Needle. After walking for about 45 minutes at a very quick pace, near the top of the Broken Hand saddle one of our party (we're all flatlanders from Texas) had to turn back because of the pace.
We reached the saddle and began contemplating a late afternoon attempt at the summit. My climbing partner for the afternoon was a meteorologist and after his positive interpretation of the weather, the two of us decided to go for it.
I followed Chris as he had more experience than I had. We somehow got off track too far to the east side of the mountain. We ended up climbing a difficult class 4, (according to my climbing partner) without climbing gear.
We reached the summit after what seemed forever. I'm slightly afraid of heights, so I immediately decided we should start down.
Looking back, it was the most awesome experience in the mountains that I've had.
I had mountain biked and snow skied a lot prior to this climb, but this was my first climb up a 14er. Had I known how vast the real estate was on top of the needle in comparison to the Crestone Peak, the heights really wouldn't have bothered me much.
This was my first fourteener, and was a lot of fun. Back then I was able to get further up the road in a car than I could this last summer (2002).
The conglomerate rock is a pleasure to climb, nary a loose rock. We took a different routes up and down which made the trip very interesting. There were some pretty tricky sections (which were also my favorites) and of course the view from the top was awesome.
Climbed with Mike Bur. This was my second time on the summit, and the second time it started hailing right at that minute. We made a hasty descent down the south couloir and got off route on the awful trail back to Cottonwood just as we had done coming up. 14 hours car to car. The final class 4 pitch to the summit was the scariest thing I have ever climbed without a rope.
I camped out by the lakes, and it took me about 7-1/2 hours. The clouds were low, I felt bad, and I got off route quite a bit. The rock was not as solid as I would of liked, I would recommend a helment. The climbing was fun and at the summit, I was treated to a great view of clouds. I will someday return, do the climb in a better mood! Highly recommended climb!
Awesome climb. Trail is very rough, got off route and did a lot of steep bouldering even before treeline. At the summit I watched 2 guys come up the class 4 crux of the traverse and tried to downclimb it just to get a look. Right then it started hailing and there was St. Elmo's fire on the summit. I got off route in the descent (very bad) and ended up descending too soon down the middle of a steep, exposed waterfall mixed with ice and with lightning all around. The storm passed down by Cottonwood Lake but I was dead tired from climbing every day for 2 weeks and didn't even think about climbing the Peak. It was 10 hours car to car.
As posted in my mountain log book, "Sweet-Ass-Sweet!"
8 hrs. from tent to tent. We camped along a gorgeous section of the South Colony Creek just below lower South Colony Lake. The weather could not have been nicer. My only regret was that I didn't tag Humbolt Pk. while I was there. That's alright though, I'll be back for Ellingwoods Arete anyhow.
This was my second ever alpine ice and snow climb. What a great climb. Crestone Peak and Needle are two of my favorite Colorado climbs.