Two weeks before I got turned around on a solo of the North West Couloir (this route should be done as a steep snow climb in late Spring). If anyone ventures into the NW Couloir as a late summer route... bring a helmet, short rope, crampons, self-belay equip./belayer and a hammer/ax as it had hard ice even on Sept. 7th. I had golf ball sized rocks fly by consistently- every 5 or 10 minutes. On the 18th, I summitted via the beautifully dry, relatively solid Red Couloir. See my photo of the nearly invisible cutoff from the main valley to the Cottonwood Creek fork- this is truly the crux of the entire southern route. This very important saddle is just north of the top of the boiler plates. Awesome solid scrambling up the Red Couloir!!!
This Peak is much easier than it's made out to be!!! The Red Coulier offers some FUN class 3 climbing:-) I'd compare it to the Homestretch on Long's Peak.... only MUCH longer. We had a blast!
Awesome Summit! The approach trail from the Cottonwood Trailhead can be quite tricky at 11:00 P.M.. Also, I was bit by a marmot near Cottonwood Lake (totally unprovoked)!
Great climb with 14er partner Alan (Alana). Original plan was to do traverse to Needle, but clouds and tired quads thought otherwise. Went back over Broken Hand Pass and back to South Colony Lakes for a long, but incredible, day.
fun ascent, and the summit was breathtaking. slipped on some black ice coming down, slid 100 feet down a ice patch before crashing into some rocks. what a scary moment, be careful up there! it was an epic journey......and i'd do it again.
Cottonwood Creek approach is amazing. Awsome, relaxing day. 48th 14er!
Climbed the North Couloir from Colony Lakes 4x4 TH with Brad Snider. I didn't expect to have to scramble so much on the walk from Humboldt to Bears Playground. The couloir was almost completely devoid of snow, but had quite a lot of water running down it. We continued on and traversed to the Needle afterwards.
Standard route from our overnight camp at South Colony Lakes. Over Broken Hand Pass and past Cottonwood Lake. Climbed the east summit first (14,260') which is the high point of Custer County. Icy conditions on last 200' before the sun struck the rocks made the east summit a little treacherous. Then climbed the main summit with Gurbinder.
Had a heart-pounding experience in the wet, red couloir that morning. A 200 pound boulder pulled loose and dropped right beside my climbing buddy who was standing on a shelf just 15 feet below. You can never be too careful.
I backpacked over Broken Hand Pass into a solitary camp at Cottonwood Lake, and then climbed to both Crestone Peak summits (east & west) the following morning, descended the route, broke camp and returned to the TH that day.
This is a great late spring snow climb. What fun! We tried the traverse to the Needle but chose to retreat to the S couloir as the weather wasn't cooperating. Can't wait to get the needle one day! Pretty good fishing in the S. Cololny Lakes as well - surprising!
Erin and I led a friend up Crestone's South Face route from a camp in Cottonwood Creek, tagging the summit of East Crestone along the way. After lunch at Cottonwood Lake, she and I climbed Broken Hand Peak. A trip report is available here.
Started at South Colony Lakes and went over Broken Hand Pass. As we began to climb the south couloir clouds started moving in at around 9:00am. Stopped at 13,400 ft to wait out the weather and finally decided to go for. Reached the summit but it was too cloudy to see anything around. Quickly descended back to Cottonwood Lake and then over to South Colony.
missed the N couloir in 01, tried again from cottonwood lake and the S couloir in 02. Hard to get to, but a straightforward climb once in the right couloir. Someone had signed the log "I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob..."
Like it's smaller but pointier (is that a word?) neighbor, I've climbed this one twice and it was great both times. Backpacking up to Cottonwood Lake is a pretty tough hike, but well worth it. If you get the chance, climb the East Crestone Peak - it's a new perspective.
Encouraged by success on Kit Carson and Challenger the week before, Erin and I returned to the Sangres to try Crestone Peak. We used the Cottonwood Creek approach, and we had an interesting time negotiating that trail in the dark. We reached Cottonwood Lake at daybreak, but ominous clouds greeted us in the morning light. After waiting for a break in the clouds, we summitted Crestone Peak. We were so excited, we forgot about East Crestone.... guess we'll be coming back someday! A trip report is available here.
This is a good, manageable route on an exciting fourteener peak. Climbed the Peak first, then Crestone Needle and Humboldt. It makes for a long but memorable day! Highly recommeded.
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.
Day 2 of my Crestone hikathon. Beautiful peak but I was a little disappointed in the route. It seemed like I was not using my hands enough for it to be a class 3 route. Maybe I am that good?
This is a classic class 3 route with a wonderful summit. Thanks to Andy for joining me on this climb. It was a great day in the Sangres, and this is a peak which rates as one of my favorites. See photos of this trip on my website.
I had a great time climbing with Alan Ellis. We left camp at South Colony Lakes at 4:30 and were on the summit by 8:45. The weather was beautiful and the climb was a blast. We made it back to camp by 13:30. This was my first taste of the Sangre de Cristos. I'll be back!