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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-08-13||Route: South Face
Info: Roadwork today between the upper and lower THs on S. Colony Lakes Rd has removed a lot of the large boulders, but the road is in transition as they continue their work. Loose dirt could be a problem while they‘re grading, esp if it rains, but as of today it seemed passable for an average 4WD SUV. Driving a Ford Explorer, I had parked with several other low clearance SUVs about 1.4 miles up the road before the work started.
|2015-08-04||Route: South Face
Info: The peak is basically summer conditions now.. There is a snow field on Broken Hand Pass that you have to do some class 3 moves to avoid. Going up Red Gully if you stay to the left going up you can avoid water and snow. At one point you have to take two steps in snow to cross a snowfield but it‘s not bad. No equipment required
|2015-07-28||Route: South Face
Info: I set out this morning to do the Crestone Peak-Needle traverse combo. I was nervous about the Red Gully from the trip reports and planned on that being the hardest part (conditions wise). I was really surprised to find the Gully relatively easy to navigate. I didn‘t bring an ice ax/crampons so going straight up the snow pack towards the top wasn‘t an option for me. However, I went around it to the left with very little effort. Then I crossed back over at a spot that was 10ft wide. From there it was smooth sailing.
|2015-07-26||Route: South Face
Info: We did both peaks on Saturday (not a traverse). Here are some tips: Broken Hand Pass: There is a good moat on the right side of the snowfield. No equipment is required if you walk inside it. You can get into it by walking ten steps across the gradual snow at the base. Avoid the main snowfield unless you have the equipment and experience. Needle: No snow at all. Solid 3rd class if you can completely follow the route. It is easy to go too far on the gully traverse and get a bit of 4th class. Peak: The red gully has a bunch of snow in various areas. There is a river flowing down the center. The climb is solid class 3 scrambling because the trail is mostly hidden by either the snow or the river. The main snow field (see picture) can be entirely bypassed on climber‘s left. Keep ascending on easy 3rd class ledges until you are completely above it. A fall on the snow field could easily be fatal (like on Friday). There is some snow near the top of the gully that is much more difficult to go around. The most problematic one is immediately below the saddle of East Crestone and Crestone Peak. We used ice axes on the descent. If you slip, the fall would be about 15‘, likely a broken ankle in the worst case. Those upper snow patches should be gone in 2-3 weeks since they are not too deep and are melting fast. In the meantime it could get tougher as it becomes icier. There likely are class 3-4 bypass routes if you search for them.
|2015-07-25||Route: Crestones Traverse
Info: Broken Hand Pass is still holding a good amount of snow, but if you want you can cross it very early and scramble up the rock, more difficult but it depends if you‘d rather be on the snow. The Red Gully on Crestone Peak also has snow in it, 3-4 decent sized snow fields, it‘s almost inevitable that you‘ll go on the snow, it just depends on how much scrambling you‘re willing to do to minimize your time on the snow. We opted to go through the first snow field with spikes and axes, and crossed one other smaller one with just our axes. We bypassed the others on the rock. The snow still varies from fairly soft to very hard/icy. I think the climb could be done without an axe or spikes, but it‘ll make you a lot more comfortable and it‘s a lot safer with them, this is not the place you want to slip on the snow with nothing to arrest yourself. Keep in mind someone died falling on the 24th, and at least three others have needed rescues from Crestone Peak, take the mountain seriously it‘s not there to give you a second chance. The traverse to the Needle is almost completely clear, there‘s a very small snow crossing you could do, but it‘s well cairned to go around it. Descent from Needle is clear of snow but difficult if you‘re not familiar with the route. Descending Broken Hand Pass could be done without an axe or spikes but we opted for a short glissade down, but you‘ll certainly want an axe. Summary, equipment maybe not mandatory but definitely a good idea. Northwest Couloir is looking pretty sparse at the top, anyone considering that route is gonna deal with a steep climb on loose looking ground.
|2015-07-17||Route: Northwest Couloir
Info: Ascended the Northwest Couloir, descended the Red Gully. NW Couloir has lots of snow and some ice still. An ice and and crampons are a must. Red Gully has a lot of snow as well. Traction and an axe are still useful in the gully as well as there are several sections of harder, icy snow. As per the previous report, there is still a lot of snow on Broken Hand as well.
|2015-07-13||Route: South Face
Info: Custer County SAR condition report is right on. Lots of snow in the gully. We did the Traverse(snow free and dry) and felt that the most dangerous part was coming down the Red Gully and coming down Broken Hand. The snow in the gully is very soft to rock hard ice. We had micro spikes and ice axes and did not feel comfortable climbing the gully from the end of the traverse. Had the sobering experience of gathering the gear that was strewn along the route from the fall.
|2015-07-11||Route: South Face
Info: Red Gully conditions are snow, running water, wet rock, loose rock and ice. Broken Hand Pass is still a steep snow climb. This photo is from 7/11. CCSAR has responded to calls on both the 11th and the 12th for injuries sustained in falls in the Red Couloir. Working with Saguache County, Western State, HAATs and EagleMed, we were able to evac Saturday‘s patient to an area hospital. Fortunately weather conditions were favorable, or this response could have had a different outcome, as her injuries were serious. Carefully consider your abilities and the abilities of your climbing partners before attempting Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle, until they are snow free. Be prepared for the unexpected, including a potential night on the mountain awaiting rescue.
|Custer County SAR||2015-07-13||1||1||1|
|2015-07-03||Route: Crestones Traverse
Info: I just solo‘d it this Friday. Didn‘t see anyone else on it other than two guys that climbed the ellingwood arete and were coming off the top of the needle just before i summited, and didn‘t see any tracks other than what Andrew Hamilton left the day before. Going up broken hand pass, there is a steeper snowfield. I broke out my micro spikes for it. I brought my axe too, which i found useful as well. From the top of the pass to the needle, there is no need to walk on any snow, as any remnants were able to be bypassed. From the needle to where the traverse joins the main route up the south side of the peak, there were a few short snow crossings, some of which had bypasses. I didn‘t feel like the snow really made it much harder except a few times i post-holed. I don‘t think i used the spikes or the axe along the traverse. Once you hit the red gulley going up to the top of crestone peak, then the snow gets nasty. Maybe it had just warmed up too much, but i found almost all of the snow was a wet sloppy mess on top of solid ice or an air cavity, so i stuck to the right side of the gully as much as possible until i was at ~13900‘, where i crossed over to the left side, and followed dry rock to the top. Definitely used my spikes and my axe here. I decided to make a loop of the trip and descend the NW gully. This snow was at least in descent shape, and i exited the NW gully right where it looked like a few wet slides had pilled up at the bottom. The NW gully might still be climbable up it if you got up there early enough in the morning when the snow was hard. Axe was used as a self-belay, and had to catch one short slide with it since the snow seemed too wet and slushy and steep for a glissade. After getting out of the NW gully, I traversed over through the bears playground and descended the Humbolt saddle. Almost no snow on that leg.
|2015-06-26||Route: South Face
Info: My plan was to camp near Lower South Colony Lake, and on Friday climb Cestone. Hiking in I didn‘t find a place to camp near the lake, and the Mosquitos were hellacious, so I decide to head over Broken Hand Pass, and camp near Willow Lake. The path to Broken Hand still has 6-7 snow fields to cross, and Broken Hand is still snow packed, except for the final 50 meters before the top. Gators, crampons, and an ice ax are mandatory. On Friday I didn‘t think I‘d attempt Crstone, since I was only two days at elevation, coming out from Minnesota, and battling a summer cold. My plan was to hike over and see what the Red Gully looked like, and head out since the return (for me the lower trail @ 8,800‘) was going to be a long day. At 6:30 am I hiked to the gully, and indeed it was snow packed to the top, my guess 1000‘. Given that it was a gorgeous sunny morning I decided to make an attempt, and reached the summit at about 10:30 am. Crestone Peak is a long hike, 20 miles RT from the lower parking lot, and the added the snow will slow you down considerably; I didn‘t reach the parking area until 7:00 pm, which was 12.5 hour day. My guess is that Broken hand and the Red Gully, will have some amount of snow, for another 10-14 days, maybe longer. This is a challenging climb under the best of conditions, with the snow be prepared for two long days.
|2015-05-30||Route: South Face
Info: S face of Crestone Peak looking good.
|2015-04-11||Route: Northwest Couloir
Info: Ascended south face after "skiing" the needle. Coverage on south face is mostly still good for skiing, except for on short ice step that can be scrambled around. Surface conditions are not as bad as needle, but still far from smooth. With another storm, it‘d be a good time. NW couloir looked fun and boney from the top. We downclimbed into it, skied whenever possible on nice cold, firm snow, down climbed the thin parts in between. The transitions were physically demanding, but a really enjoyable descent nonetheless. Skied down to the waterfall at the bottom, the booted back up a bit to descend around cliff. Dont blow the last turns... Headed out spanish creek. Could ski a decent ways on n. facing side of valley, but eventually had to admit defeat and start walking over all the deadfall. At least the trail is well marked if not well maintained. Stream crossings are all good.
|2014-09-14||Route: South Face
Info: Great conditions in Red Gully. Small stream of water running down but easy to avoid.
|2014-09-08||Route: South Face
Info: Route was in good shape all the way to the summit from South Colony. No concerns whatsoever.
|2014-09-06||Route: South Face
Info: Perfect conditions. Minimal water in gully. Warm temps today.
|2014-08-30||Route: Crestones Traverse
Info: The red gully has a stream running down on the right side, can be easily avoided. The entrance to traverse is well marked with carin. Most of the traverse is dry except little snow in the steep gully after the class 5 move and knife edge. Coming down needle south face is mostly dry. Enjoy this awesome traverse!
|2014-08-25||Route: South Face
Info: We climbed the Crestone Peak yesterday (Aug 25th). After climbing Pyramid and the Crestone Needle, I found the Red Gulley route to be very straight-forward. There are many options for going up the gulley - it was easy to avoid the water flowing down the center. Where it was wet it was not slippery. Compared to the route finding on Pyramid, this was much easier. I prefer the solid hand holds of the Needle, this is much more loose. By far it is the easiest of the climbs in terms of route-finding, but the scramble up the gulley is long and a lot of work. The summit view is worth it!
|2014-08-03||Route: South Face
Info: If you take the "short cut" from the 4wd parking lot (going right, toward Humboldt, instead of continuing along the 4wd road), lots of the trail is basically a stream. Sometimes you can get off the trail and bypass it, other times you can try to step on rocks in the trail, other times you just have to straddle the trail. Very annoying. Up and down Broken Hand Pass, there is no snow on the route. Near Willow Lake, there is again a lot of water on the trail on certain sections. In the Red Gully, there is a lot of water running down, but can easily be avoided by climbing to the left or right of it. There are still some snow patches, but these can be easily avoided and don‘t pose a problem.
|2014-07-19||Route: South Face
Info: No more snow up to Broken Hand Pass. There are about three patches of snow remaining in the upper parts of the Red Gully. Our group of 7 made it up; none of us had any snow gear. All of the snow patches are avoidable with some scrambling on the edges of the gully, though if I had had my ice axe with me I would have probably preferred to go straight up the snow. I‘d say the tallest patch left is maybe 50-75 feet tall only.
|2014-07-10||Route: South Face
Info: Broken Hand Pass is clear enough of snow for it to be only a minor issue. I crossed about 20‘ of snow that was very soft with deep steps kicked in and never felt the need to use my crampons. Everyone else seemed to feel the same way. There is a snow field high up the red gully that is avoidable to a good climber but since I‘m not, I used crampons for about 75‘. I did take advantage of all the snow I could on the descent to save time (no glissading, just plunge stepping with crampons). Since it doesn‘t seem to be freezing at night the snow is very soft.