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Crestone Peak  
Report
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2013-04-30  (any)  As of a few days ago, visible snow on the Crestone group from the west was at its highest point of the year. The last few days have been mostly sunny with very high temperatures (70s in the valley) and snow is visibly less with each day. There appears to still be full snow cover from about 11000‘ and up. Visually, the Crestone group appears to have significantly more snow than the Blanca group now. Kit Carson avenue is a mass of white, and no doubt all the gullies are pretty deep as well. More snow is forecast for tomorrow. The east side of the range is more north-facing and no doubt holds a lot more snow by this point. jdorje   2013-04-30  0       
2013-02-16  South Face / Red Gully  Solo mission for Crestone Peak via Cottonwood Creek was a success. A truly wonderful day. Otina/Kevin‘s group trail was still there for the first 2 miles (I thank you kindly for this) after that it was all me. Snow was pretty good in the Red Gully. Some spots in the middle of the couloir that I shyed away from. 1st Pic - Red Gulley 2nd - look up at the bottom (4th class rock bands were negotiated in the bottom of the couloir but after that it was snow sailing) 4th - Summit Ridge If anyone would like more info or pics I would be glad to provide them. Humboldt looked kinda dry as was the traverse to Needle. Kit Ave pretty loaded. FireOnTheMountain   2013-02-18 4  1 1  Edit Delete 
2013-02-02  South Face / Red Gully  This was without a doubt the most exhausting day I have ever had climbing 14ers in Colorado but also one of the most rewarding. Yesterday all 7 of us Kevin (Kevin Baker) Otina (bergsteign) Ryan (Dchild10) Prakash (maverickmanley), Heather, myself (another Ryan) and Sophie (my dog) successfully summited Crestone Peak after a brutal 18 hour day. 11.25 hours up and 6.45 hours down. The term of the day is "post hole." We started at 4am and the first 2 or 3 miles we wore microspikes which helped with traction. After that it became time to put the snowshoes on as the snow got deeper . . .and deeper . . . and deeper. The rest of the approach to the Crestone Peak was brutal as we worked our way through knee to thigh deep snow while wearing snowshoes. While the snow sucked the views were absolutely spectacular. We ditched the snowshoes just below the base of the peak as temps were warm enough . . .or at least I was working hard enough I could temporarily wear a tshirt. By the time we were at the base of the Red Gully we had already been on the trail 8 hours. We thought the snow would be more compact and be able to crampon up. The whole upper peak was covered in snow and frost which made us pause. We were confident enough that the snow in the gully wouldnt slide but decided to stay high left on whatever rocks we could find just in case. Stilll we post holed the whole way up in crampons. The snow up the Red Gully was as my good friend Jeff Golden (SurfNturf) would say "about as supportive as a strippers father." At the top of the gully we thought the worst conditions were over but we were wrong. Countless times during the day we though we would have to turn around but with a good team helping eachother out we succeeded. The final 65 feet gave us the most pause. However, we worked together helping each other find hand, feet, and ice axe holds taking an additional 30 minutes as we very carefully traversed and climbed over frost and sugary snow. We finally summited at 315pm and knew we had to turn around right away to get down the Red Gully before dark. We spent less than 5 minutes on the summit. Again we helped each other down the top section taking our time and then carefully made our way down the Red Gully. We were able to carefully plunge step our way down a majority of the Red Gully. We still had to be very careful though. We got back to our snowshoes at the base of the peak just as it was getting dark and began the long endless walk out. Kevin had done the traverse two weeks ago. I asked him how much more snow there was this time than last time and he said "oh about 2 more feet". kushrocks   2013-02-03 4  1 2  Edit Delete 
2012-10-24  any  After weeks without snow, there was significant snowfall on the 12th and 13th, on all of the Crestone group if not all of Colorado. Photo 1 is from evening on the 13th (yeah, it doesn‘t even show Crestone Peak...conditions report is under CP as it‘s the highest). As of the 25th there had been no further visible snow. Significant snow remains on north-facing slopes above ~12,000, while south-facing slopes were basically clear of it. On the morning of the 26th there was a bit of new snow. jdorje   2012-10-12 1  2    
2012-09-22  South Face / Red Gully  Climbed Crestone Peak from S. Colony Lakes. Snow is still on BHP, and packed down. So it‘s there for a while and probably for good. We brought spikes, wore them once. You can skirt around it. But if you want peace of mind - might as well bring them. Peak, Needle and the traverse were completely snow free. forbins_mtn   2012-09-23  0     Edit Delete 
2012-09-16  Crestones Traverse  Approaching from S Colony Lakes, the climb up BHP had a few inches of snow starting at around 12500‘. Getting up to the pass is very doable, but microspikes are recommended. As of Sunday, the standard routes up both the Peak and the Needle, as well as "E Crestone", were virtually completely free of snow from BHP. No special gear needed. Watch for patches of slick ice on either route in the morning. "NE Crestone" was more difficult to approach, as the north side of the Crestones holds several inches of snow--enough to be treacherous, but not enough where ice axe and crampons would be useful. We had to approach above the couloir on low 5th class rock, though once the saddle between "E Crestone" and "NE Crestone" was attained, the climb was straightforward and snow-free. The traverse was almost entirely snow-free, though there were a few inches of snow on the part of the traverse in the gully to the R of the Black Gendarme, as well as the first set of ledges after the short knife edge. This information is current as of Sunday; a bit of precipitation is supposed to fall today, but with good weather the rest of the week, these conditions are likely to hold through next weekend. A TR is forthcoming... ChrisinAZ   2012-09-17  0  3      
2012-06-30    Conditions: Summertime. The only navigation issue was exiting the Red Gully onto the traverse. Do not descend below 13,780 until you are on route. Once you are on it, it is surprisingly well cairned. If you stay on route, the rock is pretty solid. Off route and even some on route there are loose rocks. Test everything. Nelson   2012-07-01  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-25  South Face / Red Gully  Great conditions! Great Trip! The Upper 4WD South Colony TH road is in good condition. The worst part is within the first 500 yards. After that it gets better. Carefully navigate a large hole right off the start and then just take it easy from there. Subaru Forester had no major issues and we saw some sedans up there too (though that might have been pushing it a little). We went through minimal snow pack up to Broken Hand Pass with trekking poles only. At the top of the largest snow pack on the way up Broken Hand Pass there is a large loose rock. It is a natural place to step, but it WILL break loose soon. I‘d say it‘s about the size of a big window air conditioner. Probably over 600lbs. Would do some serious damage if someone was below it. It was close to breaking loose when we were there so it might have already gone. There is a little tricky spot where you have to shimmy between rock (on right) and icy snow (on left) just above this loose rock. Be cautious in this spot. No great foot holds, especially for shorter legs (mine). After that it is a solid Class 2-3 climb. There are a couple of sections up the Red Gully that are a tad nerve racking for someone who doesn‘t love heights, but all manageable for anyone with minor experience. While few sections are loose rock you still might consider a helmet. We say people with and without. All in all the track is in great shape and it is an awesome climb in the Sangre de Cristos! Message me if you need more info. Thanks. hleemartin3   2012-07-01  0     Edit Delete 
2012-06-23  North Buttress  The north buttress route is mostly snow-free as are the routes up "Northeast Crestone" and "East Crestone". There is a bit of lingering snow at the top of the northwest couloir that we avoided by climbing up the rock on the right side of the couloir. In speaking with people who came up the standard (south/red gully) route, any snow left is completely avoidable. Traverse to the Needle is dry as well. tmathews   2012-06-25  0  2      
2012-05-02  South Face / Red Gully  I climbed the Red Gully yesterday via the South Colony Lakes TH. The red gully itself has continuous snow for 3/4 of the way, and there are some icy spots in the lower gully that are avoidable if you climb on the rocks off to the side of the gully. I initially climbed up the class 3 rock on the right side to avoid the lower icy sections before I actually entered the gully, and once I did there was a short snow section to climb up before I left the gully again and climbed up the rocks on the left side to avoid more waterfalls. After this though it‘s a standard snow climb to the top of the gully. There‘s barely any snow left on the scramble from the gully to the summit, although I did encounter one or two icy spots. The snow in the gully definitely gets soft early in the day! I broke a trail up to Broken Hand Pass and used crampons/ice axe the whole way in the morning, then coming down the snow was soft enough I didn‘t need crampons. Thanks to whoever left a long glissade track coming down the pass...it made breaking trail up the pass easier in the morning! On the other side of the pass it‘s mostly dry with a few sections of snow down to Cottonwood Lake. There was evicence of one wet slide off to the right of broken hand pass from a day or two ago...it‘s probably not a good idea to be going up or coming down the east side of the pass late in the day if it‘s been warm. Cottonwood Lake and Upper S. Colonly Lake are still frozen over, however, Lower S. Colonly Lake is melted out at either end. On the way up I took the longer trail up to Broken Hand Pass (the "Crestone Needle/Lower SCL" Trail) and on the way down took the shorter trail (the Humboldt Peak/Upper SCL" Trail). However, the Humboldt Peak trail is sort-of a nightmare right now...there are zillions of downed trees, deep patches of snow where you posthole up to your waist, and a lot of times it‘s difficult to follow the trail. It probably would‘ve taken me the same amount of time to go down the longer way! I brought snowshoes but didn‘t use them. In the morning the snow was hard enough to walk on, and in the afternoon the sections where I was postholing and could‘ve used them were so intermittent that I would‘ve taken more time just taking the snowshoes off and putting them back on again. If anyone wants more info (or to see more pictures) let me know! Image #1: Broken Hand Pass (east side) - note the wet slide off to the right! Image #2: Broken Hand Pass (west side) Image #3: Red Gully Image #4: Crestone Needle sstratta   2012-05-03 4  6    Edit Delete 
2012-03-25  South Face / Red Gully  Ever consider that when you call them the Sangres, you‘re essentially calling them the Bloods? I think that‘s amusing. Snow in the gully was in excellent condition for climbing, so-so for skiing. Snow is beyond rotten everywhere below treeline, made the ski out rather interesting. Feel free to send me a message if you‘d like to know more. George James   2012-03-26 4     Edit Delete 
2012-01-30  South Face / Red Gully  Attempted this route on 1/30, however, due to having difficulty routefinding in upper Cottonwood Creek I didn‘t make very good time and had to turn around about 2/3 way up red gully. It got to be too late in the day, and I wanted daylight for my descent back into Cottonwood. The gully is in great condition though (although looks like the area is expecting some snow soon...that‘ll probably change things)! sstratta   2012-02-01 4     Edit Delete 
2011-10-01    Conditions for the Crestone Traverse (Peak to Needle) were great. Some snow up Broken Hand Pass towards the top. The Red Gully had some water running down it, but avoidable. Descend in the Red Gully more than you think to start the Traverse. There are cairns for most of the way leading you. Use other trip reports from here for directions. We thought the final 100 feet was more difficult than the short 4th or 5.2 class sections by the black gendarme. Beware of a little loose rock during the final 100 feet! pianogirl   2011-10-03 3     Edit Delete 
2011-09-25  South Face / Red Gully  I took the standard route to Crestone Peak, from Colony Lakes over to the red gully. The south side of Crestone Peak and Needle is devoid of snow -- except there is water running in the red gully. The northwest couloir is full of snow however. And the last stretch leading up to Broken Hand pass has some very awkward snow. An ice axe is recommended for the stretch below Broken Hand pass. pinhead   2011-09-26  0     Edit Delete 
2011-09-24    Hiked over Broken Hand pass on Friday, 9/23, climbed Crestone Peak and traversed to Crestone Needle on 9/24. The weekend weather was very fine, routes were almost completely free of previous weekend‘s snow, except for a couple small patches of snow in the gully alongside the Black Gendarme and the top several hundred feet of Broken Hand pass on the North Side of course. Even so, Broken Hand was negotiable with heavy packs and no ice axes or crampons, but I would recommend real hiking boots, as in Vibram soles or equivalent. The same is true for the small amount of snow in the gully on the traverse, though you can climb around most of this on rock. No ropes or equipment were used on the traverse, just hiking boots. As advertised, the last hundred feet on Crestone Needle was lower 5th class climbing with lots of exposure, easy for a rock climber, but a rope might be required for novices or those who fear height! Enjoy the Crestones while you can, snow will be coming soon. -Chris Wilcox- sinyala1   2011-09-29  0     Edit Delete 
2011-09-24  South Face / Red Gully  Only snow remaining from last week‘s storm is on the ascent to Broken Hand Pass. Traction in the form of microspikes was definitely helpful here, but the snow is melting quickly. Water running down the red gully is completely avoidable. NW col is definitely holding snow. Photo 1: C. Needle from lower South Colony Lake Photo 2: Ascending Broken Hand Pass Photo 3: Red gully Photo 4: Looking down the NW Col route anna   2011-09-25 4     Edit Delete 
2011-08-10  South Face / Red Gully  Climbed this peak on 08/06/11. The rock was good and for the most part stable...you have to switchback and forth within the gully to find the more stable line up the route. Pay attention on your descent from the peak, and make sure you are listening to other climbers yelling out "rock"...I got naile din the leg by a rock and it hurt pretty bad. BHP was the worst though...it is loose dirt and rock, it royally sucked. Be careful on the way up and down this pass. apasquel   2011-08-10  0     Edit Delete 
2011-07-23    No ice tools needed at this time. Wentzl   2011-07-25  0     Edit Delete 
2011-07-16    The Cresones are mostly dry now. The Ellingwood Arete was dry and there was no snow present. The traverse was dry as well. There was patchy snow and running water in the Red Gully in a few places. It was not difficult to go around. We brought axes and crampons, they were not necessary. I would not bring them any time soon on these routes. The south face of the Needle looked pretty dry from Cottonwood Lake and the summit. taylorzs   2011-07-18 4     Edit Delete 
2011-07-09  South Face / Red Gully  Red Gully is climbable without axe or crampons. Traverse to the Needle is in good shape, too. tmathews   2011-07-10  0     Edit Delete 

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