Start time: 7:00pm
End time: 9:00pm
Distance: 4 Miles
As a summer Co-op at a new job, I met 2 guys from work who liked to do mountain climbs - Carson and Kevin - and was invited to do a weekend trip with them to do Crestone Peak and Humboldt peak. Kevin and Carson are Colorado School of Mines alumni, and if all goes well, a year from now I will be too!
We arrived at the South Colony Lakes trailhead at 7pm and geared up and began the trek to lower South Colony Lake. Near the end of the trek it got dark so pulled out our headlamps for the last mile, and setup camp.
Start time: 4:00am
End time: 10:30am
Distance: 5.5 Miles
We woke up early and began the ascent to Broken Hand Pass. The trail going up to Broken Hand Pass went across ledges where the moonlight lent some mystique to the early morning adventure. After following the very well crafted trail up to the section of class III climbing, we crossed a 10ft flat section of snow. Then the helmets and gloves went on and climbing commenced.
Broken Hand Pass
After the pass we descended the rock-staircase-trail down to Cottonwood lake.
The sun continued over the hills and we hiked West where our route came into view - the Red Gully.
We approached the gully and Kevin kindly reminded us "Just ignore the fact that it looks impossible." We went to the right to avoid difficult climbing, then began our ascent.
Ascending Red Gully
Ascending Red Gully
Red Gully - Final Pitch
Red Gully - Final Pitch
At the top of the gully is a saddle between East Crestone, and West Crestone (summit). This was our first real stop we made since the pass, and it was needed because the Gully was quite a workout.
The portion from the saddle to the summit went over ledges and had a little exposure.
Looking back on the ledges between the saddle and the summit
Climbing toward summit
This was my favorite part of the climb as the ledges were lingering on the side of a cliff and climbing the interesting geometries of the solid-rock was rather surreal.
There is a 10 ft drop before the no-nonsense summit. On the summit there are only enough rocks for a handful of climbers to sit and enjoy the scenery.
North Summit Panorama
Looking east - check out that notch! (Humboldt in background left)
Kevin and Carson
Blanca and Sand dunes
The descent of Red Gully was tremendous; we had great views the entire time.
Descending Red Gully
On return to our campsite, Broken Hand Pass didn't go unnoticed. We were sure to re-helmet and remain complacent amidst the loose rock on the East side descent.
I had a nice swim/bath in South Colony Lake. I let my body chill in the water then tan in the sun for 30 minutes each before changing into some refreshing new clothes.
Crestone Needle / Humboldt Panorama
We enjoyed a long afternoon nap and some long hours of sleep. I treated myself to a few hours of the musings of psychology/philosophy audio lectures while looking at Crestone Needle from our camp.
Start time: 4:30am
End time: 8:00am
Distance: 5 Miles
We got another early morning start for Humboldt Peak. The trail meandered through some willows on the East side of South Colony Lake before emerging above treeline to reach Humboldt's West ridge. On the ridge I was able to snag a few photos of the Crestones we had tackled yesterday.
Crestone Needle (left) and Crestone Peak (right)
Ascending Humboldt's West ridge
Humboldt was a quick but enjoyable climb, and we got some good views during the post-sunrise on top. We chatted briefly with some other hikers who had done quite a few pretty interesting routes on serious peaks.
Great panorama of Crestones at sunrise
Looking South from summit
We hiked back down, broke camp, and made it back to the car by 10am.
Carson has only a handful of 14ers left, I have just begun and Kevin is somewhere in the middle.
I continue to have a truly incredible, unique experience on every mountain I climb. In my previous trip reports I've mentioned developing an addiction for climbing these peaks. I didn't think I'd end up packing in 15 summits in a little over a month. Every time I plan a trip, I sit and think about how awesome it will be, and my expectations are always blown away.
On this trip report I hereby officially state that I intend to climb every 14er in CO, and I want to do it before I turn 25. It's no longer an addiction its an obsession.