|Peak:||Crestone Peak (14er)|
|Route:||peak to needle traverse from cottonwood creek|
|Range:||Sangre de Cristo|
|Date of Info:||06/15/2020|
Cottonwood creek approach is in better shape than I imagined from some old trip reports, and it was as fantastically scenic as we'd read; highly recommended. But it is arduous and the "paths" through the heavy bushes are frustrating the last ~500', and maybe it's worse with more growth later in the year. There were trees down across the path but some were already cleared by the time we descended the next day, it wasn't as bad as the woods lake approach to navajo the previous week. Maybe wind has been bad lately and/or there's less trail maintenance with covid?
There was plenty of snow in the upper red gully - see attached photo left of center. We opted not to tag the peak, so we climbed rocks to climber's right of the first big snowfield to meet the traverse route and ascend the needle without having to hit the snow. But the snow would be doable with axe and traction mandatory, especially for someone that managed the snow in broken hand pass. It would be sketchy to descend later in the day when it softens though. I imagine a lot of it could be avoided with more climbing on the rocks to the right but much of it would be unavoidable.
The traverse was pretty much all dry, a couple of avoidable patches.
Photos (click for slideshow):
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