Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  10/22/2012
Date Climbed:   10/20/2012
Author:  brech
 October on the Needle  

Scott and I decided to take advantage of the weather and set out for Colony Lakes on Friday afternoon. We hiked in and setup camp at sunset near the lake.
Didn't sleep much as the wind felt more like we were sleeping next to a train track all night long, but the temp seemed to stay above freezing. Woke the next morning and after eating some delicious oatmeal and the wind died down to just breezy with occasional gusts we decided to go for Broken Hand Pass and see how far we could get. The Needle from our camp
Crestone Needle from campsite
just looked to inviting
Crestone Needle from Colony Lakes
We left camp at 8:30 and made good time getting up Broken Hand pass through intermittent snow a little more than boot deep in places but very consistent to the ground, no issues.
Heading up Brkoen Hand Pass

We worked our way across the ridge to the Needles south couloir a lot of fun class 3 scrambles and some exposure on thin ledges, but the rock is amazing. It is very solid with knobs everywhere a complete blast to climb on.
the needle

We found the couloir marked with small cairns care needs to be taken to follow the routeup the east side of the south couloir to a place where we crossed through a notch someone had marked with plastic tape (thanks).

Then crossed to the west gulley and continued up. Near the top the route is not obvious but there are several options to ridge the summit ridge some harder than others but fairly easy to keep to class 3+ to 4 if you survey the climb and take your time.

The summit was amazing visibility was 100+ miles in every direction, we could see Blanca and the Great Sand Dunes to the south,
Blanca and GSD
The southern and northern San Juans, Pikes Peak to the NE and Evans. Just an amazing place to be on such a beautiful day.
Can you hear me now?
can you hear me now?
, we even found spotty cell service on top to call home!

The down climb proved easier than we had thought going up, even with the steep rock, it was so solid that going down was fun.
We got back down to Broken Hand Pass and put on micro spikes for some traction going down but even that wasn't bad.
Back down the pass

It was a fantastic day on a great peak, not sure how many more we can expect like this before winter arrives in the Rockies.... but then we can ski!

Thanks Sangres de Cristos for a great Day!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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