Peak(s):  Crestone Peak  -  14,294 feet
"East Crestone" - 14,260 feet
Date Posted:  08/23/2015
Date Climbed:   08/20/2015
Author:  goingup
 Via Cottonwood Creek Approach (you think I would have learned the first time)  

OH Friends...this is a good one. I recently snagged the rest of the Crestone Group solo via the Cottonwood Creek you like a good horror story with a happy ending? Click below.

Really great times in the Sangres

 Comments or Questions

08/24/2015 06:38
Congratulations on a well–earned summit and a wonderful trip report! My wife and I did that route a few years ago, and your description brings back many memories (not all good ones)! Thanks!

Jon Frohlich

08/24/2015 08:15
I think I had blocked out the trauma of this route until reading this report. That approach is miserable. Sounds like it’s in even worse shape now than it was 10 years ago. It was probably getting done more often then and wasn’t quite as overgrown.

Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories.. Congrats on a tough summit! I think you earned that one.


08/24/2015 11:57
If the locals think you’re must be pretty normal.

I enjoyed this approach, even the class 4 with an overnight pack. Maybe the extra spring snow made it worse (i.e., better) than last summer.


Highly Recommended
08/24/2015 15:53
Nice report. After all the fun you had, you would NOT recommend the Cottonwood Creek approach? I didn’t remember it being terribly hard to follow the trail last year, but there were three of us and we would have been moving much slower. I imagine it would be easy to lose the trail solo and moving quickly. So, totally agree it’s not the best approach in the dark, solo, and/or wet.

That said, the trail going up BHP from Cottonwood is way better than SCL side and if the road to SCL trailhead is in bad shape, I think you could make the argument that Cottonwood approach would be easier of the two. Maybe a losing argument, but if you haven’t been there, it’s worth trying at least once.


South Colony Lake
08/24/2015 16:15
is an easy to follow road. So I would say, as unpleasant as it may be, a road is a road is a won’t find yourself being swallowed by willows or sliding down a 65 degree slope full of slippery pine needles and you won’t need to route find.

And I never went to Broken Hand Pass, so no, I don’t know how bad it is.

But no, I wouldn’t recommend this route because it’s very easy to get lost or have an accident and it is absolutely desolate.

Most of CC is totally over grown and there was no trail except for the first 2 miles. Or maybe I never found it. I followed cairns some of the time, some of the time they led to no where.

Jon Frohlich

08/24/2015 16:45
I remember finding a cairn in there when I did it that was all by itself near what appeared to be an old campsite. I searched in every direction from that cairn trying to figure out what the builder had intended. No clue. It led nowhere. No sign of a trail. Just a cairn. In the trees. Least helpful cairn ever.


08/24/2015 17:21
I know EXACTLY which cairn that was. It is where I got the most turned around and ended up in a steep gully of downed trees.


Hilarious read
08/24/2015 22:11
thanks for sharing!


thank you
08/24/2015 22:19


You never cease to amaze....
08/25/2015 11:33
I just love reading your reports. "My hands were bleeding again. This is how I knew I was going the right way." Love it. That is SO Kay.


08/25/2015 13:30
sometimes I think you’re the only one who gets me


This girl has talent...
08/27/2015 15:25
I remember reading your first 14ers trip report by accident and thinking: "this girl has talent!" Little did I know that your reports are twice as entertaining when there is some suffering involved.

Can you add a page to your halfpint site where we can make climb/route suggestions? Maroon standard route on a busy summer Saturday, Little Bear SW Ridge late July (preferably windy), Vestal from Molas Pass with a backside ascent, Teakettle in summer direct from the outhouse,...


08/27/2015 20:09
I am glad I can make you laugh! That makes me truly happy!

Wait until I write the one on Castle and Conundrum on a super busy Sunday...........UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


Yup. Couldn’t Agree More
09/09/2015 10:25
goingup, I read this TR and still went up this approach anyway this past weekend. Even with all the challenges of going this way, I still liked it.

Anyway, I think being mentally prepared for what laid ahead was very helpful, so thank you very much for posting this – it made my trip that much more enjoyable. But... yowser. It is a tough approach certainly.


The Pine Needles
09/09/2015 10:39
I know that slope. Slipped and fell three times with my pack on the way down. And I know that waterfall – I decided to take my pack off to downclimb the ledges beside it. Of course when I lowered my pack and dropped it, it took a few bounces and instead of resting on dry ground it bounced and landed in the water. That is the epitome of this approach. Just crazy challenges around every turn. Thoroughly fun!

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