Crestone Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: any
Posted On: 2012-10-12, By: jdorje
Info: 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. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2012-09-23, By: forbins_mtn
Info: 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. 
Route: Crestones Traverse
Posted On: 2012-09-17, By: ChrisinAZ
Info: 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... 
Route: Crestones Traverse
Posted On: 2012-07-01, By: Nelson
Info: 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. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2012-07-01, By: hleemartin3
Info: 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. 
Route: North Buttress
Posted On: 2012-06-25, By: tmathews
Info: 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. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2012-05-03, By: sstratta
Info: 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 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‘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 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2012-03-26, By: George James
Info: 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. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2012-02-01, By: sstratta
Info: 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)! 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-10-03, By: pianogirl
Info: 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! 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-09-26, By: pinhead
Info: I took the standard route to Crestone Peak, from Colony Lakes over to the red gully.┬áThe 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. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-09-29, By: sinyala1
Info: 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- 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-08-10, By: apasquel
Info: Climbed this peak on 08/06/11. The rock was good and for the most part 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 is loose dirt and rock, it royally sucked. Be careful on the way up and down this pass. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-07-25, By: Wentzl
Info: No ice tools needed at this time. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-07-18, By: taylorzs
Info: 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. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-07-10, By: tmathews
Info: Red Gully is climbable without axe or crampons. Traverse to the Needle is in good shape, too. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-07-02, By: Nelson
Info: I climbed this on the 1st of July. There was a good freeze the night before and crampons and ax were a must to get up Broken Hand Pass. There are two snowfields in the red gully. I needed ax and crampons to get up but as the sun hit (9 am) it softened quickly. I climbed the Needle on 7/2. It was much warmer the night before and crampons and ax were not necessary to get up to or down from Broken Hand Pass. Things are melting fast. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-06-26, By: blues311
Info: I climbed Crestone Peak today. The Red Gully has two long stretches where crampons and an axe were necessary. In areas where there was no snow, water was running down the middle and for the most part I stayed to the left of it. Attached pic is the gully from the notch at 14100. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-06-12, By: dmccool
Info: The climb up Broken Hand Pass was very solid snow early in the morning. There is boot pack through the snow field and up the couloir to the top of the Pass. The descent to Cottonwood Lake to is completely snow free. The Red Gully was a mixed bag of solid snow, ice, and rushing water (on top of snow and underneath it). The top of the Red Gully holds solid snow, but is a pretty steep snow climb. Be very careful on the downclimb of both the Gully and BH Pass in late morning/early afternoon because the snow is getting pretty soft. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2011-06-06, By: tmathews
Info: The NW couloir was a mixed bag of conditions. Snow was kind of soft at the base, but firmed-up as I got higher. There are several sections of water-ice that can be bypassed, but one large section near the top required me to remove my crampons, climb up some dry rock, and put them back on again immediately afterward (not comfortable enough on ice yet). The Red Gully was a sloppy wet mess. About half-way down, there was evidence of a recent slide -- probably within the last 2-3 days of my climb. Due to the rapidly-melting snow, there were also sections of water-ice on top of the snowpack. I had to again remove my crampons and downclimb some rock to my right. There is not enough exposed rock through the length of the red gully to NOT make this a snow climb right now. 

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