Crestone Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-06-12, By: AndyFromDenver
Info: I started at 3:45 a.m. from the 2WD trailhead and had an easy hike up to South Colony Lakes with a goal of Crestone Peak and an attempt at the traverse. There were a few snowfields where crampons helped after the old road closure, but nothing too bad. After South Colony Lakes, things turned south with some difficult snowfields. Already at 8 a.m. the snow in the snowfields was very slushy (not sure that it froze overnight based on the temps when I started hiking and the lack of ice on any standing water I saw) and my half-inch spikes were sliding a lot on the low-grade slopes. After some challenging scrambling over the rock fields, I gave it a go up until the final push over Broken Hand Pass, but with the condition of the snow, there was no way I was making it up there safely. I would say you need Everest-type gear to get over that slushy snow right now. I turned around and settled for Humboldt. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-06-12, By: tjfoelix
Info: Summitted the peak and Needle in 1 day via standard routes. Camped at South Colony lakes night before and after climbs. Started at 4. 17 hour day. The red gully is loaded with snow. Either you choose 1500 feet of sustained class 3/4 scrambling left of it or crampon and axe up it. Either of those or wait for it to dry out. If you are not comfortable with class 4 terrain and lots of exposure just wait for it to melt. It was a fun climb for my buddies and I but class 4 and exposure are fun for us. This peak is definitely a fun climb but would have been significantly less effort had it been dry. Pictures attached. Post anything you wish to ask in the comments. Please also see Crestone Needle update of mine for more info. 
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Route: Northwest Gully
Posted On: 2021-05-17, By: ScreeSurfer
Info: Climbed Humboldt/Crestone Peak/Crestone Needle from Rainbow Trail today. Was able to drive all the way to the Rainbow Trail shoveling once to get through minor left over snow on the south side of the road (was able to drive down with no problems). Took the east ridge route up and over Humboldt sinking knee deep in soft snow nearing treeline but didn't put snowshoes on. Ridge to bears playground was mostly dry and was able to traverse to the base of the northwest gully of Crestone Peak with just a few postholes through fairly firm snow. Used crampons and axe and was able to kick 3-4" into new snow up the entire gully dealing with a few minor icy chokes. Shelves getting to the summit contained a mix of soft snow and rock. Snow in the red gully was soft and I backed down face-in until the angle lessened near the bottom. Used snowshoes to get around Cottonwood Lake and halfway up the west side of Broken Hand pass. Left snow shoes at the pass and was able to cover a mix of snow and rock to the base of the south face gully with no traction. Lots of water rushing in the lower portion of the gully and was able to stay on rock maybe a quarter of the way up where I decided to get into the snow with crampons and stayed in the eastern gully all the way to the top. Descended face-in as I did on the Peak. Took a direct line plunge stepping from Broken hand pass to Lower South Colony lake, putting on snowshoes at the lake and wearing them to the creek crossing near the Humboldt trail kiosk signs. The log bridge has finally weathered and collapsed but is still usable with a short jump (would be harder with a fully loaded backpack). Upper road is still holding snow drifts and probably 20 downed trees but I didn't use snow shoes ever on the road. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-02-09, By: moon stalker
Info: Tracks stopped 1.25 miles from the trailhead. I went straight up the headwall this time instead of following the standard trail. That worked a lot better, didn't wallow as much in deep snow. Got to 12,300 below the gully but ran out of time to summit. It looked like with moderate stability in the snow you could pick a line up the gully that stayed close enough to rocks to make it work. But I didn't get close enough to the gully itself to check on the stability of the snow in the gully. I wore my snowshoes all the way back to make the tracks bigger. Go use the trench and make it bigger!!! I need to go back again to try the peak. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-11-16, By: Shawn Ironman
Info: Made it with 4wd 4runner to appx 300 yards short of the upper 4wd trailhead. Hiked in to just before the trail cuttoff for Crestones or Humboldt. Made camp there and hiked back down on Saturday. Only three other people were on the South Colony Lakes trail and only one tried hiking in farther but he said he gave up before making Humboldt. Well over a foot of snow powder up there and without snow shoes or skies its really not possible. Incredible wind at points (probably 70 mph at times). With wind chill Friday night to Saturday morning showed -1 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-10-20, By: Snow_Dog_frassati
Info: I took the Cottonwood Creek approach. I think this trail is a lot better than it has been described in the past, probably due to seeing higher use recently. The trail was never really that hard to keep track of and the willows/slabs weren't that bad. All summer conditions but weather is in the forecast for this weekend so that will change. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-10-05, By: sailingstar22
Info: Snow still present in BHP; microspikes and poles (for descent) recommended. Otherwise, summer conditions with a trickle or ice/water down the red gully that is totally avoidable. Traverse is completely dry. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-10-03, By: Alpinefroggy
Info: Used Cottonwood and dayhiked. Cottonwood is 100% snow free so this is an alternative to BHP if not having to use spikes/poles for the snow section is desired. Overall bushwhacking was a lot less since all the willows are dead. Easy to find in the dark and easier overall the second time I have done this approach in a month. Red Gully 100% summer conditions. No snow encountered at any point. Weather was a warm, low wind day. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-10-02, By: Piotr
Info: Dry summer conditions, just a little trickle down the center of red gully. The worst part of the hike was descending Broken Hand Pass - definitely bring at least microspikes, as the snow and footsteps are frozen solid and iced over. A tip: follow signs for Humbold/Upper Lake, and then take a trail connector to Crestone Trail below lower lake to save yourself some distance on "regular" Crestone Needle trail. This also avoids crossing a broken log bridge on Crestone trail. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: cmkzp9
Info: Snow around crux of Broken Hand Pass, microspikes helped a lot going up and down. No snow elsewhere on the route. Ice axe not necessary but might help. There are deep postholes in the snowy sections so you could probably do it without spikes. Snow rock solid in morning. 
Route: Crestones Traverse
Posted On: 2020-09-22, By: jahselassie
Info: Really just wanted to give an update on the Cottonwood Creek Trail. There was a significant amount more of deadfall that has fallen on the trail, etc. since hiking Crestone Peak in late June. My hiking partner and I joked that it felt like a completely different trail. Careful route finding and being familiar with the area helped. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-21, By: Sharnold_15
Info: Hiked both crestones today via standard routes. Both standard routes are snow free except for the ascent up to broken hand pass (microspikes needed). Crossing the dihedral up to the west gully on needle is a little worse given that there is snow in the dihedral but it's doable with a class 4 move. Took 2 seasoned hikers 7.5 hours of hiking to do both from lower colony lake. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-21, By: jcrom777
Info: Broken hand pass was still covered in snow. There are some footprints to follow but even when I relied on those they occasionally caved or gave out. Was up to my knees and hips in snow on a few occasions. Didn't wear micro-spikes on the way up but did on the way down. Glissaded down part of it though I don't know that I'd recommend as the snow melts it's just not solid enough for a proper glissade. Rest of the route is snow free. Side note: I didn't notice any cairns on the way up red gully but there is somewhat of a trail on the left as you ascend. That said, I think I would have preferred the more solid rocks on the right anyway as the "trail" was loose on the way down and would result in extra steps on the way up. Was nice on the way down though. But for ascent, there's really only one direction to go at that point and it's up. Trying to switchback and relatively pointless. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-14, By: LivingOnTheEdge
Info: Didn't go up and over Broken Hand as we were headed for Columbia Point on this day, but figured approach info would be valuable. Broken Hand looked stocked from top to bottom but can't speak to the depth of the snow. Packed snow at the trailhead and decently packed trench up the road to the split at the old trailhead. We broke trail from there up to the Lower South Colony Lake on the Humboldt Trail, but were not prepared for hip deep drifts and constant knee deep slogging. Melting pretty quickly, but I wouldn't be surprised if all of that snow doesn't melt off this year. Plan for the potential of full on winter conditions if you want to ensure your success. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-11, By: ekviatnie
Info: Winter conditions. This morning snow in the valley but melted by this afternoon. Snow covered road to lower South Colony lakes TH. The S Colony approach is 6-8” of slushy snow. Once at the Upper S Colony TH, 12” of slushy snow. I was the first person and the trails were not visible. I walked a bit, but turned around as I am not familiar with this area. High, constant winds and about freezing temperatures mid day at the upper TH. There is enough snow to avalanche so be careful. 
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Route: North Buttress
Posted On: 2020-09-04, By: Eli Watson
Info: 99% summer conditions, but fresh snow dustings and spots of ice are starting to linger in the shady spots of northern aspects observed around 3:00 PM. Did not terribly interfere with any of the exposed scrambling - just watch your feet in those spots. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-27, By: LetsGoMets
Info: Summer conditions. Smoke conditions: Excellent today, air quality felt good, blue skies and a very minimal haze with good distance viz. Best day I've seen in a couple weeks for sure. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-09, By: durkan
Info: Camped down near and with enough distance from South Colony Lakes. Conditions dry the whole way, minus in the red gully (avoidable). After tagging Crestone Needle via standard route, we had service to re-verify our weather window for Crestone Peak and then went for it. If you decide to do the standard route for both Crestones in a day and avoid the traverse, I suggest doing them in the order like we did: Crestone Needle, then Crestone Peak since the red gully on Crestone Peak requires less route finding and the ridge after is well cairned. 
Route: Cottonwood Creek
Posted On: 2020-08-09, By: macg91
Info: Summited both Needle and Peak via standard routes (no traverse) as a day hike from Cottonwood Creek. This makes for a long day but is doable if you're fast and the weather holds up. As others have noted conditions on the approach trail seem to have improved over the past years. First few miles are clear and easily navigable by headlamp. Last mile or so is steeper with a bit of route finding and some bushwhacking but I didn't feel this slowed me down too much. Overall this seemed like a good alternative to the South Colony Lakes approach especially if you don't want to deal with the 4wd road, with less total mileage and no need to regain Broken Hand Pass after summiting the Peak. 
Route: Crestones Traverse
Posted On: 2020-07-31, By: Bspryn880
Info: Did the Peak to Needle route. Route finding was pretty straightforward except for the beginning. Going back down the Red Gully from the peak, try and stay as far left as possible to locate the beginning of traverse. I would guess its around 13,300, think 14ers quotes 13,600? Other than that Cairns are nicely dispersed throughout. I would highly recommend this traverse, I did it solo and the last crux wall up needle wasnt as scary as they say imo. I took the middle of the three up the final pitch and felt like that was the best move. Didnt have the "o shit exposure" that the left side has, and not as difficult as the right. Happy climbing! 
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