Crestone Needle  
Condition Updates  
Route: Ellingwood Arete/Ledges
Posted On: 2022-08-08, By: Been_Jammin
Info: Sweet route. Summer conditions. Good water source in about the middle of Broken Hand Pass. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-08-01, By: Belchfire
Info: Great day in the SahngreeZ playground. Love that interactive conglomerate rock, still test your holds!Incredibly fun, solid climb up east gully direct on Needle then ran down BH pass over to Crestone peak by Cottonwood lk. Solo in the clouds on the summit made the brain satisfied with this Monday. Then put big boy pants on and felt wild enough to run to East, then Northeast Crestone. What a sick scramble up NE. Watch your downclimb- one class 4-5 section not avoidable (as I found), rap anchor previously left slung on a rock on right of main dihedral crack to climb. Solo summits but handful of folks camping at lake and playing around up there.Clouds building before 11 but not threating until 2. Hailing and thundering (f*n wonderful but no shprise) came at about 330p, gnarly constant until around 6p? at higher elevations. That rock will be slick tomorrow. Left car at 340AM, back at 630P. 
2 1
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-07-08, By: cotezi
Info: Had the route all to ourselves yesterday. Posted some tips and pointers over on the Trip Reports section if interested (photos too). 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-07-05, By: Maricopa Mountaineer
Info: Hiked from the 2WD trailhead to South Colony lakes. It added about 2.7 miles and 1100 ft of elevation gain compared to the 4WD trailhead for a total of 3050ft and 7 miles, overall though not as tough as it seems and it took 3 hours. I camped slightly above the bottom lake...BIG mistake! I highly recommend not camping above tree line in a thunderstorm, worst camping experience thus far. Summiting Crestone Needle was Awesome though, the entire climb is in summer conditions and theres maybe one little square foot of snow you'll come across. I would be cautious about starting the climb following a rainy day because you're in gullies most of the time and there was a decent amount of water running down making the rock slippery and dangerous. Luckily though there are lots of ways to tackle the gullies so most of the wet sections are avoidable. I think the hardest part was crossing the dihedral so take your time with that and pay attention to the cairns because when you're coming down to the part where you previously crossed over into the west gully theres a little cairn that you turn LEFT at. DO NOT GO DOWN past that point. The summit was not windy at all and very dry. Note: If you don't have much experience with Class 3+ climbs then this will be more challenging. I've climbed longs (class 3) and sunlight peak (class 4) and Crestone Needle felt way more technical than either of them oddly enough, so just something to be careful of. 
Route: Crestones Traverse
Posted On: 2022-06-29, By: sam_richardson7
Info: After the gendarme there's still some patches of snow but nothing worth bringing micro spikes for IMO. Crestone Peaks red gully still has some snow but again, nothing you'd need micro spikes for in my opinion. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-06-13, By: astranko
Info: Class 3 Route is free of difficult snow. Dihedral stepover has snow in the gully. All other snow is completely avoidable. Broken hand has some snow, but less than 200ft. A party did it with just ice axes, no traction. 
4
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-06-13, By: swesleyc7
Info: Crestone Needle is good to go. When hiking to the lakes, I would advise via the Crestone Needle route on the road, past the "emergency vehicle-only gate" (South side of lakes) vs. the Humbolt route through the forest as it is obliterated with downed trees. There are several snow fields leading up to Broken Hand Pass, so micro-spikes are advised. The BHP gully itself is filled with snow, which made it complicated when determining the route up, however ascending the center seemed best to avoid slipping and using exposed rock. After BHP, Crestone Needle's summit ascent has summer conditions and devoid of snow. 
1
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-03-06, By: Grisel
Info: Trench is in all the way to cottonwood lake. From there, the wind was filling in the trench. Broken hand pass is holding very little snow. From on top of the pass, we ditched snowshoes and switched to crampons. Both East and west gulley are holding solid snow with sections of alpine ice. We bailed 300 ft below summit due to the last snow slope cracking. Started at 1:45a, back to car by 8pm 
2 6
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-10-11, By: Jeremylozano
Info: Route was dry until about 13,700 feet. Then route became very icy. When the sun was out, ice shards would fall down on top of us. We reached the summit ridge and it was completely iced over and some of the ice was melting. Found it too dangerous and turned back 
2
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-10-08, By: Piotr
Info: The route was bone dry except for BHP - it has just enough snow to make it annoying, but not enough to be worth putting spikes on. Super windy today (Friday), weather moved in around 3pm, so this report might be outdated by tomorrow. 
2
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-09-27, By: jfm3
Info: Climbed from the 2WD trailhead to the summit and back on 9/26. The road/trail/route is dry. There wasn't any ice or frost on the northern aspects. I stayed in the east gully and did not mess with the crossover. Above the dihedral, there is more loose rock than I expected. 
3
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-09-21, By: Troyister
Info: My favorite route to date of Colorado 14ers. ( I have not completed any 4th class routes or harder). Route finding was easy on the way up, be sure to look back on each gully and mark in your mind where to turn out of the gully and cross over. Lot of cairns to follow. If you do this it should be straight forward returning, which is where most people get in trouble. Had the whole peak to ourselves. 
Route: Crestones Traverse
Posted On: 2021-09-12, By: jeffh7
Info: Please be EXTREMELY cautious when attempting this traverse. The headwall is no joke. There was a search and recovery mission on a section of the traverse between the black gendarme and headwall today. I summited the Peak and Needle, but SAR requested that nobody take the traverse today to prevent rockfall from hurting any SAR members. We did watch as the helicopter rescued the body, but sadly (correct me if I'm wrong) the hiker did not make it. Here is more official information for those curious: https://www.facebook.com/CusterSAR/posts/2965272360407853 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-09-13, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Clear all the way. Wouldn't want to be in either East or West gully with any snow melt/water/rain. We took the class 4 variation up, which was a lot of fun with bomber rock and took the west/east class 3 route down. The dihedral cross-over is the crux overall and took some careful placement and trust. You can tell the minimal hand/footholds are getting used and are smoothing out some. 
Route: Crestones Traverse
Posted On: 2021-09-04, By: soundchaser2112
Info: Just wanted to recommend ascending/descending the class 4 east gully direct variation instead of messing with the confusing east/west gully crossover, especially when doing the traverse or arete. Not really sure why the top half of the east gully is rated as class 4, maybe the occasional 4 move is needed but nothing sustained and I never had to face in to downclimb. Very easy to locate when following the summit ridge east (the east gully is wide and the west gully is narrow) and the east gully just funnels you back down to the trail to Broken Hand Pass. No difficult route-finding, no getting lost, no threatening exposure, no cliffing-out, no requiring SAR! This should be the standard route. 
2 1
Route: Ellingwood Arete/Ledges
Posted On: 2021-08-09, By: ptylman3
Info: Great and dry conditions on Ellingwood Ledges. Windy and cold start to the morning and smoke blew in and hung around the entire day. Awesome route. We gave a lift in our truck on Sunday to 2 guys from the 4wd TH to the 2wd TH and they accidentally left your trekking poles in the truck bed. If you happen to see this post shoot me a text and I can get them back to you. 7274170606 
4
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-08-08, By: Dignus
Info: Should go without saying that the trail is in full summer conditions, but lest you are more confident because there is no snow be aware that also means many more climbers. Even though the rock is solid there are small loose stones here and there so be mindful of climbers above and below you. Anything dislodged will tumble down the length of the gulley. Fairly dry at the moment with just a little running water in the notch between the east and west gulleys. There is plenty of mud and standing water however between the junction with Humboldt and the bottom of Broken Hand Pass. Mosquitoes are plentiful by the lakes and aways downstream. Several deer and mountain goats also patrol the area. Smoke from the west coast obscured the more distant views and according to forecasts isn't going away anytime soon. Also take note that the forest service is requesting that people pack out their poo due to sanitation issues. Admittedly I did not notice this until too late but still did my best to leave no trace. https://youtu.be/7TsIVY8y6oU 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-08-01, By: Msbaker
Info: Left our campsite about 7 miles in (Near the Crestone Needle Standard Route Sign) at 4 AM and climbed Crestone Peak first. We were the first to summit the peak on the day. We didn't feel ready for the traverse so we returned to Broken Hand Pass and then ascended Crestone Needle. The standard route puts you in the East Gully for a while until you reach the dihedral. This is the point you crossover into the west gully (this requires a difficult class 3 move). Once you cross over, there is a short climb followed by a significant drop into the West Gully. You then climb the West Gully all the way up to the summit. BE AWARE of your surroundings and take mental notes or pictures of this critical juncture if you are going to take this same route back down. It would be very easy to miss this on the descent (and this is one of the reasons why climbers get lost and have to get rescued every year). The gullies are quite steep with significant exposure. After reaching the summit, I decided to descend the class four variation via the East Gully the entire way down as I was worried I would miss the turn off from the west gully back into the east. The gullies have a fair mixture of solid rock but also loose stuff. I had a large group behind me on the descent and they accidentally kicked down rocks twice. Both times, they yelled and gave me a heads up so I was able to move off to the side and find a shelf to hide under. Rockfall risk is significant on the needle so a helmet is a necessity and I would encourage anyone doing it to leave as early as possible to decrease the likelihood of rockfalls caused by other climbers. Overall an incredible mountain though and the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-07-30, By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: We climbed the direct class 4 line on Crestone Needle. It seemed that most everyone was taking that route and the dihedral crossing and ledges looked just as gnarly or more than the direct. The class 4 was easily manageable and the downclimb wasn't too bad. We made a mistake by leaving our poles near Brokenhand Pass, and when we returned they were knocked over and chewed up by marmots. This is a wonderful route with some really solid rock! 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-07-25, By: tortilla
Info: Needle 7/22 and Peak 7/23. No snow left to contend with on BHP. Although it's been moist with the recent rains. East gully on Needle completely snow free, I imagine the western gully for the standard finish is as well. Didn't need to avoid any snow in the red gully. Started on the traverse 7/23 and turned back due to weather concerns. The beginning portion of the down (Peak to Needle) is snow free and very well cairned. 

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