Peak(s):  Crestone Needle  -  14,196 feet
Date Posted:  06/02/2005
Modified:  03/20/2009
Date Climbed:   08/10/2002
Author:  glodder
 Crestone Needle - August 9-10, 2002 - S Face via Broken Hand   

My friend, Adam, and I drove to the South Colony Lakes trailhead on a Friday afternoon attempting to reach a camp at the Lower South Colony Lakes on Friday night. We didnt drive all the way to the top of the 4WD road, since we had heard of people having problems with marmots chewing through brake lines at the 4WD trailhead. We probably added a good 2-3 miles to the ascent by doing this. We reached the Lower South Colony Lake around 6:00 that evening and set up the tent and had dinner. Unbelievable view of Crestone Needle from our camps vantage point. We woke up early the next morning and started our hike up to Broken Hand Pass. We missed the trail in the dark but eventually found it without too much off-trail hiking. The hike up to Broken Hand Pass was fun, with a little bit of Class 3 at the top of it. We then traversed across the South ridge between the Needle and Broken Hand. There was one section which was an interesting navigation through some broken cliffs. We then reached the South Face and began ascending it. This was great climbing. Im sure it can be tough in wetter conditions, so watch out for this! We missed the turn-off to the western-most couloir on the South Face, but the climbing in the eastern couloir was awesome! I would probably recommend staying in the eastern couloir despite it being slightly steeper and more exposed. It was probably hard Class 3 knob climbing. Who knows, I may have even been on a Class 4 section without knowing it? We reached the summit and had great views of Crestone Peak and the Sand Dunes. Take your camera. On our descent, we descended the western-most couloir and then traversed back into the eastern by following the cairns. The descent was probably easier in the western couloir than it would have been in the eastern.

Great hike, probably one of the best 14er hikes in Colorado. This was one of my most coveted summits out of the 20 Ive done.


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