Thursday, September 11, 2008

Crestone Traverse (Peak to Needle) 9-7-08

I was going to type up a long drawn out route description and trip report but decided against it. The reason being that this is a dangerous traverse and I do not want to be responsible for leading anyone on the incorrect route. That happened to us and we got stuck in some hairy areas for about an hour by following someone else's trip report. Anyway the main key is to stay on the Cottonwood Lake side of the mountain until you are ready to head to the summit, do not cross over to the South Colony Lake side of the mountain. Also make sure you do your research! The route is not marked very well if at all in a lot of areas. Also it is better to go from Peak to Needle. I would not want to try and downclimb off the Needle without a rope, that is just asking for trouble.

Here is a very short breakdown of the climb:

Last Saturday Chris Deck, Kirk Tubbs, and I went down south and did the Crestone Traverse, one of the four classic 14er traverses in the state. We took off from Castle Rock at 4:30pm arriving at the upper 4X4 trailhead around 8pm. It takes about 1 hour to 4X4 up the 5-6 mile road from the main turn off. We slept at the trailhead Saturday night and climbed on Sunday.

The hike was about 13 miles round trip with about 6000-6500 feet of gain/loss. It took us about 11.5 hours and would have been quicker if we would not have gotten into some hairy spots during the traverse.

Here are the pictures from the climb so enjoy:


  1. I understand your reluctance to mislead people, but I wish you had posted a more detailed account. It is precisely the lack of detailed information that makes such routes more problematic than they need to be. I'll probably be trying this one in 2009.

  2. When you are ready to make this traverse let me or KirkT from know and we will give you some beta. The problem is that if you cross over to early you get caught in some nasty shit which is what happened to us. We followed one of the trip reports from the site and it was writen wrong. We ended up in some 5.5-5.6 stuff without rope and that is no fun.

  3. Looks like a great day in the mountains! I'm curious, though, if another report somewhere mentioned crossing over the ridge to the South Colony Lakes side? That's wildly incorrect. Definitely all fifth-class over on that side.
    I appreciate the lack of beta. I enjoy having an idea of where things go but still having the challenge of some personal route-finding. Congrats on your successful traverse.