Ascent of Crestone Needle on 2009-08-01

Climber: David Foster

Others in Party:Vaune
Date:Saturday, August 1, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Crestone Needle
    Elevation:14197 ft / 4327 m

Ascent Trip Report

Crestone Needle 08012009
60CSx 3.05miles 3600 Ascent/Descent 6:59 Total time
Topo 3.13miles 2650ft
Mapsource 3.0miles 6:59hours

Got up at 550 Saturday, didn't rush it as both were tired, and realized the trail was rocky enough to make hard going with headlamps. Also underestimated the climb to Brokenhand pass, should have gotten up maybe30 minutes earlier. Several parties were above us, and behind us. The trail got a bit lost in the Talus, but huge cairns to generally lead the way. The last ~300 vertical were very steep, actually Class 3 in spots, or loose dirt at least. had several rocks kicked down on us. Glad we decided against original plan to backpack all the way to Cottonwood Lake, just too steep for a 40lb pack.

Got to broken had pass about 730am. Strong cold West wind and fog, but nice trail at the beginning here. As soon as the trail got into the rocks, routefinding was necessary, surprisingly few cairns, and appeared to be competing. Some very steep climbing, impossible for me except for the conglomerate rock had many fabulous foot and handholds, almost like climbing at a gym will excellent hold everywhere. There were lot of people on the mountain, to talk to and watch about the route. Very unclear where the crossover fomr the East Gully to thw West Gully should happend, except for the "dihedral' (I'd call it a chimney, two paralel faces with a crack in the middle). There was water running down the dihedral, it was hard to get into, and harder to get back out. Climbed nearly vertically out, and had no handholds to spare. I'd want a rope. A jam up at this point, but also lots of people to shout advice.

There was one ledge gettting into East Gully (see Picasa) that if thre hadn't have been one perfect foothold, couldn't have made iit passed.

Cllimb into West Gully seemed quicker than photos on the rib. The pictures also suggest a slightly different route (14ers did not have .gpx file before trip, but does on 8/11/2009)). Looking at GPX file, looks like Roach was there ~8/1/2009, and crossed into West Gully a little higher. The pictures just didn't look right, had to navigate otherwise. The West Gully was a little easier climbing, didn't feel quite as exposed, more boulder hopping, but still some climbing.

Summit was windy, with clouds forming right over the crest. Could not see Crestone Peak. Arrived 920am (3hrs up), left about 935am. Downclimbing was slower for me, but less aerobic. Stayed a little further E in East Gully, pink flagging saved the downclimb, but had a big step to get onto the rock, See loop on the map. This was about where there was a cleft in the mountain, can could see down to South Colony lakes...looks like it might be a good snowclimb. in the Spring, and avoid Brokenhand pass rockfall. Back to Camp at 110pm and rested.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2497 ft / 761 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2497 ft / 761 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.4 mi / 3.9 km
    Route Conditions:
Exposed Scramble
Cold wind from West, clouds forming on summit
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2497 ft / 761 m
    Distance:0.9 mi / 1.5 km
    Route:BrokenHand Pass & South Face
    Start Trailhead:South Colony Lakes  11700 ft / 3566 m
    Time:3 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2497 ft / 761 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:BrokenHand Pass & South Face
    End Trailhead:South Colony Lakes  11700 ft / 3566 m
    Time:3 Hours 45 Minutes

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