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Sunset on Crestone Needle

Climb the Inspiring 14ers of the Sangre de Cristo Range

Climb some of the most technical and remote 14ers in Colorado in the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Alpine Climbing, Hiking Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Sunset on Crestone Needle
Sunset on Crestone Needle Photo: David Wynia


The 14ers in the Sangre de Cristo Range are renowned as some of the most technical and most challenging mountains in the state of Colorado! Originally, some of these mountains—most notably Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle—were thought to be impossible to climb. But course, humanity found a way to stand on top of these majestic mountains.

The Sangre de Cristo Range itself is notable as "the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains," according to Wikipedia. The range begins at Poncha Pass above the Colorado town of Salida and runs to Glorieta Pass, located southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. While the range doesn't contain any 14ers in the state of New Mexico, Wheeler Peak, the state's high point at 13,167 feet, is also found in this mountain range.

Little Bear Peak is arguably the most technical mountain in the range, due to the incredible difficulty and danger of its standard route. If you add in the traverse to Blanca Peak, it gets even more committing. The linkup route is one of the most coveted mountaineering challenges in the state.

While the standard routes up Crestone Peak and the Crestone Needle aren't as technical as the route up Little Bear, linking them together with the traverse is even more technical than the Little Bear to Blanca Traverse. The Crestone Traverse easily scores a Class 5 difficulty rating. Completing the Crestone traverse is a true achievement of Colorado mountaineering.

Kit Carson and Challenger Point, while not quite boasting the same magnitude of difficulty as the aforementioned peaks, still require serious commitment and preparedness.

If you don't want to risk death on one of Colorado's most challenging mountains, Humboldt Peak, Culebra Peak, and Mount Lindsey, are all very approachable climbs. Ellingwood Point falls somewhere in the middle, but it's not nearly as death-defying as Little Bear!

Whichever mountain you choose, the rocky spires and vaulted summits of the Sangre de Cristo Range reign supreme as some of the most inspiring mountains in the state of Colorado!

Sources: 14ers.com SummitPost.org Wikipedia.org

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