Crestone Needle

Salida

One of the most aesthetic and challenging Colorado 14ers.

Alpine Climbing Moderate

Distance
18 km
Ascent
1.7 km
Descent
1.7 km
Low Point
2.6 km
High Point
4.3 km
Gradient
29˚
VIEW ON MAP
Crestone Needle Map

Description

While Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak are renowned as two of the most beautiful, most formidable, and most technical 14ers in Colorado, if you stick to the standard routes, you can tackle each peak individually with a Class 3 climb. "Among the last of the fourteeners to be scaled. . .this remote and rugged mountain was once thought impossible to climb," writes Matt Lemke on SummitPost.org.

To begin the standard route up the south face, begin by following the gated 4x4 road to the approach trail. After hopping on the singletrack trail, you'll gain a low pass and face your main ascent.

The main objective is to "traverse into a large gully, climb a few hundred feet, cross west over a rib, and ascend a second gully to the summit ridge," according to 14ers.com. If you follow this crossover route, you'll be able to stick to solely Class 3 terrain. Following this route requires very careful route-finding, provided by either astute awareness of the mountains around you, climbing with someone who's completed the route before, or following careful turn-by-turn directions, linked above on 14ers.com. The route mapped here in FATMAP should be very, very close to the intended route, but be sure to remain situationally aware while on the mountain.

One route variation climbs straight up the east gully to the summit, instead of switching over to the west gully. While it's a more direct climb than the crossover route, this variation is more difficult and more technical, resulting in Class 4 scrambling. This would effectively bump the FATMAP rating up from "moderate" to "difficult."

Sources: https://www.summitpost.org/crestone-peak/150435 https://www.summitpost.org/crestone-needle/150434 https://www.14ers.com/route.php?route=cnee1&peak=The+Crestones+and+Humboldt+Peak

Difficulty

Moderate

May involve slightly more complex glacier hikes, easy but possibly long rock ridges and steep snow up to 45 degrees. Equivalent to PD, PD+

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

The majority of the route is "no fall" terrain.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

July, August, September

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area