Climb one of the most beautiful and most challenging of Colorado's 14ers









FATMAP difficulty grade



While Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle 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, along with Crestone Needle, this remote and rugged mountain was once thought impossible to climb," writes Matt Lemke on []( The standard (and easiest) route up Crestone Peak is by no means the shortest.

You'll have to lose and regain 800 feet of elevation, and "another 2,000 feet must be climbed up the sustained Red Couloir to the summit, and all climbing is rated at least Class 3," according to Lemke. To begin the standard route up the south face, begin by following the gated 4x4 road to the approach trail.

After gaining a low pass, you'll pass Cottonwood Lake and face your main ascent. You can avoid the "steep rock at the base of the gully by following a small trail to about 12,700'," according to [](

Follow the cairns to negotiate this short trail.

Eventually, you'll reach the Red Gully and the main portion of your climb.

While the climb is Class 3, it's not too difficult overall.

However, the final pitch to the summit requires a scramble up a series of rock ledges.

"Depending on your climbing skills, you may find this final pitch to be more difficult than the gully," according to

"After the short scramble from the notch, reach The Peak's rugged summit," they conclude. Sources: