Crestone Peak

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Featured photo of Crestone Peak

Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle were the last two fourteeners in Colorado to be climbed. The South Couloir route is the easiest route to climb, but reaching it requires a steep hike over Broken Hand Pass from South Colony Lakes or the difficult Cottonwood Creek approach from the west. The North Couloir is easier to approach but a much steeper and looser climb. The traverse between Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle is considered one of the four great fourteener ridge traverses in Colorado.

Elevation (feet): 14,294
Elevation (meters): 4,357
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Sangre de Cristo Range
State: Colorado
Latitude: 37.9667
Longitude: -105.585
Difficulty: Scramble
Best months for climbing: Jul, Aug, Sep
Year first climbed: 1916
First successful climber(s): Albert Ellingwood
Nearest major airport: Denver or Colorado Springs
Convenient Center: Westcliffe

Thanks to Kirk Mallory for adding this peak.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 29 trip reports for Crestone Peak.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #21019 - by Patrick L. Lilly on Sep 10, 2007
    A long climb from the S. Colony Lakes Rd. with daughter Trisha. Standard Red Couloir route.
  • Log #18714 - by Philip Prewitt on Sep 05, 2005
    Took Red couloir or the south couloir. A great scramble, my favorite 14er so far.
  • Log #10361 - by Keith Bizzell on Aug 31, 2004
    Get up early and eat your wheaties for this climb! We left from the lower South Colony lake, over Broken Hand Pass, into Cottonwood Vally, and up the Red Couloir. This equates to about 3800ft...
  • Log #10362 - by Dan Bowers & Peter C. Key on Aug 30, 2004
    We climbed the standard route from the south. I would highly recommend rock helmets on this climb for both the south side of Crestone Peak, and the climb to Broken Hand Pass from the Colony Lakes....
  • Log #10363 - by Frank Konsella on Mar 06, 2004
    SOLOED THE TRAVERSE FROM THE NEEDLE IN 96- HARDER THAN WILSON-EL DIENTE BUT EASIER THAN THE BELLS. CLIMBED THE N PILLAR IN SEPT 2000- SCRAMBLE AFTER THE TECH. PITCHES WAS WORST PART.
  • Log #10364 - by Sid on Sep 26, 2003
    I climbed Longs Peak last October, and did not need any pick axes, crampons or anything. I'm going to climb Crestone Peak in 10 days. Do I need any accessories or just plain old hiking boots??...
  • Log #10365 - by Cary on Sep 10, 2003
    I have climbed this route twice and know some tricks to make it safer and faster! You must climb to the trail used for the traverse of Crestone Needle to Crestone Peak which is to the right of the...
  • Log #10366 - by Derrick on Sep 02, 2003
    Don't do the Northwest coulior in the summer! If you do, bring an ice axe and maybe even crampons. We were forced to make some class 4 moves in order to avoid the snow. Descended the red (south...
  • Log #10368 - by Jim Thompson on June 18, 2003
    Climbed via Red Col after climbing Broken Hand pass. Hey no one told me that Broken Hand pass was the crux! Very enjoyable scramble. Seemed like a long day since I did Needle day before. Had...
  • Log #10369 - by Chris Kowald & Dan Eves on June 17, 2003
    A great adventure! The Broken Hand Pass segment of the trip adds a challenging twist to an already grueling climb. Well worth the effort - these mountains define rugged. The ascent up Broken Hand...
  • Log #10371 - by Jason Halladay on June 17, 2003
    With a high camp in Spanish Creek were we able to climb the North Buttress of Crestone Peak, do the traverse to the Crestone Needle, descend to Broken Hand pass then over to Humboldt Summit. From...
  • Log #10372 - by Rob McCammon on Aug 19, 2002
    Summited via the traverse from the Needle in the middle of a very long day. Started at 10,200 (well below 4wd trailhead), climbed up to the Needle, rappelled off crux, zig-zagged through couloirs to...
  • Log #10373 - by Craig Petersen on Aug 15, 2002
    From Cottonwood Trail Head,I left the car at 7 AM. When I arrived at the base of Crestone Peak I climbed up the solid rock couloir to the saddle, and climbed the lower east summit first, then...
  • Log #10374 - by David Daniel on July 19, 2002
    Fun hike, keep an eye on the weather, theres no quick escape.
  • Log #10375 - by Dan Wiedrich on June 04, 2002
    I hiked out the night before and set up camp around 9pm. I began hiking the next morning around 5:45 am. Saw some bighorn sheep below Broken Hand Pass. It's possible the toughest move is on the way...
  • Log #10376 - by Jason Halladay on June 03, 2002
    We climbed Crestone Peak via the NW couloir on May 24th, 2002. We were hoping for a great snow climb but a crappy snow year for the Sangres left the couloir in a pretty ugly state. Solid, wet ice...
  • Log #10377 - by Charles Winterscheid on July 20, 2001
    Day hiked Crestone Peak from the town of Crestone. I left at 9:30 am and was on the summit around 2 pm. The south face couloir was a nice climb and nowhere near as exposed as I had expected. I ate...
  • Log #10378 - by Andrew Hay on July 09, 2001
    Very solid and fun coulior direct to the top. Great summit!
  • Log #10379 - by Josh Kinney on Feb 24, 2001
    Stayed at Upper South Colony Lake for the weekend, made friends with the local mountain goat and got attacked by marmots. Best climbing trip ever.
  • Log #10380 - by Tim Callaway on Jan 16, 2001
    summited with scott kelley. We used the South Couloir, aka red shoot of doom. summited after climbing the needle. took us 1 and a half hours to summit from Broken hand pass.
  • Log #10381 - by Jonathan Lee on Jan 06, 2001
    Soloed Crestone Needle-Crestone Peak. Thunder/snow storm on Crestone Peak. Snow-covered ice in couloir on descent.
  • Log #10382 - by Matt Kirk on Nov 03, 2000
    Greetings 14er climbers and enthusiasts. I just wanted to let everyone know that there should be a 14ers forum coming soon at http://www.trailjournals.com. If you have the time, please come by and...
  • Log #10383 - by Scott Kelley on Oct 07, 2000
    Nothing better for a couple of teenagers to do over Labor Day weekend...Me and my friend Tim Callway (both of us are 16) summited this one after the Crestone Needle. We were both awed by these peaks,...
  • Log #10384 - by Jay Jansen on Aug 14, 2000
    Great climb. Did NW Couloir. Now snow or ice. Solid class 3+ on good rock.
  • Log #10387 - by ENOS L ARCHULETA on Aug 13, 2000
    CARRY ONLY BARE NECESSITIES! IT'S A CHALENGE, AND THE CLIMB IS EXTREMELY TIRING. I HAVE CLIMBED IT SEVERAL TIMES. I SUGGEST CLIMBING AFTER JUNE 20. WE WERE TO GO FISHING AT THE LAKE, BUT WAS STILL...
  • Log #10388 - by ENOS L ARCHULETA on Aug 13, 2000
    CARRY ONLY BARE NECESSITIES! IT'S A CHALANGE, AND THE CLIMB IS EXTREMELY TIRING. I HAVE CLIMBED IT SEVERAL TIMES. I SUGGEST CLIMBING AFTER JUNE 20. WE WERE TO GO FISHING AT THE LAKE, BUT WAS STILL...
  • Log #10389 - by Rob Walters on Sep 07, 1999
    Attempted the North Pillar Route (5.8). Perfect weather all weekend but the route was less than adequetly protectable as it states in Gerry Roach's guide book. 30ft runouts on solid 5.7 climbing...
  • Log #10390 - by Ken Whittenburg on July 20, 1999
    The Peak was actually a very fun and not-at-all difficult climb. Not what I expected from a mountain that some say is the most difficult in Colorado. Great mixed climbing in the south couloir to the...
  • Log #10391 - by Kirk Mallory on July 20, 1999
    Climbed Crestone Peak on July 5th, the day after we climbed Crestone Needle and Broken Hand Peak. Climbed the South Couloir. The weather was perfect, and the climb was fun. My 41st fourteener, and my...