Crestone Needle

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Crestone Needle
Crestone needle and lower south colony lake 2008.JPG
Crestone Needle, with the upper south colony lake in the foreground.
Elevation 14,203 ft (4,329 m) NAVD 88[1]
Prominence 437 ft (133 m)[1]
Listing Colorado Fourteener
Crestone Needle is located in Colorado
Crestone Needle
Crestone Needle
Location Custer / Saguache counties
Colorado, U.S.
Range Sangre de Cristo Range, Crestones
Coordinates 37°57′53″N 105°34′36″W / 37.96472°N 105.57667°W / 37.96472; -105.57667Coordinates: 37°57′53″N 105°34′36″W / 37.96472°N 105.57667°W / 37.96472; -105.57667[2]
Topo map USGS Crestone Peak
First ascent July 24, 1916 by Albert Ellingwood and Eleanor Davis
Easiest route South Face: scramble (class 3+)

Crestone Needle, elevation 14,203 ft (4,329 m), is one of the fourteeners of Colorado, in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo Range. It is part of a group of four fourteeners known as "the Crestones", headed by Crestone Peak (0.6 miles/1 km northwest of Crestone Needle) and also including Kit Carson Mountain and Humboldt Peak.

While not as high as Crestone Peak, and connected to it by a high, jagged ridge, Crestone Needle is regarded as a worthy climb in its own right. The easiest route is the South Face (or South Couloir), usually accessed via Broken Hand Pass from South Colony Lakes. This is a slightly exposed scramble with a few tricky moves, and is one of the more difficult standard routes among the Colorado fourteeners. However the classic route on the mountain is the Ellingwood Arete, also known as the Ellingwood Ledges Route. This is a steep ridge on the northeast side of the peak, leading directly up from the Upper South Colony Lake basin to the summit. It is a mildly technical rock climb (5.7 on the Yosemite Decimal Scale). It is particularly popular because of its inclusion in the well-known book Fifty Classic Climbs of North America by Steve Roper and Allen Steck.[3]

The peak consists mainly of granite and conglomerate. Knobby handholds are frequent near the summit. Snow fields linger around the peak throughout the summer.

Almost all fatalities on the peak occur on either the Class 4 traverse from Crestone Peak or the technical Ellingwood Ledges Route.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Crestone Needle, Colorado". Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  2. ^ "Crestone Needle". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  3. ^ Roper, Steve; Steck, Allen (1979). Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. ISBN 0-87156-292-8. 

External links[edit]