Crestone Needle

Crestone Needle is a Colorado 14er 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 and also including Kit Carson Mountain and Humboldt Peak. While not as high as Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle is a more difficult peak to bag. The easiest route is the South Face usually accessed via Broken Hand Pass from South Colony Lakes. This is a Class 3 exposed scramble with a few tricky moves and is one of the more difficult standard routes among the Colorado fourteeners. The classic route is the Ellingwood Arete, 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 5.7 technical rock climb and is particularly popular because of its inclusion in the well-known book Fifty Classic Climbs of North America by Steve Roper and Allen Steck. Crestone Needle is connected to Crestone Peak by a difficult ridge, one of the four great Colorado 14er traverses.

Crestone Needle SUMMIT LOG peakery first ascent by scott

29 members report climbing or hiking to the summit, most recently on Oct 29, 2016. Below are trip reports and shared pictures from their climbs. Based on the summit log, the most popular climbing routes and hiking trails to the summit are normal route, South Face and Treverse from Crestone Peak.

Others who’ve summited Crestone Needle

  • hauteroute
  • DandyDon
  • susanjoypaul
  • BenT
  • TI83plus
  • mdedio
  • marmot
  • justin.mckelvy
  • bmannlein
  • brianasher
  • RichardLawler
  • robertocampo

Routes Used trails & approaches

25% normal route

21% South Face

10% Treverse from Crestone Peak

10% Crestone (Needle>Peak) traverse

10% Northwest Couloir

10% Ellingwood arete

7% Down to Colony Lakes from Broken Hand Pass

3% Crestone Peak summit first, then Needle, no traverse


SNAPSHOTedit info


14,203 ft / 4,329 m


457 ft / 139 m

Height Rank Range

Sangre de Cristo Range


Colorado, United States

Peak Lists

Summited by

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  • scott
  • hauteroute
  • AntinJ
  • DandyDon
  • susanjoypaul
  • BenT
  • TI83plus
  • hurdles
  • mdedio
  • marmot
  • cponyicky
  • ChrisMeloche

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