14,203 ft / 4,329 m


457 ft / 139 m


33 summits

Top climbing months

August   36%

July   21%

September  18%

Most climbed route

Ellingwood arete


  • Crestone Needle is a dramatic Colorado 14er in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo Range.
  • It is part of a group of 4 14ers 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 climb by its easiest route.
  • 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 14ers. Routefinding is essential, especially when it slyly hops across a couloir. Wrong ways here quickly become 5th Class.
  • The most 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, generally known as one of the four great Colorado 14er traverses.
"Solo birthday ascent, after forest fires turned me from Lindsey. Most technical hike to date. Lots of class 4, some class 5. Can’t put this monster into words, but it was amazing. " - LGH-Dan, Jul 11, 2018
"Woke up to the wind howling and raindrops and had just about given up on the day when the sun started to peak through and the wind died down. We made our way to the base of the Ellingwood Ledges to check out the conditions and decided to go for it. We made it to the summit in the clouds just as the snow flurries started. Since the weatherman said we were good till 6PM before the chance of lightning started we decided to go for the traverse." - Yosemike, Sep 18, 2013
"Didn't find the cross-over point to the left gully on the way up and did some borderline 5th class moves. A long day after Crestone Peak in the morning. Definitely one of the best 14er summits." - scott, Aug 25, 2007



Nearest peaks