View of the Crestones from the road.
And another shot from the road.
At the TH, Ben getting ready.
At the TH, Randy getting ready.
The gate blocking the trail.
The silhouette of the Needle.
Ben hiking on the way up to camp.
Early morning shot of the Needle.
On the way up to Broken Hand Pass.
Ben admiring the alpenglow on the Needle.
Randy taking a shot of the alpenglow.
Another shot looking back down at South Colony Lakes and the sun is up around the corner (by Ben).
Another shot of the alpenglow. Amazing how I could pull the color out of the shadows on this one -- you couldn't even see Ben in the shadow before.
Humboldt in the morning light.
On the way up to Broken Hand Pass. Stay to the left of those ribs. Nice moon!
Looking back down.
Doing a little climbing to get around the rib.
Still a little more climbing to go.
At the pass, looking back down.
At Broken Hand Pass looking up the trail to the Needle
Looking down at Cottonwood Lake
Ben hiking the easy path across the valley towards Cottonwood Lake
Just before the lake. That bright spot is the sun reflecting off the mtn
Looking down into the San Luis Valley
Token wildflower shot
The camp of the trail workers
Looking up at the traverse. Red/South Gulley on left edge.
Looking up at the trail to Crestone Peak. Trail workers ahead of us.
Another shot looking straight up the gulley.
As we make our way up, the sun is coming over the ridge and lighting up the camp below
Another look at the traverse from down in the valley. See the gendarmes just to the west of the Needle.
Looking up from the base of the Red/South Gulley leading up to the peak.
There's always some water running in the gulley.
Further up, looking South, we can see Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear, and the camp now far below.
Ben making his way up the gulley
Still quite a bit to go. This gulley is steep -- about 2000' in a half mile.
Staying to the left of the water seemed the best route.
Ben looking down with the peak above.
Ben at the top of one of the climbing sections.
A shot of me in the gulley. The group of trail workers down below.
A zoomed in shot.
Another look from farther up. Lindsey and the Iron Nipple are now visible in the left background.
And we're still not up!
Another shot looking down. The camp is getting smaller and smaller.
Look at this tiny little cairn. I think they were marking the flowers.
Ben taking a little break as we reach what is left of the snow in the gulley.
And one more.
And yet one more.
And he's still taking a break.
Further up. Can't see the camp down below (it's behind and to the right).
Looking up at the rest of the gulley and the Crestone Peak. Did I mention this was a long gulley?
Randy and the rest of the gulley.
We're getting closer and now the Great Sand Dunes are visible.
Zoomed in on part of the sand dunes.
The snow in the gulley is easily avoided by staying to the climber's left.
Ben nearing the top of the gulley. Finally!
Me (Randy) nearing the top of the gulley. You can barely see the camp way down there.
We've reached the top of the gulley and Challenger and Kit Carson are now visible on the other side.
The view looking up to Crestone Peak from the notch at the top of the gulley.
View looking to the NW.
The other side of this mtn is steeper! (Looking West)
Ben at the notch with Crestone Peak just waiting to be summitted.
One more shot looking down the gulley from the top. You can barely see that camp way down there.
Ben near the top with the Needle behind.
And another shot facing a little more south.
On the summit!!! First one of the day down.
Challenger and Kit Carson.
Zoomed in on Challenger and Kit Carson and the Kit Carson Ave.
A summit shot looking West.
Ben on the summit with Crestone Peak East behind.
Ben with the town of Crestone behind.
And another wider shot.
Panorama looking South to West
Looking West down towards Crestone.
Another summit shot with Challenger/Kit Carson in background. What can I say, we had the summit to ourselves and no weather to worry about.
A zoomed in panorama of Lindsey, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear.
A view looking north over the towers that you must climb to reach Bear's Playground and with Colony Baldy (13705') in background.
An adjusted shot of the towers and good view of the traverse.
A panorama looking NW to N
A zoomed in shot of the camp below. There's someone walking around. The zoom is awesome.
As we came down, the trail workers were on their way up.
A panorama from the top of East Crestone Peak. Colony Baldy, Humboldt and the Needle.
A great shot of Crestone Peak and the route up it from the notch at the top of the gulley. The trail workers are all on the last 60' of the route.
A zoomed in shot of them reaching the summit.
A shot from the East peak lookng SSE.
Ben going to see if he can climb out to that sloping slab.
Looks like he's not going to make it.
Yep, that's as far as he got.
There's a big gap between him and that slab.
From Ben while he was out there looking back to the west.
A zoomed in view of the sand dunes.
The trail workers all trying to find a spot on the Crestone Peak summit.
Wide angle shot.
Going back down the gulley.
Time to put on the helmets as there are some loose rocks here and there are people above us.
Finding the cairn for the travers.
Looking down the gulley to cross to get to the cairn.
Ah, that looks like a spot to cross.
Looking up at that same gulley.
A closer view of the cairn marking the travers.
The view looking up from the cairn.
Ben wanted to go down to find the lower route to the traverse. He's near the snow.
Here's a zoomed in shot of Ben.
And what Ben saw from below (me in the orange helmet).
From here traverse across the conglomerate rock.
Once you get to that ridge you can see the black gendarme and the grassy ledges of this part of the traverse.
Here's looking back at where I came from.
And a view looking back at one route across the grassy ledges.
The route looking towards the gendarme. My helmet is atop another cairn marking the traverse. Here's where I waited for Ben to catch up from below.
The view to the SSE.
Ah, Ben finally shows himself from beow.
Zoomed in shot.
Another wide shot of the climb Ben must do to reach me. I'd recommend taking the upper traverse starting at ~13650'
More grassy ledges and the crus of the gendarme.
Zoomed in to the crux.
Looking back as Ben makes his way across some of these grassy ledges.
Looking back down at the trail worker camp.
The next cairn to reach. Of course you can always just aim for the gendarme.
Looking back at Ben coming along the route. One could also take one of the lower ledges, but this worked fine.
A zoomed in shot from Ben.
A zoomed in shot of Ben.
And one more shot from Ben.
From the cairn, you're next goal is the gendarme and this is the route we took.
A view looking back.
Part of the route where the gendarme isn't visible. You climb this steep gulley.
Part of the climbing on this route.
Ben reaching the next ridge.
And walking up it.
And posing for the camera.
A shot of the gendarme from here. Still quite a bit to get there. The route we took on the crux of the gendarme was nearly horizontal. The circle near the top is the crux of the traverse.
A view looking back. If you're going the other way, look for that cairn circled in red.
Ah, we finally reach the gendarme. It's much bigger up close.
Ben workiing on the crux at the base of the gendarme.
He looks like he's having fun. Doesn't he?
The view from the top of the crack next to the gendarme. Those are the South Colony Lakes below.
And that's Humboldt.
Ben just after making the u-turn.
We came straight up the ridge which had a small knife edge to begin with.
Your view looking SSE.
And the traverse over to the next gulley. Go down, then across, then up.
Ben on the traverse. Crestone Peak in background.
Once you reach the gulley, you have to climb this and then turn right.
Me taking a break.
Nice view from up here.
On the crux. I started climbing directly up towards the two cat-ear shaped rocks at the top of the crux. Lots of big solid holds on here, but test them to make sure.
There you can see the cat-ear shaped rocks at the top.
Somewhere in the middle, I stopped to take this shot of Ben below through my legs as I was still hanging on the wall.
My view looking up.
And another shot thru the legs.
I'm at the top now and Ben is making his way up.
And another zoomed in.
A look over at Crestone Peak from here.
And a look down the ridge.
Ah, there's Ben still making his way up. He's traversed over to the left a bit.
He's getting closer!
Woohoo, he made it. What a feeling!!!
On the summit of the Needle.
That was fun!!
A view looking SSE. Spanish Peaks to the left, Lindsey, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear in the middle, sand dunes to the right.
View looking west towards Crestone Peak and Challenger and Kit Carson in the background. See, from here, the East Peak looks taller, but that's because it's closer.
Panorama from West to NE - Crestone Peak to Humboldt.
Zoomed in over Colony Baldy and that's Pike's Peak in the background.
Panorama looking SE to SW.
Took off our packs and this marmot decided to look for some people food.
Or does he just want to eat the pack itself?
Or is he thirsty?
Looks like he likes the strap best.
MMMM, yummy strap!
A few people on Crestone Peak.
The marmot came back after we chased him off to pose for this shot.
Looking down the South Colony Lakes from the Needle.
Zoomed in from the summit of the Needle. Our camp was in the red circle.
Heading down the East ridge towards Broken Hand Pass.
A shot looking down the East ridge towards Broken Hand Pass
Ben doing a little down climbing.
Just working our way down the Needle with some interesting rock formations to the South.
Somebody has marked some of the cairns with pink ribbons to make them easier to spot.
It's a steep descent.
Looking back up where we came from.
Ben doing a little face-out down climbing.
Our next pink ribbon-marked cairn to shoot for on the descent. This is where you want to stop descending the gulley and traverse a bit.
Ben starting to traverse.
Down to the shark tooth on some fun class 3 stuff.
Looking back up the gulley.
Ben down to the shark tooth.
And another shot.
And a closeup of the cairn and the shark tooth.
Ben starting the next down climb. We still have a ways to go to get to the pass.
The dihedral -- another way up. (I believe this is rated class 4)
Looking at the shark tooth from below you can barely see the pink ribbon.
And looking up the gulley.
Looking back up the route.
Looking down the route. Ben is doing some more down climbing.
Cottonwood Lake below.
The trail leading to the West gulley to the Needle.
Ben down climbing a fun section as we get neared the pass.
A shot thru the ridge looking at South Colony Lakes
Ben reaches some flat ground.
But we're not done yet. We must actually climb up over to this next cairn.
More easy hiking (looking back as we descend)
Still must be careful.
Ah, the pass is near (looking South)
Looking down at Cottonwood Lake. That trail worker camp at the far end of the basin.
At Broken Hand Pass looking up towards Crestone Peak.
The trail leading to the Needle?
The trail leading back down to South Colony Lakes.
The South Colony Lakes Basin (Humboldt on the left)
Trail leading up to the Needle.
Trail leading up to Broken Hand Peak from Broken Hand Pass.
On my way up Broken Hand Peak I aimed for that notch.
Looking back at the Needle.
A slightly different view of South Colony Lakes and Humboldt (tomorrow's goal).
I believe this is the Broken Hand for which the peak is named.
The trail lead me to here, but then disappeared. I did a little class 3 climbing up through that notch.
Hmmm, this doesn't seem right. I'm hanging on the North wall after going through that notch, but I can see a faint trail below if I can get to it.
After I downclimbed - looking back up at that notch. I was on the far right in this picture and you can't see the exposure. I think climbing down that crack would have been safer.
The rest of the route looking up at Broken Hand Peak. I just walked right up to the right of that nob which is the summit.
Looking back at that notch I climbed through with the Needle in the background. I'm not sure why I climbed toward the North (right in this pic) - I must like the exposure.
The broken hand to the left and the summit to the right.
Nearing the summit block of Broken Hand Peak. I stuck to the right.
Getting to the ridge to the right of the summit block.
This fun bit of climbing to get to the summit.
From the summit of Broken Hand Peak looking back West along the ridge to the Needle and Crestone Peak.
The Needle and one of the upper South Colony Lakes.
Are those clouds forming? It's 4PM, I guess it's time to get down.
The Broken Hand Peak summit register is in that jar. I signed it and the previous entry was from 8/8.
Me on the summit of Broken Hand Peak.
On my way down, I decided I'd look for a different route figuring this wasn't supposed to be so technical. I thought screeing down this loose gulley would be easier on the knees. Not a good choice.
The loose gulley ended at this gulley which cliffed out below.
Here's looking up from just above where the gulley cliffed out. Not really an opton!!
An interesting shot of some columbines that were blowing in the wind while the daisies were not.
Looking back up towards the pass. I climbed up and over that ridge to the left to get out of that cliffed out situation.
The clouds were rolling in, but we never received any rain.