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Colorado Trails

Colorado 14ers: Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle and Humbolt Peak

Scale three lofty summits on this route in the sheer contours of the Sangre de Cristo Range, including the signature, knobby face of Crestone Peak.

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-Mapped by Lisa Heckel

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 16.6



Location: 37.964485168457, -105.561065673828

Head N between South Colony Lakes; traverse the lower SW slopes of Humboldt


Location: 37.9645004272461, -105.546005249023

From 4WD parking area, head SW on old road toward the rocky E face of Broken Hand Peak


Location: 37.9694709777832, -105.567901611328

Start switchback climb to Humboldt’s W ridge; views of Upper South Colony Lake (to the W) provide a picturesque backdrop


Location: 37.9617004394531, -105.55770111084

Continue N into Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. In .2 mi., turn L to climb Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak


Location: 37.9709396362305, -105.567398071289

Continue climb to ridge; more great views of South Colony Lakes and Crestone Needle


Location: 37.9634284973144, -105.559555053711

Keep L @ Y. To climb Humbolt Peak, bear R and head NW


Location: 37.9733581542969, -105.568199157715

Veer R on ridge; follow switchback trail toward false summit


Location: 37.9637908935547, -105.562400817871

Skirt the S shore of Lower South Colony Lake. Follow climber’s trail to begin ascent up small bowl to Broken Hand Pass, which lies between the rising pillars of Broken Hand Peak and Crestone Needle


Location: 37.9754981994629, -105.558700561523

Continue NE over false summit to reach Humboldt’s true summit


Location: 37.9593238830566, -105.570030212402

Scramble up a narrow couloir with seasonal snow to reach Broken Hand Pass


Location: 37.976188659668, -105.555000305176

Humboldt Peak (14,064 ft.): Look to the SW for dramatic Crestones skyline, a stark contrast to E views of flat, Wet Mountain Valley


Location: 37.9587593078613, -105.571098327637

Turn R @ Broken Hand Pass to summit Crestone Needle’s S face. To tackle Crestone Peak, continue straight for descent to Cottonwood Lake


Location: 37.9593391418457, -105.572196960449

Traverse the ridge’s W side, following climber’s trail; great views overlooking Cottonwood Lake


Location: 37.9619293212891, -105.574203491211

Turn L on saddle to reach the E and W couloir


Location: 37.961799621582, -105.575103759766

From the E (right) couloir, cross over to W (left) couloir; continue Class 3 climb to summit ridge


Location: 37.9628715515137, -105.575698852539

From the top of the couloir, begin NW scramble to the Needle’s summit


Location: 37.9645309448242, -105.576499938965

Crestone Needle (14,197 ft.): Reward yourself with rare, eye-level views of jagged Crestone Peak to the NW and Humboldt Peak to the NE


Location: 37.9581108093262, -105.576202392578

Head W; traverse the grassy banks of Cottonwood Lake under rocky slopes


Location: 37.958251953125, -105.583106994629

Head N to begin ascent of Crestone Peak’s S face


Location: 37.9619293212891, -105.583999633789

From the bottom of the red couloir, scramble up rocky face on E side of couloir


Location: 37.9669609069824, -105.584503173828

From the top of the red couloir, turn L for final scramble to the summit


Location: 37.966869354248, -105.585296630859

Crestone Peak (14,294 ft.): Savor the sky-high perspectives from this rugged summit; stark, barren peaks drop dramatically to the flat San Luis Valley to the W and Wet Mountain Valley to the E

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