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Crestone Peak is the seventh highest peak in Colorado.
It is the second highest peak in the Sangre de Cristo Range after Blanca Peak. Crestone Peak rises 7,000 ft above the east side of the San Luis Valley along the boundary between Saguache and Custer counties, approximately 5 miles (8 km) east of the town of Crestone. It shares its name with the nearby Crestone Needle, another fourteener of the Sangre de Cristo Range. The high peaks of Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Mountain, and Humboldt Peak are often referred to collectively as the Crestones, as they are generally accessed from common trail heads.
Generally climbs of Crestone Peak Needle start from a base camp at South Colony Lakes, east of the peak, accessed from the Wet Mountain Valley on the northeast side of the range. This route involves nearly 6,000 ft of elevation gain, and ascends to a large relatively flat area called "The Pool Table" (a few large rocks lie on the tundra) or the "Bears' Playground." Then it ascends a long gully on the northwest side of Crestone Peak, which involves some rockfall danger (hence a climbing helmet is suggested). Crestone Peak is one of the more dangerous fourteener climbs in Colorado; accidents occur often in the Crestones, some caused by falls or lightning (a daily summer occurrence in the Sangre de Cristos).
Alternatively, the Cottonwood Creek route begins in the San Luis Valley and approaches the Crestones from the west. The route follows Cottonwood Creek to Cottonwood Lake. From there, the South Face route of Crestone Peak is accessible.
From Crestone Peak, it is a mildly technical (Class 4—rope recommended) ridge scramble to the summit of Crestone Needle; similarly in the other direction. However Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle are more commonly climbed separately.