Crestone Needle one of five peaks in the Sangre de Cristo range and is one of Colorado's most difficult climbs!. It is the 19th tallest of the 14ers in Colorado.
Crestone Needle is one of the fourteeners of Colorado, 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 (0.6 miles/1 km northwest of Crestone Needle) and also including Kit Carson Mountain and Humboldt Peak
Crestone Needle is regarded as a worthy climb in its own right. The easiest route is the South Face (or South Couloir), usually accessed via Broken Hand Pass from South Colony Lakes. This is a slightly exposed scramble with a few tricky moves, and is one of the more difficult standard routes among the Colorado fourteeners. However the classic route on the mountain is the Ellingwood Arete, also known as the Ellingwood Ledges Route. This is 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 mildly technical rock climb (5.7 on the Yosemite Decimal Scale). It is particularly popular because of its inclusion in the well-known book Fifty Classic Climbs of North America by Steve Roper and Allen Steck.
The peak consists mainly of granite and conglomerate. Knobby handholds are frequent near the summit. Snow fields linger around the peak throughout the summer.