This is one of Colorado’s more infamous peaks because the steep and jagged climb can be deadly. It’s also one of the state’s most iconic, towering like the Grand Tetons at 14,197 feet over the San Luis Valley. There is little margin for error on this mountain, with only one safe way up and down and plenty of places to go wrong. The peak is usually climbed from a base camp at South Colony Lakes.
From the summit of nearby Humboldt Peak I once gazed over at forbidding Crestone Needle, site of so many disasters, and decided I probably would never climb all the 14ers because of mountains like the Needle.
Recommended season(s): Summer-early fall.
—R. Scott Rappold