Type: Trad, Alpine, 700 ft (212 m), 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Bob Ormes, Roger Whitney, and Hassler Whitney, 1949
Page Views: 3,076 total · 40/month
Shared By: Joshua Payne on Sep 22, 2014
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

You & This Route

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Crestone Peak’s steep east face is home to a number of large buttresses. India climbs the left-most of these buttresses and is noted by an obvious ramp, diagonaling upward to the right. A small amount of beta can be gained from the photo in Bueler’s “Roof of the Rockies” and the description is in Roach’s 14'er guide.

From Upper South Colony Lake, walk right of the Ellingwood Arete, and scramble up talus and 4th class slabs at the base of the buttress until you reach the large ramp at about 13,000'. Belay at the cave on the ramp.

P1. Climb the ramp that traverses the buttress from left to right until you can access a short chimney on the northwest side (5.4, then cl. 3).

P2. A short pitch up the fractured slabs on the left to a short crack with a bulge. Pull the bulge and continue left along the obvious line until you find an old piton below a left-facing dihedral. Belay at the piton (5.8).

P3. Climb the chossy, left-facing corner to reach a narrow, right-to-left, ascending, grassy ledge. Belay on this ledge; we had to traverse left along it for a ways to find an adequate anchor (5.8).

P4. Continue left on the ledge and climb the steep, sharp, right-facing dihedral until you reach the buttress's left skyline and a nice ledge. Belay here (5.8). (One may also be able to stay on the right edge of the buttress at this section as described in Roach’s guide and shown in Bueler’s topo; however, this did not look like the easiest line to us.)

P5. Continue up a short pitch up the easiest line up the south side to the buttress's “Petit Grepon”-like summit (4th).

P6. From the buttress summit, you cross an awesomely exposed knife-edge to gain the complicated upper bowl below East Crestone Peak (4th). Break left to reach the saddle point in the Peak-Needle ridge. From here, there are two options:

1) Climb the gullies and 3rd/4th class terrain to the north, and eventually gain the summit of East Crestone Peak. Drop to the notch atop the Red Gully and continue to the main Crestone Peak summit.

2) From this notch, it would be possible to descend the gully to the south and connect with the Crestone Peak - Needle traverse.

This climb is fairly committing, but it was a good adventure that climbs into some wonderful terrain and shows the Crestones have a lot to offer beyond the popular classics.


This is the large buttress about halfway between Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak. Looking at Crestone Needle from Upper South Colony Lake, this is the first buttress to the right of Crestone Needle. The large ramp that crosses the buttress is hard to miss.


Standard alpine rack 0.1 X4 - #3 C4.