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Routes in The Crestones

'Bag O Stones' T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Crestone Peak / North Pillar T 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c R
Crestone Peak North Buttress T Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c PG13
Crestone Traverse T Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
Ellingwood Ledges T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
India T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Northwest Couloir T
Prow (Kit Carson), The T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Septem Virtutum Anima Mea T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 1500 ft, 9 pitches, Grade III
FA: Elisha Gallegos and Daniel Schuerch, July 2017
Page Views: 1,732 total · 120/month
Shared By: Daniel S on Jul 13, 2017
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Description

This route climbs the prominent face south of the Willow Lake Campground. Climbing the Septem Virtutum Anima Mea (Seven Courageous Souls) allows for an alternative route to the summit of Challenger Peak with less rockfall than the current 2nd Class trail to its summit (Rocky Mountain Field Institute, RMFI is currently making a better trail to the summit of Challenger). The crux of the route is circumventing the roofs on the first pitch that earns the route's 5.8 rating. Hand jams and laybacks help. The rest of the route is mostly face climbing using flakes and crack systems for protection. This route, in my opinion, is better than Ellingwood Ledges and comparable to The Prow (The Prow has better exposure due to its ridge nature but is harder to protect).

Location

Approach this route using the Willow Lake Trail. In the town of Crestone on the west side of the Crestone Range, head two miles east on East Galena Avenue to its terminus at the trailhead. Hike the trail up to Willow Lake Campground (5 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain). The route starts just south of the Willow Lake Campground on the left side of talus below the cliff (see the topo and pics provided). Once the climb rolls into second class terrain after approximately 1500 feet of climbing, travel NW until you reach gentler slopes down to the north side of Willow Lake. It is better is to follow the ridge line to Challenger Point and then follow the Mountaineer's trail back to the campground.

Protection

A double set of thin gear to a #4 Camalot and one set of nuts. Gear up to a #6 Camalot can be placed for protection on easier parts of the climb. Pitches 1, 2, 3, and 4 have two bolt anchors, not all have links for rappelling though. Pitch 4 anchors are the "commitment anchors". Retreating after pitch 4 will require leaving gear.
DonMay
  5.8
DonMay  
  5.8
We climbed this route June 15, following the beta given by the FAs. It was right on, good job. The only edit is that the route starts just south of Willow Lake (not north). Fun route, especially the first pitch. Jun 15, 2018
Daniel S
Oklahoma City
  5.8
Daniel S   Oklahoma City
  5.8
Corrected the direction. Thanks for the heads up. Glad you climbed the route. Jun 16, 2018
Kevin Riley
  5.7
Kevin Riley  
  5.7
Climbed this route yesterday. Soft for the rating. Not that many interesting moves. Good rock though, and loved the bolted anchors on first four pitches. Jun 28, 2018
Ames A. Blaze  
5.7
Agree with Kevin that the climbing is soft. The first four pitches always have good hands and/or feet. Good rock, good gear, and would recommend only bringing a single rack vs. the recommended double. I used a 4 cam once and could've done without. Tricams were used on every pitch, and I never used or needed nuts. Long alpine draws recommended especially on the wandering 2nd pitch; the anchors are on the grassy slope on top of a boulder. The first bolted P1 station has a piton and one bolt. The piton looks better than the bolt, which isn't flush with the rock and should be inspected over the years. Did you use glue?

We simul-climbed the last 4 pitches, and it's similar to the Boulder Flatirons in rock quality; 5.0 R rating. Exhaustively fun at altitude. Jul 9, 2018
Daniel S
Oklahoma City
  5.8
Daniel S   Oklahoma City
  5.8
Thank you for your comments on the route. The bolt in question at the first anchor should be a 3/8 4" 5 piece Rawl bolt. It certainly is not the best bolt I have ever placed. No glue was used. I might add that I placed it while being hailed on. Regardless, I would certainly trust the bolt over the piton and would have no fear whipping on it over and over again myself. As always, if in doubt, back it up. :) Jul 15, 2018
Nate T.W.
Lakewood, CO
  5.7
Nate T.W.   Lakewood, CO
  5.7
Fun climb on surprisingly solid rock. In case this isn't obvious from the photos, once beyond the fourth pitch, you follow a crack/chimney/gully feature all the way up the face until it peters out. I think there is some pro if you want it, but the climbing is quite moderate and 4th Class at times. From the end of this feature, you can trend left to second class terrain and a web of trails that lead up towards Challenger Point or down towards the lake. Note that it's another 1,000 ft. of elevation gain of slogging on what appears to be talus to get to Challenger Point, so it's worth clarifying that you do not need to continue up to safely descend (although be aware of knocking rocks on the 14er hikers as you traverse over). Aug 27, 2018

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