Crestone Needle via Ellingwood Arete
  • Duration 2 Days, 1 Night
  • Overnight Camping
  • Technical Climbing

The South Face Route on Crestone Needle is a high quality class 3 route of the Colorado 14er

From a camp at South Colony Lakes this route climbs to Broken Hand Pass where it then ascends ridge and gullies with tricky route finding and interesting 3rd class moves on solid conglomerate rock. This standalone ascent of Crestone Needle is a worthy two day outing in itself. 

The Ellingwood Arete or Ledges is popular as it is one of the 50 Classic Climbs of North America as categorized by Allen Steck and Steve Roper. The Ledges ascends the prominent NE Arete of the Needle for several thousand feet starting with sustained 3rd to low 5th ledge systems and finishing with 5.6 to 5.7 climbing to the summit as the Arete narrows. This is a big technical climb in an alpine setting with a wonderful blend of difficulty that allows the party to move quickly but still enjoy some points of technical rock climbing. The descent is the 3rd class South Face of the Needle back to South Colony Lakes. Contact us for Ellingwood Arete details and pricing.

Trip Details


2 Days, 1 Night


Some alpine climbing experience necessary

Maximum Guide Ratio



  • AMGA and AE trained/certified mountain guide 
  • All technical equipment (helmet, harness, climbing equipment, ropes, packs, etc.)
  • All necessary camping equipment (tents, sleeping bags, pads, backpacks, stove, bowls, plates, cutlery, bear bags etc.) 

Not Included

  • Lunch/snack food & water
  • Travel costs
  • Guide gratuity

Trip Itinerary

Your guide will contact you the day before at the phone number you give us to discuss an appropriate plan for you and to confirm a meeting place and start time. You will go over necessary gear to pack and meal planning. 

For all of these options we meet parties in the town of West Cliff and 4 wheel drive to the trailhead.  From the trailhead is a 2 hour hike to camp at either lower or upper South Colony Lake depending on the route.

Maroon Bells in Fall

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