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Ellingwood Arete - 5.7 popular

Average Rating = 4.36/5 Average Rating : 4.36 out of 5
Route sequence (left to right): 1
Route Summary | Ascent Notes (24)
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Rock
Medium to large stoppers and medium cams plus some extra runners.
Consensus Ratings
  Difficulty 5.8
  Safety Rating PG13
  Exposure 4.12/5
  Rock Quality 3.62/5
  Scenery 4.88/5
  Fun Factor 4.50/5

Description:

A fantastic 2000' line up the blunt arete of Crestone Needle.

From the parking lot follow the trail to the upper South Colony Lake and around the lake to the southwest. The direct start (5.6) scales the talus field in front of you and up a right-facing dihedral for a few pitches to the grassy ledges above. The regular start begins far left of here and goes up the grassy ledges and rock steps to the right until you get to the blunt arete.

The first 1500' or so can be scrambled and only occasionally needs a rope (depends on how comfortable you are w/o a rope on class 4 scrambling with 1000' of exposure - we roped up for most of it).

When you get to a wide grassy ledge at the base of a headwall, take a few steps around the corner to the left and ascend the cracks for 3 pitches (the crack directly in front of you is a great 5.9 variant).

From the top of the 3rd pitch, scramble up the steep rock to the summit.

The descent is where the "Real" fun begins. It's a pretty serious undertaking that includes downclimbing a tricky 4th class scramble down some couloirs, always trying to angle left (east). If done properly (not what we did), you will end up at the low pass of Broken Hand and can easily follow the large cairns back to the lakes and back to camp.

Guide books suggest 6 hours for the ascent and 3 hours for the descent - might take you considerably longer if you rope up alot on the lower 1500'. The afternoon thunderstorms generally begin around 1 or 2p.m., so begin early to avoid them.

Good luck, it's considerably more serious than the 5.7 rating would lead you to believe.

Submitted by: rck_climber on 2002-07-17
Views: 2303
Route ID: 12102

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24 Ascents Recorded

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Ratings
  Difficulty 5.7
  Safety Rating PG13
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: jolery on 2011-09-03 (View Climbing Log)

5 out of 5 stars LONG day

This was a great experience - my first real success at long alpine rock climbing. We drove in on a rented Ford Escape - did great all the way up the road to the current end of the road. Got a couple of hours of sleep, up at 4 a.m., hiking by probably 5:30. Hike to base of route much longer than expected - took 3-4 hours. Did the Ledges start, but screwed it up I think - we took the big ravine to left of the black face instead of going up the middle to ledge. This was super loose and chossy, and required some roping up to get to first ledge. From there we wandered our way up and towards the arete - lots of different options. We stayed roped up entire time, simul-climbing as often as we could. We eventually hit the actual arete, which was hard to find once we were on it -wasn't an abrupt arete like I expected. Almost kept traversing mountain until I noticed the red tower feature, WAY below us - this feature was a life saver. The large headwall to the left of the climbing headwall that is visible from the start was also a great landmark. Started snowing when we hit headwall. Some route finding difficulty, I had trouble finding the crux pitch - I remembered it being right of the belay, but I only found choss and no pro that way. Eventually headed left of belay, then up and over little bulge onto a long ramp at the top of which I found what I believe is the actual route and crux pitch - a nice long pitch of moderate climbing. Last pitch is spectacular fourth class. We topped out too late - 5:30 ish. Descent was scary - there were discrepancies about which couloirs to take - we took the second couloir after the big couloir that looks like the right way to go, so third couloir total from summit. This was ok, but we got cliffed out and had to downclimb couple hundred feet of 4th/5th class in the snow. I believe the second couloir was the proper descent route, which we eventually met up with. The descent route was flagged with surveyor tape. Lots of places to bite it on the way down. I canít really imagine a non-climber hiking up or down this way. We got to base of mountain at pitch darkness.

Added: 2011-10-03

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.8
  Safety Rating G
Onsight Onsight ascent by: tharlow on 2007-07-10 (View Climbing Log)

4 out of 5 stars amazing

no comment

Added: 2008-08-04

Ratings
  Difficulty
  Safety Rating PG13
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: semicolin on 2003-07-19 (View Climbing Log)

4 out of 5 stars fun route, but crowded and loose rock

Used rope only for last 1 or 2 pitches. Probably should have used rope for the first few pitches of the direct start because of high exposure, but we made it OK. Low angle rock and many people using ropes above us (dragging on the ground while simuclimbing) caused lots of rock fall.

We tried to traverse to Crestone peak, but got off route, pulled off lots of loose rock, and decided to call it a day.

Added: 2008-07-19

Ratings
  Difficulty
  Safety Rating G
Onsight Onsight ascent by: stamplis on 2008-07-12 (View Climbing Log)

4 out of 5 stars _

The route was pretty casual and fast with a fair bit of simul-climbing, 4 hours from Lakes to summit. Mostly easy climbing with one well-protected move of 5.7 on the crux pitch. But the approach? Ugly! No 4WD (and you'll need it) so we had to hike up the road to the trailhead. Thanks for the guys who gave us the lift on the way down!

Added: 2008-07-16

Ratings
  Difficulty
  Safety Rating PG13
Onsight Onsight ascent by: goodman on 1997-08-21 (View Climbing Log)

5 out of 5 stars .

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Added: 2008-01-21

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