06/29/22 – 07/02/22
This is the most challenging and exciting trip into the Sangres we offer. It is the ultimate of summit experiences, and is solely designed for the hardy, confident, and experienced individual. There is no mountain like this! A seldom-used drainage offering deep solitude, a high alpine lake, and incredibly fun class three terrain make this the backpacking trip of a lifetime. If you are ready to step up your game and scramble up one of Colorado’s most impressive mountains then this is the trek for you.
Day one: We will leave Santa Fe at 6 am, and take the gorgeous drive into the San Luis Valley on Highway 285. A stopover in the small, inviting town of Crestone, CO will be where we say goodbye to civilization.
This trek will begin from the Cottonwood creek trailhead, just south of the town of Crestone. Portions of this trail and the trailhead itself are on private land. Access to this trailhead was closed to the public until just a few years ago. Accessing Crestone Peak from this drainage is a rare and highly coveted experience. From the trailhead (8,361ft) we will hike approximately 5 miles and climb roughly 2,500 feet to our basecamp at the Cottonwood Lake trail junction.
Day two: We will begin our ascent at 5 am. It’s a steep 3,500 ft to Crestone Peak’s remarkable summit. After about a mile and a half we will find ourselves above the timber and in the vicinity of the well-known Cottonwood Lake. A quick stroll over the rolling tundra will bring us to the base of Crestone. Here our class 3 ascent up the South facing couloir begins. This is indeed the most thrilling part of this wild adventure. Soon enough we find ourselves on one of Colorado’s highest mountain tops. Crestone Peak captivates all who aspire to climb it. This is the real thing.
Day three: We will have the opportunity for a side hike up Cottonwood canyon in the morning before our departure back to the trailhead. I envision a stop in Crestone for much-needed showers and a solid bite to eat mixed with settling back into the groove with civilization. We will head back to Santa Fe on 285. The drive should give everyone enough time for the past few days to sink in.