Top Ten Less-Extreme Rock Climbing Routes
Ellingwood Arete: Crestone Needle, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado
Let's face it: Bagging "fourteeners" (mountains that are 14,000 feet or higher) is fine, but climbing those high peaks by technical routes is where it's at these days. Luckily, for folks doing Colorado's famed fourteeners there's the Ellingwood Arete on Crestone Needle.
This climb is without a doubt the best easy rock climb on any of Colorado's "Gang of 54 (fourteeners)." Not surprisingly, you'll see it appear in both rock climbing guides and mountaineering guides for Colorado. It's airy, interesting, and remote.
The route follows a faint prow comprised of strange yet comforting horizontal ledges to a short rock wall that requires one move of 5.7 to negotiate. Then it's solid rock to the spectacular 14,197-foot summit.
So which is it really? A rock route or a mountain climb? As one climber put it recently: "a great combination of both.
Just the Facts
First ascent: Albert Ellingwood, F. Frissel, E. Davis, S. Hart, M. Warner, 1925
Time required: 1/2 day from South Colony Lakes, below the mountain
Technical grade: III, 5.7
References: Rock Climbing: Colorado by Stewart Green
Check out San Isabel National Forest, home of the Sangre de Cristo Range
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication