|Sangre De Cristo Mountains
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The sweeping north face between Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak is a dense and complex assortment of alpine gullies and spires that is rarely visited by climbers, especially in the spring when these gullies hold a wealth of ice and mixed climbing opportunities. This route follows one of those gullies through classic, alpine, mixed terrain in a beautiful setting, and rivals any route of similar grade in RMNP.
Locate a left-leaning, shallow, corner system about 2/3rds of the way between the Ellingwood Ledges route on Crestone Needle and the North Pillar on Crestone Peak.
P1: Climb mixed terrain leading up to and ascending an ice choked offwidth to gain the more obvious, snow filled gully above, M4, 100 feet.
P2: Climb easy snow up to a heady chockstone crux which can be passed via ice on either side depending on conditions, M4.
P3: Climb more classic alpine snow up to the start of a beautiful WI3 runnel. Some spicy mixed climbing may be required to reach the start of the runnel, but after that it's swinging and grinning for 100 feet or so, M4 WI3.
P4: Continue up the gully for a final narrow runnel of Type 1 Fun ice and more classic snow in narrow shoots to the top.
From the top of the route, it is possible to descend south and traverse around to Broken Hand Pass (far more arduous than it looks), or continue in either direction along the Crestone Needle/Crestone Peak Traverse to one peak or the other. Climbing to the summit of Crestone Peak and then back down into the South Colony Lake Valley is likely the quickest option and will take you back by the base of the route.
A light alpine mixed rack. A picket may be useful as a lot of the cruxes start off of steep (but firm) snow and offer little other protection until after several insecure moves.
Looking down the perfect ice runnels on the third ...
The first pitch crux offwidth on Alpine Ambition, ...
Alpine Ambition on 5/26/13.
The second pitch chockstone on Alpine Ambition, 5/...
More dream ice on Alpine Ambition, 5/26/13.
The third pitch mixed start and ice runnels on Alp...
Another photo of the route, this one by Chris Eric...