Trip Reports: South Colony Lakes, Colorado - June 2009

This weekend I went on a little road trip to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado, to meet up with a friend for some camping and hiking around South Colony Lakes. The lakes are situated at the foot of three 14ers, making them a perfect basecamp for several days worth of hiking.

The weather was grim during our first two days, with rain, hail, lightning, thunder, and relentless Patagonia-esque winds. On the third day, however, I woke up at 2:30am to clear starry skies, so I jumped out my sleeping bag, got my stuff together, and started hiking via headlamp up to Broken Hand Peak, hoping to get a sunrise shot of the Crestone Needle fourteener from the neighboring summit. After some tricky routefinding around some cliffs and up some snowfields, I made it to the summit at about 5:00, and witnessed a spectacular sunrise from the top.

Crestone Needle, Broken Hand Peak, Sangre de Cristos, Colorado, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, photo

Crestone Needle Portrait

Sunrise light illuminates the Crestone Needle, 14,197 feet, as seen from the summit of Broken Hand Peak, 13,573 feet.  June. 

Broken Hand Peak, sunrise, Sangre de Cristos, Colorado, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, photo

Broken Hand Sunrise

Awesome sunrise as seen from the summit of Broken Hand Peak, 13,573 feet - June. 

After the Broken Hand Peak hike, I made my way back down to the lake where my friend was hanging out, and since the morning was still showing great blue-sky weather, we decided to hike up Humboldt Peak, another nearby 14er. Having just climbed one mountain, I wasn’t expecting to immediately go do another one, but I was feeling good and perhaps still had some more pent-up energy after the two previous stormy days. The weather held out, and we got to the summit around 11:30am along with about 20 other happy hikers.

hikers, Humboldt Peak, Crestone Peak, Sangre de Cristos, Colorado, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, photo

Hiking Humboldt

Hikers on the slopes of Humboldt Peak, with Crestone Peak towering behind - June. 

Crestone Needle, sunrise, South Colony Lake, Sangre de Cristos, Colorado, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, photo

Crestone Needle Reflection

Sunrise alpenglow shines on Crestone Needle, reflected in the lower South Colony Lake - June.