North American Classic Climbs

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Crestone Needle

Ellingwood Ledges

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This historic route is called "Ellingwood Arête" in many references, but the correct name is "Ellingwood Ledges." It is named for the first ascensionist, the visionary Colorado mountaineer Albert Ellingwood. This is one of the easiest routes in this collection in difficulty and committment if the correct route is found (both on ascent and descent.) Check the route description to choose one of the several options and avoid adding to the long history of epic adventures and rescues on this route. If you're efficient, comfortable climbing 4th and lower 5th class rock without a rope, and have good route finding skills, the summit can be reached for lunch. To get the maximum out of this route, do the direct start.


Alpine Rock




Sangre de Cristo Range, Colorado, USA



G1, I1


III, 5.7


Route Descriptions & Maps:

Route diagram USGS topographic map

First Ascent:

A. Ellingwood, E. Davis, S. Hart, M. Warner, August 1925


Trip Reports:

Wright 6/03
Clark 8/02
Clark 7/02
Sofranko 8/00
Clark 9/98
Condit 8/98