Mike and I went down to my wifes grandparents in Alamosa to spend the night and hike Blanca and Ellingwood Point the next morning.
On Saturday we headed to the Como Lake road. It is nationally known for being one of the most challenging 4WD roads in the state we didn’t know how far we would be able to get up it and the road deteriorated quickly. After about a mile of 4-wheeling we parked at approxamatly 8,500 feet.
On the way up we came across two trucks towing a jeep that had blown its engine the day before. We scampered up to a big rock in the road to get pictures. It was quite a site, all of the trucks were bottoming out, and the Jeep caught his rear differential on the rock and the two other guys pulled him off. One of the guys towing the Jeep down said that they were going to make $300 for doing this. Looks like quite a business in the summer time. It seemed to take us forever to get to Como Lake which is about five miles and 3,350 vertical feet from where we parked. That was a hike in itself and it was on the 4WD road the whole time.
From Como Lake we could see the cliffs of Little Bear and the jagged ridge that connected to Blanca. Passed the lake we passed the turnoff to Little Bear and the trail looked pretty steep and loose. We couldn’t to see the crux of Little Bear’s route since it’s on the opposite-facing slope (south facing).
By the time we made it to Crater Lake (13,000) I was already starting to feel a little fatigued. From the lake its 1,300 vertical feet in less that a mile and it was a steep, talus slope from the Lake to the summit. It was slow and tedious, and had to pay attention to every step since the rocks under our feet would move. Once at the ridge the rocks were more stable and we got our first look at the north face of Blanca all of which are technical routes. Once at the summit I was really feeling a little light headed and knew that Ellingwood would have to be another day.
The views from the top of Blanca were breathtaking. We didn’t make it to the summit until 12:00pm which is a little late to be on a summit, but not on this day there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We stayed on top for about a half-hour and were on our way back down the tedious talus.
Later passed Como Lake back at the road there were numerous trucks going up. We stopped at what I think was the Sharks Tooth #3 and watched the trucks going up it. They were all very impressive and looked like all of them had put quite a bit of money in their machines. Some of them cruised right up the “tooth” and some had problems and had to wench themselves up. There was even a bypass and none of them coming up took the bypass they all had to conquer the “tooth”.
After watching the Jeeps and what turned out to be a very long hike we didn’t make it back to the Mike’s truck until 7:00pm. So I called my wifes grandparents and asked them if we could spend one more night since we were pretty tired and didn’t want to drive back home. This would have taken four hours? If you do this from the trailhead be prepared for a long day with lots of mileage and vertical. It’s also worth it to just hike up and see the trucks going up the road. I have read that Labor Day is a big weekend for them.