Beautifully clear, sunny, windless day atop Blanca and Ellingwood. Started from 8800 feet on the Lake Como Road. Drove up that far in a Subaru Outback. Not sure if it was a good or bad idea, but I have A/T tires so it worked out. Tacked on the Huerfano HP as well. Lots of good folks out today. Did the Blanca Ellingwood Traverse. Fun route! Much better than the standard route up Ellingwood. Expansive views. Started around 4:20 am and finished around 2:30 pm. 8 more Colorado County High Points and 18 more 14ers!
Did Ellingwood first and then
I camped just below the last switchback off the Lake Como Rd as the road got very gnarly above that and I wasn't comfortable taking my 4Runner any higher; this was only 0.1 miles and 150 feet in elevation below the "parking lot" and about 2.5 miles from Lake Como. The hike above the Lake Como was just amazing in scenery. On my ascent I directly scrambled up the ridge to Blanca from the saddle which had some class 3 spots and some exposure but fun overall. On my descent I followed the cairned route a little bit below the ridge. I also tagged the county highpoint just northeast from the summit (you can the see the cairn from the top).
A search and rescue was underway with a helicopter looking for a hiker missing since 4 days...very sad story.
Day hiked Blanca and Ellingwood. I'm surprised more people don't choose this option rather than doing a grueling backpack to Lake Como. You do need a clear weather forecast though. Parked at 8,800 ft on the road, which was 4.1 miles from Lake Como. The road does indeed suck but it only took two hours to reach the lake. From there the hike is better. Summited Blanca first using the standard route, then traversed over to Ellingwood. Traverse was quite easy with only a few class 3 moves. 14.4 miles RT.
Wasn't as difficult as I feared. Saw Bighorn sheep up close! I kept the effort fairly easy the whole way and felt really good on top of Blanca so I decided to go bag Ellingwood as well. Decided to shortcut down a ridge and the SW Coliour of Ellingwood which was dangerous and a mistake, but I managed to get out at just the right spot to avoid being completely cliffed out. Caught Brit and Journey with a little over 3 miles to go. The terrain from Lake Como to Blanca is incredible. Hot at the start and the end, and never got cold on top surprisingly.
Wore Correct Toes on the way down...much better stability.
Long awaited bag due to county highpoints/ultra status, as well as just sheer beauty of the peak. First did Ellingwood and then traversed over. Very warm conditions for November, with zero wind or clouds. Shirtless on top. 9.25 hours car to car from spot on road.
Kessler and I hiked the 4wd road to Lake Como. It was a rather hot and tedious hike. We found a nice campsite at 11,960 feet and set up camp there.
In the morning we climbed Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point. The views were a bit smoky. Blanca Peak was OK, but Ellingwood Point was just a choss pile. The ridge between the two was fun though.
Since we got back to camp fairly early we explored a bit around the basin.
In the morning, we climbed Little Bear Peak. The first talus slope was tedious and not fun at all. Then it was an OK traverse over to the Hourglass. The Hourglass would be the best part of the climb, but it is plagued by rockfall. In the Hourglass we met three people. Two were headed down and one was headed up. The person headed up wanted to join us since he was solo. We then joined up and climbed the rest of the way to Little Bear Peak. We were off the standard route a little and ended up climbing a short 5th class wall.
We met two girls at the summit. They were doing the traverse. After resting at the summit, the thee of us headed down. We were glad that there weren't more people on the mountain because of the rockfall danger.
The final gully descent was just as miserable as the ascent. If I ever did it again, I'd do it as a snowclimb.
After packing up, Kessler and I walked back down the 4wd road and headed for home.
Hiked up to the lakes day 1 6am- 12 pm.
Summit next day 545am - 930 am.
Thought about bringing dog. Glad I didn’t. Wouldn’t consider the last few hundred feet dog friendly especially close to the ridge line. Ended up ditching the trekking poles and scrambling the last few hundred feet.
Started climb from Blue Lakes campsite at 6:00 am. There had been wind and rain throughout the night, but dawn broke still and perfectly clear. Wonderful climb, but when I reached the summit at 8:30 am, I was met with a swarm of mosquitos. It’s above 14 thousand feet! Why are they even there? Do they just wait for climbers? Sipping our blood above 14000 feet - is that like their Rocky Mountain high?
Solo winter day-trip from low on the Como Road
Pretty easily found the way from Ellingwood Point where I then scoped out the imposing Little Bear-Blanca traverse.
Wonderful trip with Brent and Michael
Climbed 14,345 ft. Blanca Peak with Matt today! We started our climb from 8,300 ft. on the hideous Lake Como road. Camped at Lake Como around 12,000 ft. Started our climb up Blanca around 6:30 AM and we made the summit around 10:30 AM. I summited 14,042 ft. Ellingwood Point after, 10 more to go! We then had to hike back down the Lake Como road. Matt and I agreed hiking up and down this road was the hardest part of the trip. Overall a great trip! Approx 18 miles round trip with 7000 ft of elevation gained.
In Seprtember 1997 we were trained up, camped above Como Lake ready to climb Little Bear and traverse until swirling storm clouds unleashed.
#1 7-5-17 With Brent & Lana. Wonderful hike, delicious scramble up the solid north ridge to the summit which we had all to ourselves. That doesn't happen often on 14er summits in the summer on holidays! Crater Lake was splendid. Wild flowers were abundant. Only a couple of fairly short patches of frozen snow to cross. Did Ellingwood Point afterward.
Harder than Little Bear due to Hail all over the peak.
Started low at 8,200' early in the morning (3:30am) to reach Como lake 3 hours later just before sunrise. Very rocky the entire way and without snow in the middle of September. 13,000' saddle (9:00am) offered a picturesque ridge-line up to this overlooking giant among other 14-ers in the San de Cristos. Almost 7 hours after starting from my car, I was standing at 14,345' and 105.4855 degrees longitude which isn't hard to see Blanca's trivia as the highest peak furthest east in the contiguous 48.
Adding a short 1:30 traverse to Ellingwood Peak before descent made it a 16-hour day. With over 6,000' of elevation gain in say 24-miles roundtrip made this comparable to a Mount Whitney car to car.