Gash Ridge is the aesthetic east ridge of Blanca Peak. It was first climbed by either Enos A. Mills during or before 1911 (1) or by Carl Blaurock & Mary Cronin in 1937 during Labor Day weekend (2). Gash Ridge is less prone to rockfall than the North Face
Blanca Peak's Gash Ridge from Huerfano Valley
Gash Ridge has been rated anywhere from Class 4-5.5. I agree most with the 4th class rating, but 5.0 appears to be the consensus. The rock is relatively solid. Some recommend a rope and rack, but others prefer to free solo. Some suggest a high camp below Blanca's north face, but others prefer to start from the trailhead.
Blanca Peak's Gash Ridge from the East
From Gardner, CO, head west on 69 to a well-signed turn off for Redwing. Just after making the left, you'll notice a sign indicating Lily Lake Trailhead. Travel 6.9 miles. Continue straight for 4.4 miles. Go left onto Huerfano Road for 5.9 miles to the Lily Lake Trailhead. Dawson considers this road high-clearance two wheel drive (3). Roach considers the last 100 yards four wheel drive (4). I agree most with Dawson. Follow the Lily Lake trailhead to the first sign for Lily Lake. The sign indicates Lily Lake is to the right. Follow it. At the second sign for Lily Lake indicating a right, go left and follow Huerfano River to the base of Blanca Peak's north face. Camp just below treeline if you choose.
Blanca Peak's Gash Ridge Route
Continue up a drainage east of unlabeled Point 13,360, then continue west up to its summit (red). Some choose to scramble directly up its north ridge (blue). From Point 13,360, follow the ridge to Blanca's summit.
Blanca Peak's Gash Ridge Route Variations
I believe the crux is the largest notch just below where the pitch steepens. There are slings here for rappelling south. If you are not carrying gear, don't downclimb south. Instead follow the ridge proper.
Gash Ridge's Crux
Either downclimb Gash Ridge or continue to Ellingwood Point and descend its North Ridge
Climbing gear or free solo ability.
1. The Spell of the Rockies
, Pages 107-19.
2. Roof of the Rockies Third Edition
, Pages 115-6.
3. Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Volume 2, the Southern Peaks
4. Colorado's Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs Second Edition