Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
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SurfNTurf
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby SurfNTurf » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:16 pm

It's 15.5 miles to the summit of Blanca from the highway turnoff at 8,000', which will be accessible almost every day of the year. I've easily made 8,800' -- the conservative 4WD TH -- in pseudo-winter (last January) and in April of one of the snowiest seasons on record (2011). I've heard of folks in stock Xterras and 4Runners making it above 10,000' in winter with no issue. Blanca's very doable in a day. :-D

In fact, having been in the area once as a daytrip from 8,000' and three times as a backpack to Lake Como, I'll never again carry a heavy bag up that road. Daytrip's the way to go.

Brad, I only wish I wouldn't be in Boston on the 29th, or I'd be settling a little score with Blanca alongside you. Good luck!
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SnowAlien
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby SnowAlien » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:00 am

awilbur77 wrote:Some of us aren't speed hikers though. If I try a day trip from 8000', search and rescue will be finding my body the next day around 13,500. :)

Adam - I know exactly what you mean! :P I started from 8,800 last winter, but was handicapped by the extra weight of my supposedly lightweight AT setup + avy gear - and had to quit around 13,500. In perfect weather, too!

Brad - if my current plan falls through, I'd be game for this.
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LynnKH
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby LynnKH » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:52 am

SurfNTurf wrote:It's 15.5 miles to the summit of Blanca from the highway turnoff at 8,000', which will be accessible almost every day of the year. I've easily made 8,800' -- the conservative 4WD TH -- in pseudo-winter (last January) and in April of one of the snowiest seasons on record (2011). I've heard of folks in stock Xterras and 4Runners making it above 10,000' in winter with no issue. Blanca's very doable in a day. :-D

In fact, having been in the area once as a daytrip from 8,000' and three times as a backpack to Lake Como, I'll never again carry a heavy bag up that road. Daytrip's the way to go.
!


+1
I parked in the exact same place in summer and in winter: 8,800 feet. So I'm not at all sure where the 19 miles is coming from.

It's personal choice, but I never want to carry an overnight pack up that road again and spend a miserable night at Lake Como. Day trip all the way.
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby ezabielski » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:31 am

LynnKH wrote:
SurfNTurf wrote:It's 15.5 miles to the summit of Blanca from the highway turnoff at 8,000', which will be accessible almost every day of the year. I've easily made 8,800' -- the conservative 4WD TH -- in pseudo-winter (last January) and in April of one of the snowiest seasons on record (2011). I've heard of folks in stock Xterras and 4Runners making it above 10,000' in winter with no issue. Blanca's very doable in a day. :-D

In fact, having been in the area once as a daytrip from 8,000' and three times as a backpack to Lake Como, I'll never again carry a heavy bag up that road. Daytrip's the way to go.
!


+1
I parked in the exact same place in summer and in winter: 8,800 feet. So I'm not at all sure where the 19 miles is coming from.

It's personal choice, but I never want to carry an overnight pack up that road again and spend a miserable night at Lake Como. Day trip all the way.


I haven't climbed Blanca yet, why didn't you like spending the night at Lake Como?
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby LynnKH » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:36 am

ezabielski wrote:
I haven't climbed Blanca yet, why didn't you like spending the night at Lake Como?


It's not as much Lake Como as it is camping in the winter that I hate. Personal preference. It's actually a cool place - I love the view of LB plastered in snow if much is up there. But my choice would be to keep moving than to ever stop and spend time freezing over night.
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby Mountain Ninja » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:34 am

awilbur77 wrote:I could be talked into a day trip, y'all are faster than me anyway so I'd at least have you breaking trail for me. :lol:


There's some good, positive thinking, Adam! :)


LynnKH wrote:It's not as much Lake Como as it is camping in the winter that I hate. Personal preference. It's actually a cool place - I love the view of LB plastered in snow if much is up there. But my choice would be to keep moving than to ever stop and spend time freezing over night.


I agree! I'm much more inclined to just start really early after a warm night's sleep in Alamosa, with a much lighter pack. But, to each his own.
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby SHmids » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:26 pm

We did not make any summits :? , but had a good trip none the less! :)

Here is a conditions report from this weekend's trip:

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/peakstatus_entry.php?recnum=1986#bottom

I'm hoping Ed (ETA) made a summit or two and will have more info to add!
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby ETA » Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:27 pm

I am sad to report that I didn't make it past the lake. Thanks again for the broken trail on the way up, that helped keep my pack haul to 4-1/2 hours, it took me 1:10 from where we met to reach the lake. Camping at the lake was great, nice temperatures and very little wind. I was hoping for a try at Little Bear, but once I saw the first gulley I knew instantly it wasn't going to happen. Maybe in spring when conditions are right, maybe I'm just dreaming. Anyway while dozing off to sleep I heard a sound like a rabbit attacking my snow shoes. It continued so I woke completely to the surprise of others setting up camp about 7:00pm. A quick howdy through the forest, I was back asleep. I think they headed out about 6:00am headed towards Blanca - Ellingwood. I left the tent about 7:00am on snow shoes following tracks. I didn't have the legs or the heart for a serious effort and turned back on the far side of the lake. Cloud cover early in the morning, colder than the night before, I packed up camp and hiked back out. It turned out to be a fine weather day, I hope those folks had a great day up there.

Near the lake the snow was 6"-12" deep, deeper drifts on sections. I would recommend snow shoes for travel. We all drove to approximately the same location, I had 3 miles on the odometer from the pavement. If it snows again the drifts will become an issue even lower along the road. Have fun folks, it's beautiful up there.
3 or 4 miles, can't be much further than that.
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby Muldstar » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:31 pm

Yes, that was myself and wife who you heard setting up camp. We too enjoyed the tracks going up. No summit for us. We made it to Crater Lake before calling it a day b.c. of cold feet. We had planned on skinning in but that changed after seeing the conditions. To say the least, my other hiking boots did not hold up to all the snow. It was a beautiful day and snowshoes (or more snow for skiing) would have been nice. Some pics at the following link: http://www.mountaindock.org/blanca-peak-attempt/
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby DaveSwink » Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:40 pm

awilbur77 wrote:A heel vs. corner of the wall in my kitchen has resulted in a very painful bone bruise on my left heel.


Sorry to hear it. I tried pinky toe vs cabinet last year. :shock: The toe was broken and looked like a giant maraschino cherry. It took about a month to heal too. Hope your heel gets better quicker than that.
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby Mountain Ninja » Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:30 am

I hope y'all had a Merry Christmas!

Weather for Blanca is looking decent for Saturday, and I'm gettin' prepped to rock!

Please PM me if you're thinking about joining up, and we'll work out details!

My idea so far:
Personally, I want the maximum chance of success on this beast. And since I'm looking forward to a warm night's sleep in a cheap hotel in Alamosa Friday night, I'll be hiking the road that morning. So, I'm gonna plan on starting very early on the road. Probably start up the road in the XTerra around 2:00am, hopefully making it a couple miles past 8,000' (8,800' would be sweet, but we'll see how much snow there is), and hiking around 3:00am. That way, we have daylight to scope out terrain, hike/climb the peak(s), and get back to safe ground before dark.

Hope to have a good group for this! Or even a couple groups :) But the more, the merrier for breakin' some trail.

Brad
A little pain never hurt anyone.

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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby Mountain Ninja » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:57 am

Anyone else want to join up? We've got a few people excited about this route on Saturday, so please PM me if you're interested. :)
A little pain never hurt anyone.

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