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 Information Entries for Blanca Peak

Climbing History (Blanca Peak)



Title: First Recorded Blanca ascent

Entered by: gpeoples

Added: 05/14/2010, Last Updated: 05/14/2010

Sources: A Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, By: Walter R. Borneman and Lyndon J. Lampert, Third Addition, Published 1994. Pruett Publishing, Company Boulder.

First recorded ascent of Blanca Peak was on August 14, 1874, by Gilbert Thompson and Frank Carpenter of the Wheeler Survey; yet, much to their surprise, they found a man-made stone breastwork on the summit. Possibly, the Utes had climbed the peak and used it as a lookout.

Geology (Blanca Peak)



Title: Blanca Peak Geology

Entered by: rockdoc53

Added: 10/19/2010, Last Updated: 10/19/2010

Sources: Johnson, B.R. and Bruce, R.M., 1991, Reconnaissance geologic map of parts of the Twin Peaks and Blanca Peak Quadrangles, Alamosa, Costilla, and Huerfano counties, Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-2169

Blanca, Ellingwood and Little Bear peaks are part of a granitic batholith formed over 1.7 billion years ago (Early Proterozoic). Blanca Peak is composed predominantly of metagabbro with tonalite gneiss on the eastern side. Metagabbro is a dark gray to very dark green, metamorphosed igneous rock of gabbroic composition, typically with phenocrysts of hornblende and plagioclase. Tonalite gneiss is a white to light gray green metamorphosed igneous rock of tonalite composition, typically 60% plagioclase, 30% quartz 2% potassium feldspar, and 8% percent mafic minerals altered to epidote, chlorite and muscovite. A few Miocene-Oligocene felsic dikes intrude the metagabbro near the summit.

Geology (Ellingwood Point)



Title: Geology of Ellingwood Point

Entered by: rockdoc53

Added: 10/19/2010, Last Updated: 10/19/2010

Sources: Johnson, B.R. and Bruce, R.M., 1991, Reconnaissance geologic map of parts of the Twin Peaks and Blanca Peak Quadrangles, Alamosa, Costilla, and Huerfano counties, Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-2169

Ellingwood Point is composed predominantly of 1.7 billion year old (Early Proterozoic) metagabbro, which is is a dark gray to very dark green, metamorphosed igneous rock of gabbroic composition, typically with phenocrysts of hornblende and plagioclase. A glacier formed the U-shaped valley and a series of tarns, Lake Como, Blue Lakes and Crater Lake, that reside in the valley west of the Blanca-Ellingwood cirque.

Geology (Sangre de Cristo)



Title: Stratigraphy and Paleogeography of the Northern Sangre de Cristo 14ers

Entered by: shredthegnar10

Added: 05/10/2010, Last Updated: 05/10/2010

Sources: Bolyard, D.W., 1959, Pennsylvanian and Permian stratigraphy of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between La Veta Pass and Westcliffe, Colorado: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 43, p. 1896-1939 Brill, K.G., 1952, Stratigraphy in the Permo-Pennsylvanian zeugogeosyncline of Colorado and northern New Mexico: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 63, p. 809-890 Hoy, R.G. and Ridgway, K.D., 2002, Syndepositional thrust-related deformation and sedimentation in an Ancestral Rocky Mountains basin, Central Colorado Trough, Colorado, USA: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 114, p.804-828 Lindsey, D.A., Clark, R.F., and Soulliere, S.J., 1986, Minturn and Sangre de Cristo formations of southern Colorado; a prograding fan delta and alluvial fan sequence shed from the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 41, p. 541-561

Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Peak, and Humboldt Peak all include rocks of the Pennsylvanian (323-299 million years ago) Minturn Formation and the Pennsylvanian-Permian (306-251 million years ago) Sangre de Cristo Formation.
The Sangre de Cristo Formation gradationally overlies the Minturn Formation (meaning that there is no missing time between them), and is defined by the redbeds near the basal part of the Sangre de Cristo Formation. The Minturn Formation consists largely of marine sediments (limestones, siltstones, shales), whereas the Sangre de Cristo Formation consists of primarily nonmarine sediments (arkosic conglomerates, sandstones, siltstones). The shift in the depositional environment resulting in these differences is interpreted as the result of a large-scale sea level regression that occurred during the Middle Pennsylvanian.
The Sangre de Cristo Formation consists of two members (members are kind of like subdivisions of a geologic formation): the Crestone Conglomerate and the Lower Member. The Crestone Conglomerate is defined by the presence of cobble(64-256mm diameter) and boulder (>256mm diameter) sized clasts.
Both the Sangre de Cristo Formation and the Minturn Formation formations were deposited in a sedimentary basin known as the Central Colorado Trough, which was created as a result of the uplift of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, an indirect result of continental collisions involved in the formation of the supercontinent Pangea. Drainage systems developed to transport eroded material off of these mountains into the basin, and that material is what makes up these formations.
In the limestones of the Minturn Formation, scientists have identified numerous fossils, including fusulinids, brachiopods, crinoids, and bryozoans.
FUN FACT: The sediments of the Sangre de Cristo Formation were deposited during the same time period as the rocks of the Maroon Formation, which make up the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak.


Name History (Blanca Peak)



Title: Naming of Blanca Peak

Entered by: 14erFred

Added: 05/14/2010, Last Updated: 05/14/2010

Sources: Borneman, W.R., & Lampert, L.J. (1978). A climbing guide to Colorado's Fourteeners. Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing Company. Hart, J.L.J. (1977). Fourteen thousand feet: A history of the naming and early ascents of the high Colorado peaks (Second Edition). Denver, CO: The Colorado Mountain Club.

The name "Sierra Blanca" (Spanish for "white sawtooth mountains") is used to designate the group of peaks that includes Blanca Peak, Little Bear Peak, Ellingwood Point, and Mt. Lindsey. The name probably refers to the snow that perpetually covers the tops of the highest peaks. Sierra Blanca was used to refer to this sub-range of the Sangre de Cristos as early as 1853, when Lieutenant E.G. Beckwith mentioned it in his report of the Gunnison Expedition. Blanca Peak is the name given to the highest summit of this group of mountains.

Name History (Ellingwood Point)



Title: Naming of Ellingwood Point

Entered by: 14erFred

Added: 05/14/2010, Last Updated: 05/14/2010

Sources: Borneman, W.R., & Lampert, L.J. (1978). A climbing guide to Colorado's Fourteeners. Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing Company.

This summit was named for Albert R. Ellingwood, a pioneering member of the Colorado Mountain Club who was among the first to climb all of Colorado's 14ers. Ellingwood was born in Iowa in 1888, attended high school in Colorado Springs, and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to England's Oxford University, where he learned the skills of technical rock climbing. He was a professor of political science at Colorado College (Colorado Springs), at Lake Forest College (Lake Forest, IL), and Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). He was an Assistant Dean at Northwestern University until his death in 1934.

Ellingwood made numerous first ascents in Colorado, including those of Kit Carson Peak, Crestone Needle, and Crestone Peak, the last of Colorado's 14ers to be climbed (in July 1916). He also made the first ascent of Lizard Head, Middle Teton, and South Teton, as well as the third ascent of the Grand Teton. In addition, he made the first ascent of Ellingwood Arete on the northeast face of Crestone Needle. Ellingwood Ridge, the spectacular Northwest Ridge of La Plata Peak, was also named for Albert Ellingwood, who made its first ascent solo in 1921.

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