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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-07-12||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: The route to the summit is completely clear of all snow. But bring a bear canister. Bear bags will be pillaged during the day while you are out hiking. Hanging them high and on a line between two trees is insufficient. They were safe at night during the 2 nights we were there. The bear is smart and he‘ll take your food while you watch. Your bad food habits can get you or the bear killed.
|2015-07-12||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Warning! Very Aggressive bear in lake como area. We set up our tent away from our cooking area and our bear hang( off a cliff). Despite practicing good bear protocol the bear ripped into our tent while we were climbing and ripped open our stuffed sleeping bags and pads. We had no smellables in the tent and didn‘t even cook dinner at the camp, we just boiled water for oatmeal and coffee in the morning and left no mess. There was no provocation for this act. We figure the bear has become accustomed to finding food in tents and has thus just started being overly curious. It may be worth it to pack up everything in the mornings. Also many of the campsites were very messy with trash or things left beside tents while people were not around. For the good of fellow outdoor users and the wildlife do your best to use good LNT practices in this area.
|2015-07-11||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Trail is dry and snow-free from top to bottom. No trouble with any stream crossings. No sign of the bear, but we camped about a mile below lake Como and it sounds like it‘s mostly active around the lake.
|2015-06-19||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Started from 8,800 ft on the road at 4AM. Road from about 1.5 miles in to the 8,800 ft mark where I parked seems rougher than previous years, perhaps from the heavy rains. Its still doable, just slower down low than I remember. The creek crossing on the road is a bit sporty with the water moving quickly. Gaiters, second pair of socks, and/or water crossing shoes recommend til the flow slows. First snow is on the far side of Lake Como. I carried snowshoes to over 13K, but never used them. In the AM the snow was frozen enough to walk across. In the afternoon, the postholing was not that big of a deal. Snow starts to become more continuous once above the waterfall headwall and stays that way until 13,400. I took crampons and ice axe, making climbing the snow up the bowl to above the ledges easy work. In the AM the snow made for bomber crampon steps. It looked like any signs of prior travel up Blanca above the first ledges had been erased. There is now a good boot path through the snow that should even make crampons unnecessary. Above 13,400 you can stay on a talus rock rib all the way to ridge. This puts you closer to Blanca when you reach the ridge. The ridge is mostly straight forward and snow free except for a couple of noticeable cornices to climber left. By late morning the snow in the bowl was soft enough to glisade, making easier work of the trip down. No worries about wet slides as the snow is getting thin, but be careful not to build up much speed on the glisade, the late morning/afternoon snow will not make for a quick arrest. From the approach and Blanca, Ellingwood looked to be holding more snow across the upper trail. It appears that the Ellingwood ridgeline would be the safer option for now. The coulior climb up Ellingwood still looks sweet with an early start. No signs of the bear at the lake. All in all, the snow is melting fast. The creeks and streams are running high. Snow is solid in the early AM and gets pretty slushy an hour or two after sunhit. Large number of parties up at the Lake this weekend should beat in the trail even further. Back at the Jeep at 3:30PM. Kudos to Chris and his son Reece from Texas who hiked with me from above the waterfall. Strong effort! I only hope my son will be as well when his time to climb arrives. Pictures to follow this afternoon.
|2015-05-23||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Camped at Lake Como Friday night. Plenty of snow still. Attempted Blanca early Saturday morning, but there was recent avalanche activity at the steep section just past blue lake. I turned back there. I saw one other person on my way down and he planned to get a bit further. Hard to see in the photo, but center of photo shows avalanche. Second photo is of Ellington.
|2015-05-17||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Blanca and Ellingwood are both caked with snow right now. Lake Como is still frozen and there‘s continuous snow from the lake to the summits. Blanca‘s standard, NW ridge route was doable by moving between rock patches to reach the ridge but a couple of climbers who attempted Ellingwood were turned around by deep, unconsolidated snow and cross-loading on the south face. On Blanca, we ascended the subtle, rocky rib that runs up the center of the NW face and then exited left to hit the ridge, near the summit. Steep but a safe line away from avy danger. I dug a snow pit near near 13k and did a compression test with a result of CT22 at approx. 14 inches down. While it was hard to break that layer, once it broke, it slid off like butter. If the area gets a lot more snow and/or lots of warming, that could become a bigger problem. If you go up there, dig a couple of pits and do some tests.
|2014-12-28||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Blanca was good for skiing. Some sections were waist deep! Parked just below 9000 feet and camped at Como Lake.
|2014-12-23||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Lower section of road is driveable with only a few snow drifts. I parked 3 miles in, stopping because I was getting nervous about getting stuck. Someone has been driving ATVs up to 9500, so no snowshoes required until you get into the drainage below the creek crossing. Road was easy snowshoeing. Snow didn‘t get deep until Lake Como where the trenching became tougher, especially later in the day where the snow turned heavy. A fair amount of snow in the upper basins required more trenching (quickly filling in with snow due to the winds). Blanca didn‘t have much snow to contend with. Ellingwood had a fair amount of snow, most of it knee deep. The traverse was mostly knee deep with some waist deep sections. Avy danger seemed okay; I spend a LOT of time on dangerous slope angles and nothing seemed ready to slide. Very cold in the basin; the only sun hit was high on Ellingwood.
|2014-12-01||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: final test
|2014-10-05||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Some areas are holding a few inches of snow on the north and northwest slopes and a couple icy spots on the ledges in the a.m. It melted some by early afternoon, but there are beautiful ice hangings starting to form. I traversed the summit ridge to the right at the last 150 ft or so and was glad to have my micro spikes. Ellingwood looked much cleaner, but ran out of time and water. First time up Lake Como Rd. I am going to trade in my POS Rav4.
|2014-09-08||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: I came up Zapata Creek to get to Ellingwood. I made the mistake of not taking the ridge traverse both ways connecting to Blanca. Big mistake. The class 3 traverse is easy and well marked with cairns. Give it a try!
|2014-08-29||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: headed for blanca and ellingwood. the rocks in the basin and the boulder field, especially under, on and above the ledges section, basically the ledges all the way to ridge of Blanca were frosted. I used my yak trax and had no problem, but took a few slip and falls before finally giving in. The conditions did not improve until noon, and even after noon some areas remained really icy. Gaining the ridge on blanca, and staying ridge proper is the best way to go, if you drop at all expect icy rocks because they are in the shade all morning and the ridge proper is exposed to sun. Ellingwood is sun exposed and was great. The face of blanca is starting to collect snow that hasn‘t melted over a few days of summer weather.
|2014-08-02||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: It snowed rained Friday night and sleeted/snowed above treeline. Smaller rocks were covered with a thin sheet of ice in the morning, making for slightly slower going. On the upper mountain, there were fresh snow patches that were easier to get traction on. As the day warmed, the rocks thawed out quickly. Light clouds and fog on and off all day, with a thunderstorm rolling in around 6pm.
|2014-07-30||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Trekked up the Lake Como road on 7/29. There was high water at the stream crossing. We went 5 yards upstream in the brush to hope across with dry feet. ATVs immediately following us were above the tires and required some expert driving to make it out of the stream. The last mile of the road has three recent rock slides that are passable on foot or by ATV experts. There‘s is an overturned 4x4 above one or two of the slides. The ATV riders were talking about salvaging parts from this. The plates and other vehicle IDs were stripped from the vehicle already. This was my second time on Lake Como road. It will take awhile to get me on this walk again.
|2014-07-21||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Totally dry. Only concern is the nuisance bear reported previously. We saw no bear signs coming, going or in camp, however about half of the 10 or so groups we talked to had seen the bear at the edge of their camp or along the road, anywhere from 10000 to above lake como. However, none reported losing food in trees or having items disturbed while away. Looks like someone (NFS?) has cleaned up the previously reported trash everywhere and posted many warning signs reminding us what to do and not do. Thanks to TRs and CRs for giving us a heads up about this worry, and many thanks to those that cleaned it up before we made our trip. Maybe the bear will survive this lean year, and tempting people food, and become part of the already awesome mystique that is lake como and blanca group!
|2014-07-11||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Dry to the summit.
|2014-06-28||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Dry & summer conditions in full effect. Crater lake still semi-frozen, but the rest of them are melted and beautiful
|2014-06-17||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Tough approach but all clear. Most of the snow was gone, only a couple of small snow crossing. Very windy and cold on this day.
|2014-06-13||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Led a group of 6 today from Lake Como up to Blanca Peak. All of us summited. No ice axes, microspikes, crampons, or poles were used. All snow remaining in the basin can easily be walked around if desired, though some of the snowfields are quite easy to cross also. Camping conditions are quite appalling at Lake Como though. There are fire rings about every 10 feet, all full of trash. We also camp across a grocery shopping bag of trash and a full 13 gallon trash bag full of trash just sitting on the ground. It is a beautiful lake but the whole place looks like a total dump because we the users aren‘t taking care of it.
|2014-05-24||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Got none of the forecast 4-6 inches of snow today. Almost no snow at all until you get to Lake Como, and there is still a need for snowshoes past Lake Como, although you may posthole anyway. Much of the snow in the trees is rotten. I kept snowshoes on until Blue Lakes. There‘s a LOT of water from melting snow right now. Water all over the road, Lake Como is essentially overflowing, etc. Be careful where you step, you may be stepping on snow covering standing or running water (like I did). I turned around at Crater Lake due to threatening clouds (pic 3) and of course as soon as I am back on Lake Como Rd. it was a bluebird day again.