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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-07-15||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Climbed these two the yesterday via the traverse. Summer conditions on both mountains and the traverse. The Class 3 traverse was much more like class 2 with exposure and maybe one class 3 move, but overall it seemed super tame. We ascended Blanca and then went over. If I had to do it again, I'd probably ascend Ellingwood and then come down Blanca because the trail off of Ellingwood was fine when we had it but super easy to lose. We ended up off route and in crap talus/scree half the time. No fun. Its almost impossible to lose Blanca's trail. Mosquitos were out in full force at Lake Como, but so were the fish.
|2016-07-09||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Drove out to the Lake Como Road Approach to camp out on Friday night and took my Ford Edge to 8,800' or about 3.2 miles from 150 pretty easily. I could've gotten to about 9,300 but oh well. In the morning there were probably 10-12 tents at Lake Como from people who hiked in. Didn't see any cars past Jaws 1 until we we hiking back down and saw 6-7 vehicles that made it up to Lake Como. Started at 4:30. Summited Ellingwood at 9am. Traverse over to Blanca took a little over an hour (Picture 1). Back to the car by 3:30 (couldn't find anyone to drive us down ha). We struggled to find the trail to Ellingwood to we just went straight up the talus to the ridge once we crossed the snow in Picture 2. NOTE: cross the snow down at the bottom not where we did (ice w/o microspikes). Overall, perfect day with great conditions!
|2016-07-04||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Trail is snow free till Crater lake. Small amount of snow after that, which can be avoided, except a small patch just before reaching the ledges above Crater lake (can be crossed at well-trodden sections without postholing). Extremely helpful cairns all the way to the top.
|2016-06-26||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Mostly snow free. A few snow fields to cross. Only a small amount of postholeing near the edges of the snow fields. One field with a good vertical pitch needed microspikes earlier in the day, but softened up nicely later on. Others without spikes opted to take some crappy rocks up to avoid the hard slick snow. Ridgeline to the top was totally snow free.
|2016-06-25||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Snow along the /route/ is minimal. Afternoon showers occurred around 3-5PM and included ice pellets. Temperatures ranged from 45 in the early morning to 75 in the afternoon. Recommended equipment: none. Equipment carried: Axe, Crampons Stay hydrated, my friends.
|2016-06-20||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Did some flying yesterday and had my wife take some pics of the main route up Blanca -- I attached the picture for your viewing pleasure. She didn't manage to shoot Little Bear's hourglass, but it still had snow. I would guess it will be mostly gone in a week or two.
|2016-06-19||Route: Gash Ridge
Info: Road mountain bikes in to the Lily Lake TH, there is a pink flagged route through the landslide just downhill of the road. It was a little cumbersome to carry bikes, but if one were hiking/running navigating the flagged route would not be too difficult. Otherwise the road is in good shape for mountain biking. The trail through upper Huerfano is flooding and marshy in a lot of spots, so expect wet feet unless you go through a lot of effort to stay dry. The climb up from the valley to the base of the Gash ridge was mostly snow free, with some large patches closer to the saddle. The snow around the edges of the fields was very rotten (knee to balls deep post holing) but most of the snow in the center of the snow fields was solid and we walked right across. The Gash ridgeline itself is clear and a great scramble/climb to the summit of Blanca. Looking down from the summit of Blanca into Como basin, there is a fair bit of snow above the lake and on the connection to Ellingwood still. Folks were glissading some long stretches and we could see a steps kicked up the snow. Bring at least an axe if not crampons/microspikes if ascending from the Como side.
|2016-06-11||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: As noted by Lemmiwinks in the Ellingwood Point update, the road is dry up to Lake Como. Starting at Lake Como, snowshoes are needed to proceed into the upper basin. (Especially in the late morning/early afternoon) Blanca's ridgeline is dry, but getting there will require crampons/ice axe/snowshoes. Traversing over to Ellingwood is a bit more fun. We stayed on the saddle as long as we could, but soon had to cross several steep snowfields with dangerous runouts. Crampons/Ice axe and self arrest proficiency are mandatory to gain Ellingwood's summit ridge, which is also fairly dry now. Plan to start at 4AM or sooner to avoid post holing in the basin below.
|2016-05-29||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: We did Ellingwood Pt and not Blanca, but we obviously had a good view of Blanca. Snow was continuous from Lake Como. Unless you are on skis, snowshoes are a definite help--especially later in the day. There is still a ton of snow up there. We saw a group of 3 headed up Blanca and then descend. Didn't seem anyone was using the std summer ridge route, but rather heading right up the face.
|2016-05-19||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Not an actual condition report, but the photo should give a lot of information to anyone heading up the Lake Como road this weekend. Did a drive by and took these photos on Thursday, May 19. There was also about an inch of hail on Rte 160 just south of Blanca.
|2016-03-19||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Did a day trip yesterday. No new snow up there. Hard bulletproof snow on the approach in the basin. Swapped skinning for cramponing in places. Ridge has just enough snow to make it a challenging scramble. The face of Blanca didn't look appealing to me for a ski descent. Steep crux on bulletproof snow, so we just left the skis at the saddle. Be smarter than me and bring more than a nalgene of water!
|2016-01-22||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: 2wd vehicles can park at the summer 2wd trailhead. 4wd will go substantially farther, but even an ATV failed to reach the point where the road turns into the drainage heading to Lake Como. Below timberline, good trench from before the most recent snowfall still mostly supports boot traffic. There is substantial snow at and above timberline, so snowshoes are recommended. (Photo 1). Blanca is largely windscoured but Ellingwood has a fairly decent cloak of snow (Photo 2). The final section of ridge below the summit, difficult for class 2 under summer conditions, is somewhat sketchy with snow on it; not enough to climb but enough to hide or degrade hand and footholds. I did not use traction, but ended up chopping a few ice steps near the top.
|2015-10-14||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Totally dry all the way up to the final 200 feet to the summit. At that point, there are patches of snow in the rocks which don‘t really pose a problem. Near the top, snow below and to the right or the ridge makes it preferable to stick to the ridge proper if you don‘t mind the exposure. It was summer weather up there yesterday.
|2015-10-10||Route: Little Bear-Blanca Traverse
Info: Little Bear-Blanca Traverse on 10/10 and SW Ridge of Ellingwood on 10/11, all in good condition. There‘s some water/ice in the hourglass, but all easily avoidable. There was some lingering snow at the beginning of the traverse coming down from Little Bear, which was the only stressful area (and probably significantly melted in the interim). Some snow patches coming down the normal route on Blanca, but careful rock-hopping avoids having to set foot on it. I did the whole thing comfortably in approach shoes.
|2015-10-08||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: The road up to Lake Como is snow free and still very nasty to drive on, I got a mile up the rocky portion before having to park. The trail itself is mixed with light snow and ice which made most of the talus portions very slippy. Once on the saddle there was ~20% snow coverage. The most stable area was on the ridge line.
|2015-09-18||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Fall colors are starting to show. Approaching Lake Como today it doesn‘t have a lot tall Aspens. From Blanca/Ellingwood could see good colors to the northeast a few miles. Looks like approaching Huerfano/Lily Lake Trailhead for Mt Lindsey would be a great mix of summer and fall. No snow in the Sangres.
|2015-09-12||Route: Little Bear -> Blanca Traverse
Info: Climbed Blanca via the traverse from Little Bear. What a classic climb! Highly recommended for experienced climbers who enjoy a little (okay, a lot of) exposure. We left the summit of Little Bear at 9:40 AM and reached Blanca at 1:10 PM. I didn‘t find any of the moves especially tricky, but you do have to maintain absolute focus for ~3 hours. From the summit of Little Bear, the route looks a bit more intimidating than it actually is. There are some very steep spires on the ridge 2/3rds of the way to Blanca. The route actually bypasses these spires by dropping off the ridge to the right.
|2015-09-03||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: I climbed Blanca and Ellingwood together in one day. Blanca Peak was my 39th fourteener of this summer. My goal is to climb them all. You can read more on this hike and others at Sunshineof1985.com. Enjoy! Route: Northwest Ridge from Blanca Peak, then Combo Distance: 12.46 mi. Elevation Gain (from parking at 8,000 ft.): 6,800 ft. Time started: 6:10am End time: 4:10pm Time to Summit Ellingwood Point from 8,000 feet: 5 hours and 10 minutes Time to Summit Blanca Peak from summit of Ellingwood Point: 1 hour and 30 minutes Time to Descend Blanca Peak to Como Lake: 2 hours Overall Pace: 1.3 miles per hour *GEAR (to bring): Bear spray, helmet, water purifier, first aid kit, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, headlamp, flashlight, toilet paper, GPS, extra batteries, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, extra change of clothes, wear a tank top, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat, lightweight gloves, overnight pack with water sack and extra water (160oz), food for two full days (large bag of jerky, large bag of trailsmix, 4 protein bars, and 4 granola bars). *Road Condition: The directions from 14ers.com is correct in that a sedan will only make it to 8,000 feet or slightly further. We saw one Jeep make it all the way to Como Lake- which was mind boggling. *Trail Condition: 8,000 to Como Lake: You‘ll be on the road the entire time. The road mixes between dirt areas where it‘s easier to walk, but mostly river rock and boulders. Eyes on the ground mostly to watch your step. Como Lake to Ellingwood Point: You‘re still going to be on a road until 12,000 ft. elevation. Easy slow gain to this point. Trail is in great condition and easy to follow with the cairns. We took the higher route on Ellingwood (class 3) and it‘s more than fine- nothing too scary at all (coming from a person who has a slight fear of heights). Ellingwood Point to Blanca Peak: Trail at the divide between the two and on to Blanca is a difficult class two. You‘ll have to pull yourself up in some areas. Otherwise, just weave your way up watching for cairns until the summit. Some loose rock, but not bad.
|2015-08-07||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Bears have been causing problems in the Lake Como camping area for climbers accessing Blanca, Little Bear and Ellingwood. On Aug. 7, staffers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service placed a some cables between trees to allow campers to hang their food and camping gear. An instruction sheet will explain how to use the set-up properly. Please, use the cables to hang your gear at night and while you‘re off climbing. Campers are reminded to cook well away from their tent sites. Do not take any food or toiletries that might be fragrant inside your tent. If you see a bear, make it feel uncomfortable -- yell at it, throw things at it and make yourself look big. Never provide food for bears. Talk to other campers who are not "bear aware."
|2015-07-30||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: *** Bear Alert *** Where: Como Lake area. What: A nuisance bear has been seeking out food items brought into the area by recreationists. The bear has become unnaturally conditioned to being around humans and has damaged backpacking equipment and a tent while searching for food. What to do: Food, clothing worn while cooking and other scented items such as toothpaste should be stored in bear resistant containers, or high lined away from sleeping areas. No food or scented items should be kept inside or near tents. Property such as tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks should be put away/secured if they are left for the day. Keep dogs leashed. Keep children between adults. Do not let them run ahead. If you surprise a bear on the trail, stand still, stay calm and let the bear identify you and leave. Talk in a normal tone of voice. Be sure the bear has an escape route. Never run or climb a tree. If the bear approaches, stand your ground. Yell or throw small rocks in the direction of the bear. Get out your bear spray and use it when the bear is about 40 feet away. For more information: To learn more about the current situation, contact the Conejos Peak Ranger District at 719-274-8971. To learn more about hiking and camping in bear country, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Bear Aware webpage at http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeCampingBearCountry.aspx To report an encounter with a bear: Contact the Conejos Peak Ranger District at 719-274-8971 or Contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 719-587-6900.