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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
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.
|2015-09-03||Route: South Face
Info: Climbed Ellingwood and Blanca together. Ellingwood was my 38th fourteener this summer. I‘m trying to climb them all this summer. You can read more about 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.
|2015-08-16||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: The last report is garbage.. To the last poster, who goes scrambling in the mountains without a helmet, and what are you doing with a group that large? FS regulation is no group larger than 14. And what would a rope do there is no where to put any pro on a scree slope. And what were you doing in the LEFT side of the couloir? The route description specifically says stay RIGHT when it forks near the top, the left side is much sketchier. To anyone looking to just hit Ellingwood and avoid Lake Como, this is a great route. The C2 couloir is loose, I was glad I was the only one in it this morning, but with careful foot placement and sticking on the side where there is larger solid rocks it is definitely not as bad as the last guy makes it sound (I avoided the eroded slippery social trails in the center), definitely no rope or class 4 moves required. I would add that I thought the scrambling on the summit pitch was more difficult than ‘easy class 3‘ as described in the route description.
|2015-07-31||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: We had a group of 15 men make this attempt at Ellingwood Point from the South Zapata Creek Trail. Several of the group members and I had been reading trip reports for this trail to make sure we knew what we were getting into. None of the reports accurately describe the C2 Coulier, which is the recommended coulier for traversing to the North Ridge of Ellingwood. This report is particularly for non-Colorado 14er enthusiasts who depend on this site and trip reports to plan their trip. The C2 Coulier had too much loose rock and scree to be safe without additional climbing gear such as helmets and rope. We had neither and managed to get 13 of our 15 men to the ridge, but not without injury and significant stress. If the coulier had consistent solid rock on which to climb, this would live up to the Class 3 designation. However, with the unstable rock and scree on a steep 60 degree slope, this coulier should be ranked at a difficult class 3 or easy class 4 route. Additionally, there are no well-cairned routes along the north ridge for Ellingwood. Five of our men managed their way to just below summit, but had to turn back due to weather developing in the east. Three of us, including myself, made it to the north ridge where we could see the storm clouds developing to the east and also turned back. Our primary concern was being stuck on C2 Coulier in rain. That would have made decent nearly impossible and left us exposed well above treeline. Fortunately, the weather held and we all made it down to safety before the storm finally developed mid-afternoon. I would not recommend this route to moderate or even experienced climbers without gear and preparation for Class 4 climbing up C2.
|2015-07-25||Route: South Face
Info: The entire route is dry and in summer condition. There is still a serious bear problem at Como Lake. Please read my Lake Como trailhead report for details.
|2015-07-12||Route: South Face
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.
|2015-07-05||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Good trail up to S. Zapata Lake. Marsh around the lake is very full and wet which resulted in soaked feet. Did not attempt C2 due to earlier condition reports, so I don’t have good beta. C3 was completely dry. Detailed Trip Report to follow.
|2015-06-23||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Made attempt on C2 this morning got to base of snow at 5 am. Slightly firm at base, but punchy. now only got worse the higher I got. Called it when waist-wading in styrofoam like snow. Self arrest would not be a possibility on the steeper stuff up high. Oh, I wanted it. Been there twice. Not worth it though. Seems Spring‘s actually over.
|2015-06-21||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Trail is clear of snow until C2. Snow was solid enough for kicking steps with micro spikes on the way up, but slushy slippery on the way back down. Wish I had my crampons and so grateful for ice axe. Route is dry once at the ridge. This route avoids Como Road, but is quite a climb.
|2015-04-11||Route: South Face
Info: We hiked in the day before to Lake Como. There is very little snow and we found it easier and faster to move without snow shoes as there were very little spots where snow completely covered the trail. We started out at about 4am from Lake Como for the Ellingwood Point Summit, at this early in the morning we did not need snow shoes either and opted for micro spikes or crampons on the crusty snow. We hit the bowl right below the summit at about 530am. The snow was in good condition, but there were obviously previous avys that mostly looked like wet slab. The summit push was ice axe and crampon necessary (although we had one in our party that managed to jump from rock patch to rock patch with just his axe. The way down (8am) we were able to chose "ski" paths that we glissaded down for decent. All around beautiful hike. Heavy melt occurring every day!
|2015-01-18||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: We parked at around 8,500ft and threw on skis at around 10k where the snow became more consistent. After camping on the bench just about Como Lake, we departed for Ellingwood in the morning around 7. After checking snow conditions we picked a beautiful couloir to gain access to the SW Ridge, continued to the summit, and descended via the South Face.
|2015-01-04||Route: South Face
Info: Parked in the same spot as last weekend (8900ft) and camped at Como. Winds had destroyed the line I skied on Blanca but Ellingwood Point was good although a tad thin off the top. After that section it was deep!
|2014-11-07||Route: South Face
Info: I hiked to Lake Como on the 6th and climbed Ellingwood today. Snow starts at 10,200 and at 10,700 it is pretty much is continuos. It is only a couple of inches. By 12000 ft it is three or four inches. The crux of the climb for me was from 13,000 to 13,400. Here there was significant trail breaking, and crossing some steep sections with hard snow. I put on microspikes,here and kept them on to them on to,the summit. They were not necessary above 13,500 but there were enough patches of snow that it was easier to stay on snow than transition and climb talus. It is my opinion that there is currently a huge difference between south facing and north facing. I would not try Blanca without crampons and ax. The temperature at Lake Como was below 10 degrees. My water froze at night and my IPhone would not power up in the morning to send a SPOT message. I took two Nalgenes for,the climb and they froze as well. At 10300 I saw bear tracks, at the Lake there were no signs of life. No bears, no mice, no people.
|2014-09-08||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Trail is in great shape up till S. Zapata Lake. The C2 Couloir was horrendous (predictably), especially coming down, with no snow. Still now snow on trail at any point.
|2014-09-06||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: We climbed Ellingwood via Zapata Creek trail yesterday. Overall, this was a great route. We saw three other people all day. The lower part of the trail is in outstanding shape and well maintained. This is surprising as I understand this is a seldom-used approach to Ellingwood. The north ridge is challenging and has a short knife-edge that are all very fun and good for folks like myself that enjoy a thrill but not too much. The ridge itself is narrower than I expected but there are two basic options as described in the route description. The shady spots above about 13,700‘ were icy early. The icy part we couldn‘t avoid was just a flat part of the SW ridge with talus. This made it challenging for footing (but doable) in that part. The ice forced us onto the north ridge proper (the challenging part) which was in the sun. The ice had melted by the time we descended so we had the ridge and slightly below the ridge options which were now in the sun without ice. Of note, and the primary reason for this report, as this is the part of the route I didn‘t like. We ascended C2 and our group split and we descended both C2 and C3. Neither are good options (unfortunately, they are the only). C2 is steeper with fewer rocks all of which are loose in the upper half. When one breaks loose, it can roll a long way. With seven in our group this made it challenging on the ascent. We tried to stay on either the left or right side of the gully where there is solid rock for hand and foot holds. At the top, definitely, go right as one in our group went left and found it icy and very steep. The traverse along the ridge from the top of C2 to C3 seemed longer than the half mile in the route description and we almost descended the couloir to the east of C3 thinking we had made C3. I‘m glad we didn‘t ascend this route which was our original plan. We didn‘t follow the ridge the whole way but it was definitely more stable than contouring. C3 was not as steep as C2 and shorter. It contained LOOSE talus, larger at the top than the bottom. There was NO WAY to prevent it all from sliding/rolling. Descending was, essentially, sliding with the rock. Wouldn‘t have been any fun ascending either. At the bottom of the couloir, we crossed the rock glacier rather than going around it above the small lake. The north side of the rock glacier was also very loose and unstable. In retrospect, I would have gone below the rock glacier and hiked just above the lake. A recent post compared these two couloirs to the West Slopes of Columbia and Columbia was the preference. I think I agree and but never thought there would be a less-desirable route than Columbia West Slopes for me. Again, I like most of this route. C2 is the best option as it saves considerable distance and C3 is really not any better than C2.
|2014-09-06||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Great conditions on the SW ridge today. There were ice covered rocks the last 200 ft. or so before the summit until midday sun got to it.
|2014-07-04||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Summer conditions in the Zapata Lake area and on both Ellingwood and Blanca. The snow on the C2 couloir is gone, except for a tiny, insignificant patch near the top.
|2014-06-13||Route: South Face
Info: Did the traverse from Blanca to Ellingwood today. Trail is basically clear of all snow; well any snow can be avoided for the most part. On the way to Ellingwood, we did have to cross a few snowfields, but they were only about 6 feet wide in the places where we crossed. We did not have ice axes or crampons or any ice/snow gear at all.
|2014-06-07||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: South Zapata Creek trail is clear all the way up to South Zapata Lake. Be prepared with crampons and axe if you‘re attempting C2. Alternate route C3 is 1/2 snow covered but doable.
|2014-05-10||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Snow starting about a mile before the lake. Above treeline patchy but pretty snowed in by the time you reach the lake. C2 in great shape. Snow off and on from the saddle to the last ridge. Enough snow on the final push to keep it interesting.