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 Peak(s):  Blanca Peak  -  14,345 feet
Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Mt. Lindsey  -  14,042 feet
 Post Date:  07/04/2011
 Date Climbed:   06/27/2011
 Posted By:  Nelson

 Tour de Sange, Part 2   

Sangre de Cristo, Part 2
The Blanca Group.

Flush with success and convinced I was in the right area I drove to Alamosa to clean up and have a hot meal. On the morning of the 26th I drove to the Lake Como trailhead. From the road (160) I drove 3.2 miles to an altitude of 8848 ft., a new personal best. Image
The Lake Como road
As I hiked up the 3000 ft to Lake Como I passed many people on the way down. Image
Little Bear towering above Lake Como
They all seemed to have done Blanca and/or Ellingwood but no one had done Little Bear. I knew there was virtually no snow from Lake Como to Blanca or Ellingwood but I knew little about LB. I had seen a trip report about a week or two old that said snow was not a factor but apart from that I had no Beta.

I made the lake in about 2 ½ hours and I set up camp. The 27th I was up at 4 and moving at 4:45. I headed for Blanca first but made the mistake of going too high. Image
Mt. Lindsey
I gained the Ridge at about 14,000 ft. instead of the intended 13,750. My route was direct but not efficient and I reckon this cost me a half hour or so. Once I was on the ridge things were straight forward and I summitted at 7:45. Image
Little Bear and the traverse
Image
Ellingwood
Image
The traverse from Blanca to Ellingwood

I took a break and many pictures and headed back to the Ellingwood cut off. This time I studied the route carefully and set off for Ellingwood. I was on top in a couple of hours and again took a break for pictures and food. Image
Blanca Peak
Image
Blanca/LB traverse
I headed down and was back in camp for lunch and an afternoon break. Image
Crater Lake
Image
Cairn Art


I was not sure of the conditions on Little Bear so I thought it better to start a little later, 6 am to allow the snow, if any, to soften up. I headed up the horrible scree/talus/dirt pitch to the ridge. Image
Couloir leading to Little Bear

From there I traversed below the ridge towards the hour glass. When I got my first view of the hour glass my heart dropped. Image
Snow apron under the hour glass
I could see a distinct snow apron right underneath the hour glass apparently blocking the way. As I got closer I could see that the snowfield could easily be bypassed on either side. When I was right under the hour glass I could see that there was no snow or ice in the hour glass itself. Image
The hour glass
Image
The rope in the hourglass
There was a rivulet of water coming done but nothing threatening. Game on! I made a tactical move and took one of my Roctanes and headed up. Image
The ridge leading to LB
For LB this was perfect summer conditions. 17>
There were lots of loose rock but I stayed left where the climbing was a bit harder but the rock much better. I was on top shortly after 9 and went through my ritual of eating, taking pictures, sending SPOT messages and thanksgiving. Image
The anchor
Image
A closer look at the rope.
I headed down and was back in camp before noon. After lunch I broke camp and headed down.

My next goal was the Huerfano trailhead west of Gardner but I made the obligatory stop in Walsenburg at the world famous Karl, Jr’s for a burger. Driving to the trailhead was no problem and I car camped the night. In the morning I was off at 6am for the Northwest Ridge of Lindsey. Image
The Huerfano crossing
This is a delightful scramble which is a much more pleasant alternative to the North couloir. Image
Mt. Lindsey
Image
The Northwest ridge
Again, I was back at the car in plenty of time for lunch. Image
Easier terrain
Image
False Summit.
I headed afterwards to Westcliffe for a shower, shave, hot meal and a night in a bed at the Courtyard Inn. Image
Mt. Lindsey Summit
Image Image


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
alpspitze


Awesome!     2011-07-05 08:39:50
Gotta be nice to be able to enjoy great places like the Sangre's and peaks all over the world for that matter!


Nelson


Mountains     2011-07-05 08:43:42
It really is. I feel blessed to be doing this at my age.

Nelson


MtnHub


Super photos!     2011-07-05 20:17:02
What a fabulous trip! You're an inspiration! Thanks for posting!


Lumber JAC


Great post!     2011-07-08 06:51:36
Summited lindsey last year. One of the best climbs! going for the triple from lake como later this month. Great inspiration. You've boosted my confidence
Thanks



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