| Blanca, Ellingwood, Lake Como
Here's my first 14er trip report! Any words of advice will be greatly appreciated
So for the readers who just want the meat and potatoes of the trip here they are:
-Got to about 8,800' in my stock Nissan X-Terra on the dreaded Lake Como road
-No snow up until Lake Como
-Snow was no deeper than a foot, but was pretty hard to progress through
-Blanca Summit was pretty snowy, and with the snow, crampons are definitely recommended
-Coldest temperature that I recorded was 48 degrees, but it was an unusually warm weekend
-No signs of bears
And now for a more detailed report!
I'm a sophomore at the Colorado School of Mines and had fall break from October 15-18 and decided I'd been studying too much and needed some 14er in me. So my roommate and I made the decision to head down to Lake Como on a Friday afternoon, hike that night, hike the next day, and play at the Sand Dunes on Sunday.
We left Golden at about 3 and got to the Lake Como road at about 11, and drove to about 8,800' before my X-terra couldn't go any further. There's one pretty eroded dip before the "Jeepers Creepers" sign that is pretty rough, but if you can get by that, the road is pretty tame for the next mile or so. We started hiking at about midnight, and had headlamps and the moon was just about full, so it was providing some great light.
What Lake Como Road looked like at night
Start of our journey
The next day we woke up a bit later than we planned. We wanted to wake up at about 7, but slept in till noon. The tree we were under kept us from seeing much of the sunrise, so we slept in a little late.
Aspen Trees from our Campsite
The hiking up Lake Como was a lot more rough than I expected. Very rocky, very muddy, very wet. It was pretty grueling to get up to the lake.
First sight of Lake Como with Little Bear in the background
Up above Lake Como, the snow became deeper and the weather got colder.
One of the lakes above Lake Como
We got to a large exposed rock face when we ran into a couple that told us that we have about another 2 hours to go before we get close to the Blanca summit. It was about 3 at this time, and the sun was setting fast. I may be young and new to 14ers, but not young enough to make a dumb decision and let summit fever get the best of me. "No summit? No shame. Forced summit? No Brain."
Ellingwood and Blanca
The hike back down was pretty easy and had an amazing view of Little Bear from the Lake and one of the most amazing sunsets I've ever seen.
Sunset coming down from Como
Gorgeous Lake Como reflection
Overall, I would give the trip an 8. It was really good weather, great scenery, and an all around great hike. However, not reaching a summit is pretty disappointing. But overall a great 14er experience
On the difficulty scale, I would say that this was about an 8. It was tough hiking on the road, and it's just so far! Keep in mind however that I've only done 11 14ers, so what I call an 8 might be quite a bit different from what someone else with more or less experience calls an 8
Thanks for reading and hopefully I'll be able to get some more reports up in the future!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):