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 Peak(s):  Blanca Peak  -  14,345 feet
Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
 Post Date:  06/20/2010
 Date Climbed:   06/13/2010
 Posted By:  travis19877

 Blanca and Ellingwood- 6/13/10   

Introduction

Members of this hike include myself and Kevin8020. We met at my house at 9:15 in the morning, did all of our double checks for gear, and were off. Last minute, I remembered i almost forgot my Helmet. As i went to grab it, I found an old cowboy hat. I put it on, and Kevin made fun of me for the first time of the trip, it wouldn't be the last! We started the drive down and made a stop in Pueblo for a quick grocery store run. We grabbed several things that i will continue to take on climbs for the rest of my life; pre-hike gum, propel energy drink mixes, and a shockingly good late night camp snack, canned tuna with crackers!

Last week Kevin and I hiked Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre, and stopped in Gunnison for Subway. We aptly named it XL Subway, and anyone who has eaten there knows what I'm talking about. This week, we stopped at the Subway in Pueblo, which we found to be the opposite, small but very cozy, we liked it. It was added to our list of pre-hike rituals, which i think we have about 22 points on our "hiking code." The hiking code was developed by Kevin and myself after I hit the milestone of being Kevin's "most dedicated hiking partner," for hiking with him again and again even after a few scary incidents on Yale. Every hike since it was developed, it was common for us to add at least a couple of points to the list. All kidding aside, that list taught me a majority of what I now know about leading climbing trips.

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First view of "Blanca Massif"

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Medina for Sheriff!



Drive/Hike In - Lake Como "Rockpath"

As we drove into Lake Como, we were greeted by an odd group of cows literally right ON the road. The following picture was taken without zooming in, while Kevin nervously encouraged the cows to be "nice."

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"Nice cow.. Nice cow.."


The cows were very cooperative and after being asked nicely to step aside, they did just that. Nice cows.

After making it past the cows Kevin was quickly cursing Lou Dawson. Apparently, in his book Dawson says portions of Lake Como Road is like driving across thousands of baby heads. It seems Kevin didn't appreciate his vivid style of descriptive writing. If my memory is correct, we made it about 1.8 miles into the road and decided we would just hike the rest. We parked in the shade, and Kevin had decided to try a new way of documenting our trips. Because so many family and friends are tired of hearing all these funny and entertaining stories, Kevin was asked to bring a video camera and record the "fun" stuff. So he did just that, starting with taping me, shirtless in my cowboy hat, putting a 40 pound backpack on. I was happy to entertain him. We soon decided whoever named this "thing" Lake Como road was crazy. So we did everyone a favor and officialy (meaning we decided to put it in the code,) named it Lake Como Rockpath.

After a long hike past 2 Jaws sections, we came to Jaws 2.5. Kevin asked if he could borrow my camera to take a picture of the plaque from the man that died driving it years ago. He said he wanted to show it to people and let them know that he wanted something like that if he ever died. We both agreed we wanted that and made the promise that we would do something like that for each other should anything ever happen.

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RIP Leonard M Davis


The hike from the car to our camp took us 5 1/2 hours. We figured that for once, it might not be that much faster of a descent given the terrain on "Lake Como Rockpath." We reached our camp right off the shores of Lake Como, where we had a weird experience of fire making. There was ample tinder around, however good fire wood was hard to find.

Blanca Peak

The whole day the weather was very ugly. Thunder clouds threatened all day but it was just too cold to produce anything. We made quick work to the valley below the Blanca - Ellingwood traverse. Stopping several times looking at the gorgeous views of the San Luis Valley.

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The trail was almost all snowfree until you get passed the highest lake, which i believe is Crater Lake, but there are so many small ones up there I am not really sure. We had decided to leave snowshoes at home, crampons at camp, and other than a few sections neither were needed. If your the kind of person who prefers crampons (or steep snow routes to scree,) then crampons are probably a good idea. For a short time we found ourselves slightly off route, and basically just decided to go up, knowing we would eventually intersect the route, and we did just that. This route was surprisingly exposed, but none the less fun. The weather still seemed ominous so we made a quick push to the summit, took summit pictures (cowboy hat and all), meet the fastest climber i've ever seen (seano,) and hiked back down to the connecting route of Blanca and Ellingwood.

My apologies, all the summit photos were taken on Kevin's Camera, which is shattered and probably still with SAR.

Ellingwood Point

We hit the ridge after summiting Blanca and kept a really quick pace. Both because i was having good conversation with Seano and was trying to match his insane pace to keep the conversation going. It probably only took us about 45 minutes to do the connecting saddle and we were on top of Ellingwood Point.

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We took pictures and got off because of incoming storms that were moving fast. On the way down we were greeted by combinations of groppel, hail, heavy winds, and beautiful sunshine.

At camp, we tried to get fire going with wet tinder to no avail. I gave up after about 15 minutes and Kevin stayed out for an extra 30 minutes doing everything he could to get a fire going for us. He never got it, but his perseverance was shown here.

The next day we set off for little bear. For obvious reasons i'm not calling it a trip report. I have pictures i will put up and i'll leave recommendations for gear and thats it. Sorry.

Gear -

Required:
ICE AXE
CRAMPONS
HELMET

The rest is entirely optional, take my word for it and don't even try the hourglass this time of year, it's iced over and dangerous. Try the north face, several hikers had success there.

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Blanca Peak from Ellingwood

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Little Bear from Ellingwood

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
unclegar


Thanks     2010-06-20 20:58:54
Thanks for sharing. I‘m sure this must have been a hard one to write.


Dancesatmoonrise


Courage     2010-06-21 09:43:06
Ditto Unclegar‘s comments. Thank you for posting this for us. It helps to be there with you and Kevin on his last day.


mountainmicah83


Thanks for posting Travis     2010-06-21 10:04:26
Travis. It has a taken a real man to be able to post this and the other information and you have gone above and beyond to keep us informed. See you at the top!


EVEREST DREAMS


Thank you     2010-06-21 10:42:06
Travis, Sorry you have to still deal with all this. I pray for Kevins family and all involved ever since I heard of this terriable event. Thanks for putting up these pic‘s for others to see. If you would like, we are going to the Windom group Aug. 2 let me know. So sorry for you....Peace for you all. Tom


Johnson


The Promise     2011-06-02 08:57:39
I was wondering what the promise was. Thanks for sharing. You and Kevin‘s family continue to be in my prayers. Happy to see you getting out. Take it easy.


H Man

So Sorry     2010-06-22 14:02:47
Hi Travis, I am so sorry for you and all those who knew and loved Kevin.

On Sunday I found an ice axe in the hourglass and it looks like the one Kevin is carrying in these photos. I did not know him, but would like to give it to his parents if they want it.

My prayers continue for all of you who were close to him. May you experience peace that surpasses all understanding.

Howard Brooks


vorticity


In My Thoughts     2010-06-27 14:37:31
I am doing this climb with a friend on 10 July. I will be thinking of you and Kevin the entire trip. Bummer. Vort.


pk122


Sorry to hear     2010-07-02 20:45:17
Thanks for posting this, Travis. So, so sorry to hear... I‘ll be climbing a few in that area for Kevin in a couple weeks.



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