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Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?

Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby Mountain Ninja » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:50 pm

SilverLynx wrote:Planning on hiking Humboldt that day but I still need Blanca eventually... How do-able is Blanca in winter? :-k


Having never done it in winter yet, and basing this off TR's I've read, it looks like Blanca is a touch harder than normal, so class 3. From the road, I'm hoping it's not going to force us to park too low down, but we'll just hafta see. I'm looking forward to some beta from hikers going this weekend :)

It'll be a long day for sure, but I'm also hoping it'll be a little safer, and less snowier, earlier in the season (next Saturday) than later.
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby awilbur77 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:44 pm

"The standard summer route requires an extra 3.6 miles round trip in winter. Avalanche danger is considered moderate on the route."

per this: http://www.summitpost.org/colorado-14ers-in-winter/337648

By my calculations this make it about 19 miles and change... which is too much for me to even think about doing in a day. So, I will likely backpack into Como, camp, and summit on Saturday. I may also go for Ellingwood pending conditions, and how I am feeling too.
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby SurfNTurf » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:16 pm

It's 15.5 miles to the summit of Blanca from the highway turnoff at 8,000', which will be accessible almost every day of the year. I've easily made 8,800' -- the conservative 4WD TH -- in pseudo-winter (last January) and in April of one of the snowiest seasons on record (2011). I've heard of folks in stock Xterras and 4Runners making it above 10,000' in winter with no issue. Blanca's very doable in a day. :-D

In fact, having been in the area once as a daytrip from 8,000' and three times as a backpack to Lake Como, I'll never again carry a heavy bag up that road. Daytrip's the way to go.

Brad, I only wish I wouldn't be in Boston on the 29th, or I'd be settling a little score with Blanca alongside you. Good luck!
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby awilbur77 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:09 am

SurfNTurf wrote:It's 15.5 miles to the summit of Blanca from the highway turnoff at 8,000', which will be accessible almost every day of the year. I've easily made 8,800' -- the conservative 4WD TH -- in pseudo-winter (last January) and in April of one of the snowiest seasons on record (2011). I've heard of folks in stock Xterras and 4Runners making it above 10,000' in winter with no issue. Blanca's very doable in a day. :-D

In fact, having been in the area once as a daytrip from 8,000' and three times as a backpack to Lake Como, I'll never again carry a heavy bag up that road. Daytrip's the way to go.

Brad, I only wish I wouldn't be in Boston on the 29th, or I'd be settling a little score with Blanca alongside you. Good luck!



Some of us aren't speed hikers though. If I try a day trip from 8000', search and rescue will be finding my body the next day around 13,500. :)
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby nkan02 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:00 pm

awilbur77 wrote:Some of us aren't speed hikers though. If I try a day trip from 8000', search and rescue will be finding my body the next day around 13,500. :)

Adam - I know exactly what you mean! :P I started from 8,800 last winter, but was handicapped by the extra weight of my supposedly lightweight AT setup + avy gear - and had to quit around 13,500. In perfect weather, too!

Brad - if my current plan falls through, I'd be game for this.

Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby LynnKH » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:52 am

SurfNTurf wrote:It's 15.5 miles to the summit of Blanca from the highway turnoff at 8,000', which will be accessible almost every day of the year. I've easily made 8,800' -- the conservative 4WD TH -- in pseudo-winter (last January) and in April of one of the snowiest seasons on record (2011). I've heard of folks in stock Xterras and 4Runners making it above 10,000' in winter with no issue. Blanca's very doable in a day. :-D

In fact, having been in the area once as a daytrip from 8,000' and three times as a backpack to Lake Como, I'll never again carry a heavy bag up that road. Daytrip's the way to go.
!


+1
I parked in the exact same place in summer and in winter: 8,800 feet. So I'm not at all sure where the 19 miles is coming from.

It's personal choice, but I never want to carry an overnight pack up that road again and spend a miserable night at Lake Como. Day trip all the way.

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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby ezabielski » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:31 am

LynnKH wrote:
SurfNTurf wrote:It's 15.5 miles to the summit of Blanca from the highway turnoff at 8,000', which will be accessible almost every day of the year. I've easily made 8,800' -- the conservative 4WD TH -- in pseudo-winter (last January) and in April of one of the snowiest seasons on record (2011). I've heard of folks in stock Xterras and 4Runners making it above 10,000' in winter with no issue. Blanca's very doable in a day. :-D

In fact, having been in the area once as a daytrip from 8,000' and three times as a backpack to Lake Como, I'll never again carry a heavy bag up that road. Daytrip's the way to go.
!


+1
I parked in the exact same place in summer and in winter: 8,800 feet. So I'm not at all sure where the 19 miles is coming from.

It's personal choice, but I never want to carry an overnight pack up that road again and spend a miserable night at Lake Como. Day trip all the way.


I haven't climbed Blanca yet, why didn't you like spending the night at Lake Como?

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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby awilbur77 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:32 am

I was getting the 19 miles from here: http://www.14ers.com/routemain.php?route=blan1&peak=Blanca+and+Ellingwood + http://www.summitpost.org/colorado-14ers-in-winter/337648

15.5 + 3.6 = 19.1

I am obviously confused then. I have never been up this notorious road, so I am just going with what I've read.

I could be talked into a day trip, y'all are faster than me anyway so I'd at least have you breaking trail for me. :lol:
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby LynnKH » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:36 am

ezabielski wrote:
I haven't climbed Blanca yet, why didn't you like spending the night at Lake Como?


It's not as much Lake Como as it is camping in the winter that I hate. Personal preference. It's actually a cool place - I love the view of LB plastered in snow if much is up there. But my choice would be to keep moving than to ever stop and spend time freezing over night.

Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby Mountain Ninja » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:34 am

awilbur77 wrote:I could be talked into a day trip, y'all are faster than me anyway so I'd at least have you breaking trail for me. :lol:


There's some good, positive thinking, Adam! :)


LynnKH wrote:It's not as much Lake Como as it is camping in the winter that I hate. Personal preference. It's actually a cool place - I love the view of LB plastered in snow if much is up there. But my choice would be to keep moving than to ever stop and spend time freezing over night.


I agree! I'm much more inclined to just start really early after a warm night's sleep in Alamosa, with a much lighter pack. But, to each his own.
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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby SHmids » Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:26 pm

We did not make any summits :? , but had a good trip none the less! :)

Here is a conditions report from this weekend's trip:

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/peakstatus_entry.php?recnum=1986#bottom

I'm hoping Ed (ETA) made a summit or two and will have more info to add!

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Re: Blanca in Winter - 12/29

Postby ETA » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:27 pm

I am sad to report that I didn't make it past the lake. Thanks again for the broken trail on the way up, that helped keep my pack haul to 4-1/2 hours, it took me 1:10 from where we met to reach the lake. Camping at the lake was great, nice temperatures and very little wind. I was hoping for a try at Little Bear, but once I saw the first gulley I knew instantly it wasn't going to happen. Maybe in spring when conditions are right, maybe I'm just dreaming. Anyway while dozing off to sleep I heard a sound like a rabbit attacking my snow shoes. It continued so I woke completely to the surprise of others setting up camp about 7:00pm. A quick howdy through the forest, I was back asleep. I think they headed out about 6:00am headed towards Blanca - Ellingwood. I left the tent about 7:00am on snow shoes following tracks. I didn't have the legs or the heart for a serious effort and turned back on the far side of the lake. Cloud cover early in the morning, colder than the night before, I packed up camp and hiked back out. It turned out to be a fine weather day, I hope those folks had a great day up there.

Near the lake the snow was 6"-12" deep, deeper drifts on sections. I would recommend snow shoes for travel. We all drove to approximately the same location, I had 3 miles on the odometer from the pavement. If it snows again the drifts will become an issue even lower along the road. Have fun folks, it's beautiful up there.
3 or 4 miles, can't be much further than that.

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