Peak:  Ellingwood Point
 Route:  South Face
 Range:  Sangre de Cristo
 Posted By:  goingup
 Date of Info:  1/14/2023
 Date Posted:  1/15/2023

What a beautiful winter summit. With avalanche danger pretty high and mostly sketch everywhere else in the state the Sangres seemed like the safest bet. Mike and I decided on Ellingwood Point. Mike had done Blanca a few weeks earlier around Christmas time and said it was dry. That is no longer the case, but it is dry in comparison to the San Juans where I live or the Elks which are buried under 30,000 feet of snow. I drove from Montrose on Friday afternoon and slept in my truck at the base of the road. Mike met me from Colorado Springs early Saturday morning. Like true masochists we started on the road at 8,000 feet. It was dry until 9,200 feet. We put snowshoes on at Lake Como and kept them on (navigating a few headwalls) until we were standing directly below the summits of Blanca & Ellingwood. They are necessary. We did not attempt the standard route to the saddle but chose a steep line up the south face of EP. We kept snowshoes on until it got too steep. We did not know if we would need them again, so we attached them to our packs and carried them, along with the other 30 pounds of gear we each had in our packs to the summit. The route was a mixed bag of shit. Really crappy snow. We wore microspikes and jumped between snow and rock. The snow was not consolidated enough for crampons. If it was, life would have been cruisy / : It was tough and pretty exhausting forward progress. We started at 3:45 a.m. so we had plenty of time (made the summit at 11:30 a.m.). Our hard turnaround time was 1 p.m. so we did not continue on to Blanca which was only a loose plan if conditions were right. I haven't done a winter 14er since this time last year (La Plata) with an attempt of Harvard a few weeks later (made it really far but turned out I had Covid and did not know it, so I was moving far too slow.) I forgot how much fun carrying a heavy pack through less-than-ideal conditions for 14 hours is. Really though, this was an absolute blast, and I would have no problem going back to do Blanca and Little Bear. Even though I have completed the 14ers in summer I have never actually been up Como Lake Road. In summer, I did Blanca and Ellingwood from Zapata Falls and Little Bear's SW ridge. I am not a fan of people, and those route choices are void of human life. So, this was my first-time up Como Lake road and it was void of people. That is a win. Final stats were 16 miles with 7400 feet of vert. It took us 13 hours and 15 minutes. I made some coffee and drove back to Montrose as soon as we were done. Colorado 114 is a wild drive at night. That is 62 miles of dark and desolate. I call this the 30-hour adventure plan. Winter 14er #18, hoping to get to 20 this season. Winter is the superior season. I will not be told otherwise.


Comments or Questions
Not a fan of people
01/15/2023 11:42

Who is this and what are you going up about?? ;)

01/15/2023 11:50
@d_baker Didn't someone shoot a bear at Lake Como? Seems like a place to avoid in the summer lol. The older I get the worse this condition gets. I am 1 year away from disappearing into the woods forever.

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