Blanca Peak  
Report Conditions Information   Photos  Comments       
2016-05-19  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2016-05-20, By: Wentzl
Info: Not an actual condition report, but the photo should give a lot of information to anyone heading up the Lake Como road this weekend. Did a drive by and took these photos on Thursday, May 19. There was also about an inch of hail on Rte 160 just south of Blanca. 
2016-03-19  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2016-03-20, By: ulvetano
Info: Did a day trip yesterday. No new snow up there. Hard bulletproof snow on the approach in the basin. Swapped skinning for cramponing in places. Ridge has just enough snow to make it a challenging scramble. The face of Blanca didn't look appealing to me for a ski descent. Steep crux on bulletproof snow, so we just left the skis at the saddle. Be smarter than me and bring more than a nalgene of water! 
2016-01-22  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2016-01-23, By: RWSchaffer
Info: 2wd vehicles can park at the summer 2wd trailhead. 4wd will go substantially farther, but even an ATV failed to reach the point where the road turns into the drainage heading to Lake Como. Below timberline, good trench from before the most recent snowfall still mostly supports boot traffic. There is substantial snow at and above timberline, so snowshoes are recommended. (Photo 1). Blanca is largely windscoured but Ellingwood has a fairly decent cloak of snow (Photo 2). The final section of ridge below the summit, difficult for class 2 under summer conditions, is somewhat sketchy with snow on it; not enough to climb but enough to hide or degrade hand and footholds. I did not use traction, but ended up chopping a few ice steps near the top. 
2015-10-14  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2015-10-15, By: C-Shepguy
Info: Totally dry all the way up to the final 200 feet to the summit. At that point, there are patches of snow in the rocks which don‘t really pose a problem. Near the top, snow below and to the right or the ridge makes it preferable to stick to the ridge proper if you don‘t mind the exposure. It was summer weather up there yesterday. 
2015-10-10  Route: Little Bear-Blanca Traverse
Posted On: 2015-10-11, By: tjf242424
Info: Little Bear-Blanca Traverse on 10/10 and SW Ridge of Ellingwood on 10/11, all in good condition. There‘s some water/ice in the hourglass, but all easily avoidable. There was some lingering snow at the beginning of the traverse coming down from Little Bear, which was the only stressful area (and probably significantly melted in the interim). Some snow patches coming down the normal route on Blanca, but careful rock-hopping avoids having to set foot on it. I did the whole thing comfortably in approach shoes. 
2015-10-08  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2015-10-09, By: D_Lide1989
Info: The road up to Lake Como is snow free and still very nasty to drive on, I got a mile up the rocky portion before having to park. The trail itself is mixed with light snow and ice which made most of the talus portions very slippy. Once on the saddle there was ~20% snow coverage. The most stable area was on the ridge line. 
2015-09-18  Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2015-09-18, By: WillRobnett
Info: Fall colors are starting to show. Approaching Lake Como today it doesn‘t have a lot tall Aspens. From Blanca/Ellingwood could see good colors to the northeast a few miles. Looks like approaching Huerfano/Lily Lake Trailhead for Mt Lindsey would be a great mix of summer and fall. No snow in the Sangres. 
2015-09-12  Route: Little Bear -> Blanca Traverse
Posted On: 2015-09-13, By: awpalmer27
Info: Climbed Blanca via the traverse from Little Bear. What a classic climb! Highly recommended for experienced climbers who enjoy a little (okay, a lot of) exposure. We left the summit of Little Bear at 9:40 AM and reached Blanca at 1:10 PM. I didn‘t find any of the moves especially tricky, but you do have to maintain absolute focus for ~3 hours. From the summit of Little Bear, the route looks a bit more intimidating than it actually is. There are some very steep spires on the ridge 2/3rds of the way to Blanca. The route actually bypasses these spires by dropping off the ridge to the right. 
2015-09-03  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2015-09-07, By: Sunshineof1985
Info: I climbed Blanca and Ellingwood together in one day. Blanca Peak was my 39th fourteener of this summer. My goal is to climb them all. You can read more on this hike and others at Enjoy! Route: Northwest Ridge from Blanca Peak, then Combo Distance: 12.46 mi. Elevation Gain (from parking at 8,000 ft.): 6,800 ft. Time started: 6:10am End time: 4:10pm Time to Summit Ellingwood Point from 8,000 feet: 5 hours and 10 minutes Time to Summit Blanca Peak from summit of Ellingwood Point: 1 hour and 30 minutes Time to Descend Blanca Peak to Como Lake: 2 hours Overall Pace: 1.3 miles per hour *GEAR (to bring): Bear spray, helmet, water purifier, first aid kit, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, headlamp, flashlight, toilet paper, GPS, extra batteries, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, extra change of clothes, wear a tank top, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat, lightweight gloves, overnight pack with water sack and extra water (160oz), food for two full days (large bag of jerky, large bag of trailsmix, 4 protein bars, and 4 granola bars). *Road Condition: The directions from is correct in that a sedan will only make it to 8,000 feet or slightly further. We saw one Jeep make it all the way to Como Lake- which was mind boggling. *Trail Condition: 8,000 to Como Lake: You‘ll be on the road the entire time. The road mixes between dirt areas where it‘s easier to walk, but mostly river rock and boulders. Eyes on the ground mostly to watch your step. Como Lake to Ellingwood Point: You‘re still going to be on a road until 12,000 ft. elevation. Easy slow gain to this point. Trail is in great condition and easy to follow with the cairns. We took the higher route on Ellingwood (class 3) and it‘s more than fine- nothing too scary at all (coming from a person who has a slight fear of heights). Ellingwood Point to Blanca Peak: Trail at the divide between the two and on to Blanca is a difficult class two. You‘ll have to pull yourself up in some areas. Otherwise, just weave your way up watching for cairns until the summit. Some loose rock, but not bad. 
2015-08-07  Route: Lake Como Approach
Posted On: 2015-08-07, By: Lewandowski
Info: Bears have been causing problems in the Lake Como camping area for climbers accessing Blanca, Little Bear and Ellingwood. On Aug. 7, staffers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service placed a some cables between trees to allow campers to hang their food and camping gear. An instruction sheet will explain how to use the set-up properly. Please, use the cables to hang your gear at night and while you‘re off climbing. Campers are reminded to cook well away from their tent sites. Do not take any food or toiletries that might be fragrant inside your tent. If you see a bear, make it feel uncomfortable -- yell at it, throw things at it and make yourself look big. Never provide food for bears. Talk to other campers who are not "bear aware." 
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2015-07-30  Route: Lake Como Approach
Posted On: 2015-07-30, By: RGrNF
Info: *** Bear Alert *** Where: Como Lake area. What: A nuisance bear has been seeking out food items brought into the area by recreationists. The bear has become unnaturally conditioned to being around humans and has damaged backpacking equipment and a tent while searching for food. What to do: • Food, clothing worn while cooking and other scented items such as toothpaste should be stored in bear resistant containers, or high lined away from sleeping areas. • No food or scented items should be kept inside or near tents. • Property such as tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks should be put away/secured if they are left for the day. • Keep dogs leashed. • Keep children between adults. Do not let them run ahead. • If you surprise a bear on the trail, stand still, stay calm and let the bear identify you and leave. Talk in a normal tone of voice. Be sure the bear has an escape route. Never run or climb a tree. • If the bear approaches, stand your ground. Yell or throw small rocks in the direction of the bear. Get out your bear spray and use it when the bear is about 40 feet away. For more information: • To learn more about the current situation, contact the Conejos Peak Ranger District at 719-274-8971. • To learn more about hiking and camping in bear country, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife “Bear Aware” webpage at To report an encounter with a bear: • Contact the Conejos Peak Ranger District at 719-274-8971 or • Contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 719-587-6900. 
2015-07-25  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2015-07-30, By: zsmith
Info: The entire route is dry and in summer condition. There is still a serious bear problem at Como Lake. Please read my Lake Como trailhead report for details. 
2015-07-25  Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2015-07-30, By: zsmith
Info: The entire route is dry and in summer condition. There is still a serious bear problem at Como Lake. Please read my Lake Como trailhead report for details. 
2015-07-12  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2015-07-14, By: mspalding
Info: The route to the summit is completely clear of all snow. But bring a bear canister. Bear bags will be pillaged during the day while you are out hiking. Hanging them high and on a line between two trees is insufficient. They were safe at night during the 2 nights we were there. The bear is smart and he‘ll take your food while you watch. Your bad food habits can get you or the bear killed. 
2015-07-12  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2015-07-12, By: Texancanadian
Info: Warning! Very Aggressive bear in lake como area. We set up our tent away from our cooking area and our bear hang( off a cliff). Despite practicing good bear protocol the bear ripped into our tent while we were climbing and ripped open our stuffed sleeping bags and pads. We had no smellables in the tent and didn‘t even cook dinner at the camp, we just boiled water for oatmeal and coffee in the morning and left no mess. There was no provocation for this act. We figure the bear has become accustomed to finding food in tents and has thus just started being overly curious. It may be worth it to pack up everything in the mornings. Also many of the campsites were very messy with trash or things left beside tents while people were not around. For the good of fellow outdoor users and the wildlife do your best to use good LNT practices in this area. 
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2015-07-11  Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2015-07-13, By: awiktor
Info: Trail is dry and snow-free from top to bottom. No trouble with any stream crossings. No sign of the bear, but we camped about a mile below lake Como and it sounds like it‘s mostly active around the lake. 
2015-06-19  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2015-06-20, By: Wookie Horn
Info: Started from 8,800 ft on the road at 4AM. Road from about 1.5 miles in to the 8,800 ft mark where I parked seems rougher than previous years, perhaps from the heavy rains. Its still doable, just slower down low than I remember. The creek crossing on the road is a bit sporty with the water moving quickly. Gaiters, second pair of socks, and/or water crossing shoes recommend til the flow slows. First snow is on the far side of Lake Como. I carried snowshoes to over 13K, but never used them. In the AM the snow was frozen enough to walk across. In the afternoon, the postholing was not that big of a deal. Snow starts to become more continuous once above the waterfall headwall and stays that way until 13,400. I took crampons and ice axe, making climbing the snow up the bowl to above the ledges easy work. In the AM the snow made for bomber crampon steps. It looked like any signs of prior travel up Blanca above the first ledges had been erased. There is now a good boot path through the snow that should even make crampons unnecessary. Above 13,400 you can stay on a talus rock rib all the way to ridge. This puts you closer to Blanca when you reach the ridge. The ridge is mostly straight forward and snow free except for a couple of noticeable cornices to climber left. By late morning the snow in the bowl was soft enough to glisade, making easier work of the trip down. No worries about wet slides as the snow is getting thin, but be careful not to build up much speed on the glisade, the late morning/afternoon snow will not make for a quick arrest. From the approach and Blanca, Ellingwood looked to be holding more snow across the upper trail. It appears that the Ellingwood ridgeline would be the safer option for now. The coulior climb up Ellingwood still looks sweet with an early start. No signs of the bear at the lake. All in all, the snow is melting fast. The creeks and streams are running high. Snow is solid in the early AM and gets pretty slushy an hour or two after sunhit. Large number of parties up at the Lake this weekend should beat in the trail even further. Back at the Jeep at 3:30PM. Kudos to Chris and his son Reece from Texas who hiked with me from above the waterfall. Strong effort! I only hope my son will be as well when his time to climb arrives. Pictures to follow this afternoon. 
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2015-05-23  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2015-05-24, By: Prometheus1
Info: Camped at Lake Como Friday night. Plenty of snow still. Attempted Blanca early Saturday morning, but there was recent avalanche activity at the steep section just past blue lake. I turned back there. I saw one other person on my way down and he planned to get a bit further. Hard to see in the photo, but center of photo shows avalanche. Second photo is of Ellington. 
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2015-05-17  Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2015-05-18, By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Blanca and Ellingwood are both caked with snow right now. Lake Como is still frozen and there‘s continuous snow from the lake to the summits. Blanca‘s standard, NW ridge route was doable by moving between rock patches to reach the ridge but a couple of climbers who attempted Ellingwood were turned around by deep, unconsolidated snow and cross-loading on the south face. On Blanca, we ascended the subtle, rocky rib that runs up the center of the NW face and then exited left to hit the ridge, near the summit. Steep but a safe line away from avy danger. I dug a snow pit near near 13k and did a compression test with a result of CT22 at approx. 14 inches down. While it was hard to break that layer, once it broke, it slid off like butter. If the area gets a lot more snow and/or lots of warming, that could become a bigger problem. If you go up there, dig a couple of pits and do some tests. 
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2014-12-28  Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2014-12-30, By: ap snow
Info: Blanca was good for skiing. Some sections were waist deep! Parked just below 9000 feet and camped at Como Lake. 
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