Peak(s):  Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Blanca Peak  -  14,345 feet
Date Posted:  02/08/2013
Modified:  02/09/2013
Date Climbed:   02/02/2013
Author:  Dad Mike
 Ellingwood South Couloir & SW Ridge...Traverse to Blanca  

For those of you that like couloir climbs...put this one on your list. I knew I wanted to climb this line the first time I saw it filled with snow. And the bonus is that it leads to a really fun ridge scramble.

TH...Como Road
Distance...13 Miles
Time...8 hours

This is dedicated to Darin Baker. Because I know he has nothing better to do in Shreveport, LA than lurk on trip reports and starting fights. Have fun with the bugs and swamps brotha.


I was able to drive to 9700' on the road...about 1/2 mile from Jaws I. Road was pretty dry up to this point.

From where I started, it was a little more than 2 miles to the lake. I found the remnants of an old trench, but recent snow had pretty much filled it in. Here is Lake Como and Little Bear.

Once above the lake you get this view of Ellingwood. Up to this point I wasn't sure if I was going to take the standard ledge route up to the SW ridge or the couloir. I felt pretty good about the snow conditions and once I saw this, I was sold.

My best guess at my route to and up the couloir

Looking up the couloir. This about where I switched to spikes and axe. There were a few short sections where it was pretty firm and I would have been better off in crampons. But for the most part I felt comfortable with what I had.

I would guess the couloir is about 1000' tops out on the ridge right around 13,500'.

Scramble from the top of the snow to the southwest ridge

Looking back at the can see the couloir under the cliffs

What makes this happen...wetter snow and wind? Whatever it is, I love looking at it. It's like rock icing. And I love me some icing.

Here's what's left of the southwest ridge from near the top of the couloir...not too difficult scrambling on a beautiful ridge with some exposure and killer views in every direction.

Summit of Ellingwood Point

Blanca (left) and Little Bear (right)

Well I made it this far, might as well climb Blanca while I'm here. The traverse to Blanca was uneventful and I was on the summit of Blanca in about an hour.

My friend...the Blanca, Little Bear Traverse

Looking back at Ellingwood Point and some 13ers to the North

Following my tracks back to Lake Como

Lake Como

I always forget how much worse the road is on the way down. I bottomed out so hard one time that I had to stop to see if there was a hole in something. This picture is taken from the lower section of Como Road...looking south at Culebra, my goal for tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone in the Saturday group who broke all that trail. It was much appreciated. Here's a shot of your work.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Kevin Baker

So those were your tracks...
02/09/2013 15:34
Nice work, Mike! I was up there on Thurs and was drooling at that couloir wondering how steep it was! I think we were following your tracks on the left side of the drainage. What would you estimate the slope angle gets to in the couloir?

Dad Mike

Hey Kevin...
08/12/2014 23:13
Sorry we keep missing each other. Those were my tracks...probably further left than I needed to be, but didn't want to be down in those trees. I would put it at 40 - 45...pushing 50 near the top.

Mountain Ninja

Totally awesome job!
02/09/2013 17:34
Wow, Mad Mike, that is some sick winter climbin'! I love your pic of Ellingwood on the ridge (#10), just beautiful. You're a beast. I can't imagine how cool it was to look at that LB-Blanca ridge after having done it in winter already!


I resent that comment
02/09/2013 20:21
I'm perfectly capable of starting fights regardless of where I am! Nice report Mike, and thanks for the well wishes.

Randy G.

02/10/2013 14:30
I've never been up ther in winter. Your pics are going to force me to correct this. Thanks!!

I Man

great stuff!!
02/11/2013 00:30
Awesome route man, and a great time! Bummer we couldn't match up on Culebra days.

Congrats on a great climb and a strong season so far.


02/11/2013 03:13
How long of a timer do you have to get that pic? Or are you Superman?


great report
02/17/2013 19:59
Awesome, thank you for the report. We are planning on coming out to do Ellingwood and Blanca and these really help us plan without having been there. Two questions:
Were you above or below ”the sign” on como rd that points to blanca peak?
What is the orange thing around your neck in the 6th picture?

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