Peak(s):  Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  01/07/2021
Date Climbed:   12/28/2020
Author:  PeakSixTD
 Winter Elly   

First off, allow me to preface this report with an apology. Usually, I have my photos ordered throughout my reports in a chronological fashion. They will be at the bottom of the page today. Unfortunately I spent three hours at a local library last night (living in a cabin until spring so no internet) trying to get this report posted. Everytime I submitted it, I would be greeted with my active report only saying "enter report here". I have no idea why, but I will have to do reports on my phone until I move this spring. That means no more mildly clever photo captions. I know how many of you were looking forward to that… (sarcasam). Here goes nothing.

I found myself laser focused on pursuing new objectives going into the 20-21 winter 14er season. Last snowflake season was rather unproductive. I was starting a new business, so naturally my time and resources were stretched thin. I still managed to get up a few peaks, Blanca being one of them. It was a fantastic day, but I opted not to go for Ellingwood due to unsafe snow conditions. Keyton (GiantHills) and myself were bouncing around ideas of what to go for the first weekend of winter. He was as eager as I was to start the season off right. We settled on Ellingwood, since he had to forgo it last year as well after his summit of Blanca. He invited his friend Carrie, and we settled on a 4am start time.

As I was making my way towards the rendezvous spot on the Como road, I noticed headlights. Surely that must be my people! I rode up and let out a joyous "What's up guys?!?"...

They did not match my enthusiasm. I asked if they were Keyton and Carrie. They assured me they weren't. I believed them. Since they were stirring at 4am I asked if I would see them on Blanca or Ellingwood. They looked at me like I was from Mars and asked what I was talking about. Ooookay then, goodbye! What a weird encounter. Anyhow, I made my way up to people that I actually have stuff in common with. We made the meet and I decided to taxi everybody as far as my Cherokee would take us. This ended up being the same spot I made it to last winter. There is a significant dip at 8,600 feet. Looked easy to go down, but up could be another story. We didn't test it.

We made quick time up the road. We ended up making it to 10.5K before we had to switch to using flotation. A quick break was had to don the "Slowshoes" as Keyton affectionately refers to them.

As we approached the lake, we grew somewhat concerned with the weather. NOAA had called for only 20% sky coverage by this time. The mountains were totally engulfed in thick clouds. Once we reached Como, it began to snow. Little Bear was looming ominously over head.

Instead of taking the trench that wound its way around the right side of the lake, we opted to take a deviation directly up a headwall to the left of the lake. This probably saved us an hour RT. Totally recommend finding this bypass in winter.

We worked our way through the lower basin, with no signs of improvement in the weather. The wind decided to make an appearance as well. We continued to zig zag through the area while searching out the safest lines for travel. An hour or so passes, when all of the sudden…. We notice a patch of blue laced into the infinite grey skies! Could it be? Best not to get our hopes up… a few minutes later, there is another one! This turned out to be no mirage. The skies were clearing! Woohoo! Optimism began to spread through the team in a contagious manner. We were prepared to brave the clouds and snow, but good visibility is much more conducive to finding the safest and most efficient line. On we went.

Now that we had adequate visuals on our target, we could begin to plan our ascent. There was a mostly dry rock rib staring us right in the face. This rib shot directly up the mountain and would spit us out on the ridge crest. It certainly looked appealing. There was enough snow to keep it fun, but not enough to slide on our path. A short time later, we were on the summit.

Despite the forecast being wrong once already, we noticed the trend would not end there. This time however, it was a good thing! The winds were supposed to pick up early afternoon. Sustained wind speed was predicted to be 20 to 35 with gusts higher than that. We didn't feel anything over 15 the rest of the day. Truly beautiful at the summit.

The descent went by quickly. We were all in high spirits, fresh off of our new snowflake. The Como road was actually better coming down with the snow! It was like walking on a sea of pillows… Okay, maybe not THAT nice, but still. Ellingwood was great to us and a great time was had by all. I was in good company this day, and I am eager to see what we can all accomplish together! Maybe even hit some peaks overseas… what will we end up hitting? Stay tuned...

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

01/07/2021 20:10
I remember doing Ellingwood by itself in a long day. Definitely takes on a new meaning vs tacking it on to Blanca/LB from a camp at the lake.

01/07/2021 22:44
This one is on my goals list for this year.
Nice for your group to experience this in winter and wonderful photographs.


First shot
01/07/2021 22:50
Might as well be Everest! Nice work!


Thanks for the report
01/08/2021 07:05
Thinking my dog and I will tag Blanca/Ellingwood this winter


No internet
01/11/2021 16:02
I'm super jealous that you are living in an internet-less cabin until spring.

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