Peak(s):  Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  03/03/2009
Modified:  12/03/2009
Date Climbed:   02/28/2009
Author:  doumall
 Ellingwood Winter Summit Ski   

Climb of South Face
Ski Decent of South Face
4750', 16 miles


Maverick Manley


A trip of many goals, our first was reaching the Lake Como Shack from 9,400' on Lake Como road. We found the structure well kept and began melting snow before getting to sleep at 4 am.


We didn't feel the need for an alarm, deciding instead to rise when the mood struck us. We began the skin over the frozen lake at 9:30 am. Soon after, Ellingwood Point came into view.

Conditions were icy, so we booted through the headwall...

...then skinned into the upper basin below Blanca's North Face.

After targeting an ascent route which went through to the upper south face of Ellingwood, we spiked up and put one foot in front of the other.

We were all impressed with the nature of this couloir; a fine climb this was turning out to be.

Little Bear seem indifferent to our presence.

After the steep gully opened up, we made a bee-line for the summit ridge.

By gaining the ridge beyond the difficulties near the saddle with Blanca, the remaining climb was a quick talus hop.

The summit ski descent is in:

Enjoying the summit:

Another group summited Little Bear at the same time. They must have climbed the Hourglass right? We would find out later that night this ambitious crew made war with the NW Face, an admirable winter route even in these lean snow conditions.

Debbie and Prakash began the downclimb of the face while I skied off the top.

Threading the needle:

Steep stuff! This section of the ski suggests a no fall zone in these icy conditions as all slopes end in big cliffs.

A short traverse over a shoulder through the upper face...

And I found more open terrain to make some fun turns:

I must say, the terrain Debbie and Prakash successfully descended through here would have had me on edge. There was 100 yards of high 40 degree roll over to get off that shoulder, pictured above and to the left here:

After a few more icy jump turns...

...we located an exit through the cliffs low on the South Face.

Our ascent route involved very steep frozen snow which is why we picked this descent over our route up the couloir. Improving your chances at an event free return to camp is usually a good idea.

The routes denoted on the South Face:

Back at the shack we had a sweet fire and caught up on sleep for our attempt on Little Bear in the morning. Prakash's summitpost report with more logistic oriented detail and obscure references to mythological beasts can be found here

 Comments or Questions

02/05/2011 00:22
One hell of a weekend. We shore had the biggest party back at base camp that night... T'was a good fire we created.

EDIT: My report‘s up as well...


Nice work!
03/04/2009 04:45
Looks like a good day and ski...very nice

Chris P.

This may be old news but...
03/04/2009 05:13
Since when did Prakash shave his beard??

Those are some good conditions shots. Looks really thin compared to last year.

I‘ll be waiting eagerly for the Little Bear report.


Cant beleive you could actually ski up there
03/04/2009 17:39
We drove by the Blanca Group on 3/1. It looked like there was hardly any snow up there at all. You would have thought it was mid-June.


What are the odds...
11/30/2010 17:28
of having somebody take a picture like that when you're topping out on Little Bear in winter? Very cool, Joe! Did you actually see us or did you just find us in the picture after you got home? Looks like the skiing on Ellingwood was more enjoyable than Little Bear. Excellent weekend!


We saw you
03/04/2009 17:03
We definitely spotted you guys as you topped out. That is the main reason I took that picture. Do you want the full res?


rip van winkle...
03/04/2009 21:14
lost the beard on Capitol last year. Now I don‘t need to shower after every meal


Another sweet TR
05/02/2011 14:23
Thanks for another entertaining trip report. Was planning on getting down there to ski Ellingwood and Blanca but it sure looks bare right now.


Great stuff!
07/13/2009 02:15
Once again - it‘s nice to be able to live vicariously sometimes!


nice write up
03/08/2009 03:00
Would you say that Ellingwood would be the best choice of the 3 teener‘s in that basin right now?


Without question
03/08/2009 12:23
Ellingwood is the best of those three right now. If you‘re going after the entire list on a board though, I would just wait until you get good coverage all around up there. Some years you can get all three with big snowpack.


Thanks for the comments Everyone
03/08/2009 12:23
See you out there

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