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Peak(s):  Ellingwood Point  -  14,057 feet
Date Posted:  06/29/2009
Modified:  11/22/2009
Date Climbed:   06/28/2009
Author:  bergsteigen
 Ellingwood - couloir snow climb - Part 2   

Ellingwood Point
Co-climber: Mike

Day 1: Pack in to Como Lake
Day 2: Blanca Peak

Day 3: Ellingwood Point

Day 3
Start 5:15am Summit: 9:30am

This morning felt much warmer, and so we didn't expect the verglace conditions from yesterday. Starting off from camp, there were some low clouds in the valley. Mike was confident they would burn off as the sun came up.

As we approached our couloir, the clouds were still low, making route finding more challenging. We met one group that we later heard turned around, not having found a way up that pleased them.

Views from the start of the couloir:


With the thick clouds, we didn't take any more photos along the route. All that we saw was white snow and dark rocks through the veil of thick cloud mist. The climb was much easier than yesterday. The snow was softer, allowing for easy kick steps.

About the only difficulty was knowing exactly where we were. We missed the left turn up into the snowfield below the false summit, since a band of rocks blocked the entrance, so we continued up and to the right until we ran out of snow. From there we angled up and to the left until we found the summit, still in the clouds.

We waited on the summit for an hour and a half, hoping the clouds would lift. We could see to the north, and periodically over to Mt Lindsey. Occasionally the clouds would thin, and we'd get excited, but it never really lifted until we left the summit.

Summit shots, waiting out the clouds:


Descending a couple hundred feet, the clouds started lifting, and the photo taking commenced:

Mt Lindsey (from our vantage point, the approach looks free of snow):

Little Bear teasing us:


An 'almost summit shot':

Little Bear upclose:

Looking back at Ellingwood from our descent track toward the ridge connect:

After such a wonderful ascent, the descent was horrendous. I hate talus, I really really hate it. And this slope is terrible. I was constantly worried that I would start a rock slide. I'm so glad I climbed this one with at least some snow! Ack, how does one do this in summer?

Here's me, happy to be on a snow crossing:

A wonderful glissade, with no more yucky talus!

We crossed over to the other side of the valley to get a good view of our route.

Green: our route
Blue: what our route "should" have been

Looking up at the Blanca-Little Bear ridge

After some gnarly post-holing in bad places with water running underneath, we made it back down to below snowline with a long glissade:

We said goodbye to the beautiful waterfall:

Near camp, we took a rest by the palatial palace of cabins:

After a bit of rest and packing up our backpacks, we made our way down the road. Near the stream crossing, it started raining with thunder and lighting and hail. We wondered what the climbers up at lake Como were thinking, the storm right above their heads! We took shelter until the front of the storm had passed, and the rain had slowed down. The road seemed to take forever to walk, but eventually we made it out. On the drive north, we were treated to a wonderful sunset, but too tired to think about stopping for a photo.

Not a bad few days of snow climbing in summer!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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