Peak(s):  Blanca Peak  -  14,345 feet
Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  07/13/2009
Date Climbed:   07/12/2009
Author:  Perea

 The Death March To Heaven!  

Oh what a weekend! It started out Saturday morning leaving Aurora at 8:30 am for Mt Blanca in the San Luis Valley. I was starving by the time I got to Walsenburg so I stopped at Carl's Jr. hoping to load up on some calories. I ordered a Six Dollar Guacamole Bacon Cheeseburger. After driving out of Walsenburg I took a bite and it tasted weird so I took another bite and it still tasted weird so I took the bread off to look inside and there was no beef! "Where is the beef"? I thought about turning around but I was in a hurry and figured if they didn't make it right tomorrow on the way back I would call Frank Azar The Strong Arm or Tom Martino to make someone own up to it. Anyway on the way back they did make it right. Ok just had to get that off my chest now to the climb.
Image Wow!

I arrive to meet my dad who is attempting his 2nd 14er in as many weeks. He is waiting at the Rd with the ATV which we loaded up with gear. The lake Como road is arguably the worst road in the state and I would venture to say on the planet! It gets nasty early on.
Image My dad has a very unique riding style
Image Going through the puddle.
Image That just does not look fun!
I had heard all the complaints about this road and how much and how bad it was but I figured these opinons may be exaggerated a little. Trust me the trek from the valley floor at 8,000 ft to the lake is long(10.5 miles with 3900 ft of elevation gain) hot, dry, little shade, ankle twisting terrain, cactus, ugly ok you get the picture. I was having a blast on the ATV though and as we were passing people who were coming down saying "hi how are you doing today" the responses were well let's just say less than friendly. I told my dad seems like everyone walking down must have woke up on the wrong side of the sleeping bag. Well on the way back I was one of those grumpy young men as I did not feel like talking to anyone!
ImagePoor Soldier!
There are even names for certain sections of this rd. Jaws1 here is Jaws 1 you can see why they call it that.
We got the ATV as high as Jaws 1 but still had to walk about 3 miles to camp with the heat and heavy packs. As we got closer to the lake it started to green up, cool off the dust settled, and the death march was over! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At last beautiful Lake Como!
After filtering out some water and setting up camp we walked up a little ways on the trail and studied the next day's route. Wow is it nice up here!
Everyone went to bed at 9p.m and both my dad and I kept tossing and turning all night. Finally I gave up on trying to sleep and we chatted until we both fell asleep at 1a.m. We woke 2 hours later 3 a.m and hit the trail with my hiking buddies Globreal,Dhatfield,Susan Joy Paul, and Lost Sheep.
The first hour was in the dark but as the sun came up we started to get views like this.
Image Crater Lake still frozen over!
My father split off from us and went up Blanca first as this was his only goal for the day. The rest of us were going for the combo. We made it to the saddle as the sun rose it was spectacular.
Don't fall off here
We made it to the summit of Ellingwood point at about 7:30 am. were I was in constant contact with my father via 2 way radios. I wore a bright yellow shirt so I could be easily seen. Unfortunately Britt has the group shot on this one so I could not add to the report.
ImageBlanca in background.
We didn't stay more than 25 minutes before we started the traverse. This was some fun class 3 scrambling which I became a lot more comfortable with since I have had little experience above class 2.
Here is what it looked like.
Here is looking back at the traverse it looks worse than it really is. I'm a wuss for exposure and I had no problem with it.
A few minutes later we joined my dad who was already on the summit of Blanca and got this nice group shot.
Here are some more summit shots the views were amazing and it was neat looking down on the valley floor and towns.
Image Chilling on the 4th highest peak in Co.
On the way down it was slow tedious boulder hopping but thanks to a couple quick glissades we made it down.
ImageLike a little kid look at him!
As we got lower it got warmer and actually kind of hot we were able to see some of the stuff we missed earlier in the dark this morning.
This was a great experience too bad you have to go through that ugly first section to get to the good stuff but I guess if it was easy everyone would be up there and it probably wouldn‘t be so pretty.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Congratulations to you and your Dad!
11/30/2010 17:20
To be able to enjoy a summit together with your father is something not to many people get to experience. Now you've got a life long memory and photos to savor! And great job on your trip report. It's fun to see the pics. Hope we can climb many more together. It's been awesome camping/hiking with you.


congrats on the summit
07/13/2009 23:17
looks likes the weather cooperated two days in a row up there


well done!
07/14/2009 00:30
congrats on these peaks! you think it‘s feasible to get pass Jaws 1 with an ATV? If so, how far do you think I could get up? I hiked this road last summer from the bottom parking lot & don‘t want to EVER do this again with a full pack. Any suggestions?


Getting past Jaws 1
04/18/2014 19:27
A bigger ATV with more clearance than the one we had may get you higher. I hear you on that road I could not even imagine hiking from the bottom especially in the heat.


Your dad
07/14/2009 01:43
Had the BIGGEST summit-eatin‘ grin on his face, striding into camp yesterday! How cool for both of you, to get up that peak together. Congrats on Ellingwood too. What a day!


07/14/2009 03:08
to you and your dad for getting to Blanca together. And congrats to getting Ellingwood as well. Great pictures too and thanks for posting. Yea I hated hiking up that road too as well even if it was just from Jaws 1. Never again!! Sure great day to be in the mountains!!


04/18/2014 19:27
Next time we need to one where we all do the same route. Nice to meet you guys!


07/14/2009 13:48
It was great meeting you too! Yes doing the same route next time would be great!


14ers community / Paul & Father
07/14/2009 14:44
Wow I didn‘t realize there were so many people camping right by us. If I would have known I would have made some rounds.

Nice meeting you & your father Paul, and tell your dad my dad says hi. I always enjoy meeting people from the Valley. It was great seeing you and your dad sharing a summit together.



07/14/2009 19:12
The references to hiking the hot road make me less excited for this weekend! Thanks for the report and the beta photos though Good work!


Can‘t wait.
06/02/2011 14:57
Ok... I can wait for the road but the peaks look fun and amazing! Thanks again for report and congrats to your dad! How great is that??!!

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