Peak(s):  Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  07/13/2009
Date Climbed:   07/12/2009
Author:  DHatfield
 Mornin' Scramble - Southwest Ridge  

Ellingwood Point (14,042')
Partner(s): Susan Paul
Trailhead: 10,600 feet along Lake Como Road (near Jaws 1)
Route: Southwest Ridge
Distance: Approx. 4.0 miles (from Lake Como)
Elevation Gain: Approx. 2,200' (from Lake Como)

With the great weather forecast we decided to tackle Ellingwood Point and hopefully make it the last time we have to drive/hike up that rough Lake Como Road. Not that I don't love the place, but Susan's been up there 4 times now and I've been up there 5, so it would be good to get this behind us.

We were planning on meeting our friends, globreal and lostsheep5, up at Lake Como Saturday afternoon as they were going to be up there Friday to climb Little Bear. We left Colorado Springs and stopped at Subway in Walsenburg for lunch where we ran into a bunch of other friends from Colorado Springs that were also planning on heading down to do Ellingwood and Blanca on Sunday - small world!!

To make life a little easier we took the Jeep again for this trip to get up to 10,600 feet and help lessen the hike up the road in the hot afternoon. Just as we arrived at Jaws 1 and parked we met paulperea and his dad, Andrew, who were also going to be camping with us at Lake Como. I was so glad to get up to Jaws 1 since just backpacking the final 1 miles to Lake Como was a bear in the afternoon heat. We located globreal and lostsheep5 (actually, we ran right into Eric running around in flip-flops) and pitched camp near them on the southwest side of the lake, and after pumping some water did a short hike up toward the waterfall to get an idea of where to head up to start Ellingwood's southwest ridge for the next morning. After some visiting and dinner it was off to sleep.

Early the next morning it was nice and clear out. Great! After some breakfast of hot oatmeal and fig newtons, we all left right on time and headed up to the end of the 4 wheel drive road where we picked up the narrow dirt single track trail that leads to the waterfall, where you climb steeply along its west side to get up to Blue Lakes. Here we left the group, as they were heading up Ellingwood Point via the south face route while Susan and I were looking forward to the southwest ridge route. I'd done this route a number of years ago and really enjoyed it and it's the only way I will climb Ellingwood. From the western most Blue Lake we crossed the creek, hiked to the base of a steep talus/boulder slope, and stopped briefly to put on helmets. Then we hiked up the loose slope, to the first small cliff face above us, where we wrapped around its west side and hiked up a bit more to gain a ramp that ascends to the right and ultimately gains the southwest ridge. On the ramp the steepness relents although the loose rock and dirt remain.

Gaining the ridge is the worst part of doing this route (not counting the descent), and it's still not bad. Once on the ridge you just start hiking northeast on wonderfully solid rock. Stay up high on the ridge crest for the most part and you'll be fine. There are a few airy narrow spots and short knife edges along the way, and several cool towers to climb up and over, but the route can easily be kept at class 3 the whole way. It is very exposed in some places, so if you're not comfortable with that this may not be the route for you. But, it is solid and there are plenty of hand and footholds - Susan's only 5'5" and she had no problems at all finding stuff to hang onto.

The ramp narrows dramatically as it approaches the ridge.

However it also gets more solid and easy to follow for the most part.

Gaining the southwest ridge on Ellingwood. Photo by Darin.

Ready for your 5am scramble? There's a summit at the end.

Let the fun begin!

Getting - and staying - high is the rule of thumb on this route.

Because you don't want to end up down there.

But if you do choose to skirt a sketchy section be sure to find something solid to hang onto.

And get back up onto the ridge as soon as you can.

What lies ahead.

It just keeps getting steeper - just the way I like it!

Not to mention more exposed....

Why is she always following me?

If you look closely you can see Earl gaining on us!

The biggest step of the route, but plenty of handholds.

The southeast side of the ridge gets extremely exposed as you near the summit.

No, we can't take a break here.

Reservation not required. Standing room only.

Going up!


You may have to put it in 4WD at this point.

Looking back at Darin and Earl in the shadow of the summit.

I love doing this ridge as there is lots of scrambling and it's a great way to kick off the scrambling season. Shortly after arriving on the summit d_baker and Earl, two of our friends from Colorado Springs, joined us. They had also done the ridge, and Darin was nice enough to send us some photos he took of us up there, the next day. We relaxed and enjoyed the wonderful weather. We thought about heading over to Blanca Peak, but we both had done it before at least once with the most recent ascent just a few months ago so we really weren't that crazy about doing it again so soon.

Can you think of a better way to start the day?

"You guys are #1." Thanks Darin!

Instead, we headed down Ellingwood on the standard route, and waited for our friends in the basin below since they had already done Ellingwood and were headed over to do Blanca Peak. The route down Ellingwood stunk with all the loose rock and now I know why I don't like this peak so much. The funniest part was coming down we met another member who hollered "Hey you're that gal in the sports bra... Susan and - and - DHatfield!" That just made us laugh. Too funny. We ran into some other people we know from the Springs but hadn't talked to in a while, Suzey and Sam, so we took a break to catch up with them, and after lostsheep5 and globreal caught up with us we all continued on down together.

Here's a shot of the ramp you need to take to gain the ridge, that I took in the daylight, on the way out.

Paul and his dad showed up at camp shortly after that.

It was great hiking with you Susan and look forward to the next trip. Oh congrats on #51!! (or #52? which list are you using this week anyway?)

It was great hiking and visiting with you globreal, lostsheep5, paulperea and Andrew. Hopefully we will be able to do another hike together sometime.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

You‘re still number 1
02/05/2011 00:22 crack me up!
I use to show Dave he was number 1 too. But now, he rarely hikes with me anymore! Hmm...
Maybe I‘ll use that picture for my avatar!

Seriously though, that's a cool climb. And I agree with you, that's the only way I would want to climb Ellingwood.
Or maybe one of those couloirs when it's nice and full of snow!


Thanks, Doug
07/14/2009 05:11
For putting the report together, and for taking the lead on this incredible little scramble. This is now my *official* all-time favorite class 3 route up a 14er... better than the S Ridge on Snowmass, or the Northwest Ridge on Lindsey, or the SW one on Sneffels... or even Kelso Ridge on Torreys! If only the descent could be as sweet... I might actually consider a re-peak on that route.


sweet route
07/14/2009 13:21
this is one of my favorite routes as well. nice climb and TR!


11/30/2010 17:28
for the nice comments guys!

Darin - It's good that I could make you laugh every now and then. Yea some of those couloirs look like they would be sweet climbs.

Susan - Your welcome and my pleasure. It's always great to climb with you!


07/14/2009 14:21
Once again you two are animals in the mountains, congrats to all on the summit.


Sports Bra
07/14/2009 14:46
Hey, that chic in the sports bra is in this TR!
Yeah, that was me. It was like a 14ers convention up there this weekend.


didn‘t take too long...
07/14/2009 16:43 get this one up. Nice photos, Doug; I‘m going to have to try that route someday. Why is she following you? Dumb question; there are worse problems...

Chicago Transplant

Fun Route!
07/14/2009 17:07
That was a fun route, glad to see you enjoyed it! If it wasn‘t for that dang Como road I would like to do it again sometime, maybe I will anyway... I still need to go back for the Blanca-LB traverse one day

Kevin Baker

5 times?
07/14/2009 18:36
Wow, Doug. I can‘t believe you would bash up that road again for the 5th time for a repeat, but that does look like a really cool scramble. You must have had stars in your eyes with 16 action shots of Susan! What‘s up with the birdies, Darin?


Re: birdies
07/14/2009 19:20
Kevin...Attitude at altitude!
And I didn‘t know it would end up on the internet, but oh well!
The birds won‘t come out this weekend..I promise. And I‘ll try not to swear (too much).


sure is a sweet route
07/14/2009 22:08
I loved that route (once we got on the ridge proper and off some sketchy ledges on the far side) ... and it‘s my wife‘s favorite Class 3 climb of all time. If it weren‘t for that road, I‘d probably go back often.

Great TR, as usual, and really awesome photos!


Thanks for the comments everyone
11/30/2010 17:28
Zach - I'm pretty much an animal all the time.

Kansas - Yep the chic is in this report. Figured it was you. I couldn't believe all the members up there either!! Nice job on getting Little Bear Peak the next day.

Kevin - I didn't mind driving the Jeep up there again since it helps me get the dust from the garage off of it. If she weren't so darn ugly I would've taken more .

Mike - Just when I thought I was done with that great road to Lake Como you had to mention the Little Bear to Blanca traverse. Okay maybe one more time.

Aubrey - It ranks as one of favorites ridges as well. Glad you liked the photos and trip report.


Awesome read
07/15/2009 04:43
Hey! How‘d Darin get those two little pasties to stay on his fingers?
Great day, Doug & Susan! And I‘m SO RELIEVED that someone else calls them flip-flops! First time I said that out here (in Colorado), the guy looked at me like I was on crack.
Nice ridge scramble and congrats on the summit!
You know what that means, right?


Great job...
07/15/2009 17:33
both on the scramble route and the trip report. And Zach is guys are animals! Those photos really tell the story! Wowser! And your pictures actually make it kinda tempting....however, I‘m not planning on hiking that road again...unless of course your driving and I can get a ride.
Great being up there with you both. Let‘s do another one together soon.


Susan Owes You One
07/17/2009 21:56
How in the heck did you find all the stances to take all of the action shots of the scantily clad scrambling babe? Hot doggie!


11/30/2010 17:28
Kiefer - I sure hope that's the last time up there though the Little Bear Blanca traverse keeps tugging at me.

globreal - Glad you liked the report and a ride would make it easier for sure.

uwe - Yea I know . Told you it was great!! When hiking with a scantily clad scrambling babe such as Susan it is very easy to do and in fact it is really hard not too!!


Susan & Doug, greetings from Wisconsin
07/20/2009 14:02
I don‘t know if you guys remember the three hikers from Wisconsin who filmed you guys coming up toward Jaws1, but we‘re back safe and sound from our LB-Blanca traverse. Your TR is excellent with great photos -- I‘m glad you guys had such a good time. Susan, I was very impressed that you remembered all three of our names when we saw you coming down off Ellingwood on Sunday. :}

Johnny C

Nice Work
07/20/2009 16:53
I was one of the three Wisconsin guys also. Great work on bagging Ellingwood. There were so many people at lake como, 13 on little bear the next day......


07/20/2009 23:37
I remember you guys... Keith, Johnny and Roger, right? You did the traverse? Nice! It always trips me out when guys like you come out here from - Wisconsin! - and tear it up with the natives. Congrats on the summits, guys - and glad to hear you made it down and back safely!


keithfuller and Johnny C
07/21/2009 01:00
Thanks for the nice comments. Glad you made it back safe and sound from the LB-Blanca traverse.


nice job guys
07/28/2009 14:32
and great pix as usual


12/16/2009 01:09
Great TR Doug and Susan. This route was my introduction to Class 3 (and some class 4 as we got off route) scrambling. Scared, but enjoyed it. GREAT Rock and great route.

Darin, I did this route with Big Wave Dave ... I am sure I told him he was number ”1”.

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