Peak(s):  Blanca Peak  -  14,345 feet
Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Date Posted:  08/23/2010
Date Climbed:   08/08/2010
Author:  lackerstef
 Blanca and Ellingwood and a SAR case.  

These were my last two summits (of six) during my two weeks of leave at home before I made the big drive to Connecticut (back to the Coast Guard Academy). I was fortunate to have a good group of three other hikers whom I met through my family's work. Anyway, we set out on Saturday, 7AUG2010 to set up camp at Lake Como. We had debated driving past the beginning of the road, but our Lexus SUV wasn't quite the vehicle to take the road with. We hit the trail at about 1130 and were extremely fortunate to have perfect weather all the way up until we reached camp. On our way upo, however, we saw a helicopter making passes through the valley and soon found out that there was an injured hiker near the summit of Ellingwood Point. There were several Alamosa SAR guys heading up towards the lake in a Jeep to assist with the rescue. We arrived around 1630/1700 to our camp site about 2-300 ft above Lake Como. The mosquitos were terrible, but we had to hunker down because of the bad weather that soon followed our arrival.

The next morning we hit the trail at about 0430 to summit Ellingwood and Blanca. Everything was going great, but at around 0600 we started approaching a group of campers at about 13,000FT which made us very curious as to why they were camping so high. As we got closer we realized that this was the SAR team still assisting with carrying out the injured hiker. We asked if everything was alright and they pleaded that we help them carry her down to a site that a Flight for Life helicopter could pick her up. It was our human duty to assist the exhausted SAR team. We hiked down for about 3 hours until we were able to reach a landing zone. This set our summit times back quite a bit, but the weather was still holding out and we decided to continue on towards the summits.

After making up our lost ground, we set a good pace towards Blanca. Clouds were starting to move in which had us a bit worried, but nothing became of it while we were up high. We finally summitted Blanca at about 1200 and were amazed with our luck for such a late summit. The clouds broke for us to have some spectacular views. We decided to push on for Ellingwood. One of our group members decided to stay back for the second summit, but the other three of us pushed on. We summited about 45 minutes later and were once again amazed at how good the weather stayed for us.

After our summit of Ellingwood, it was time for us to make the big trek down to the car. The weather was still PERFECT all the way down the mountain until the minute we got in the car. It started raining pretty good on the drive home, but I think this day will go down as one of my best weather days ever in the high country. We wish the best to the injured hiker and hope her recovery is a quick one.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/24/2010 02:41
Great work on helping out! And that best part is that you were able to help out AND the weather held out long enough for you to get up and down safely! Hope you enjoyed Blanca and Ellingwood as much as I did


08/28/2010 14:01
I really enjoyed them both as well.

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