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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-11-26||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Overnight temperatures at Como Lake *very* cold - guess would be -10 to -15. The cabin was indispensable in the cold. Thanks to whoever installed the door and cut wood! The lakes are pretty much frozen solid at this point. Roughly 8 inches of snow around the lake area. Reports that there was snowfall earlier in the week and there are snow drifts thigh to waist deep when getting up towards Crater Lake. The ascent is getting extremely difficult and my group was unable to make it to the ridge, though the summit was in sight. An ice axe and carbide tips were very helpful. I had crampons with me, but did not use them. There were portions of deep frozen snow on the ascent to the summit ridge where they would have made travel much easier. Snowshoes would also be reasonable for a decent portion of the trek between Como and the summit at this time.
|2016-11-21||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Storm moved in Sunday night with light but steady snow for much of the night. 2-4" around Lake Como, 4-6" up to 13k and upwards of a foot in places to summit. Light snow starts on Lake Como Road around 10k I would guess. Tough snow conditions- enough coverage to hide gaps in rocks and even decent sized boulders to trip on but far from enough coverage or consolidation for any advantages snow can have for travel.
|2016-11-08||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: The Como road was relatively clear up to the lake. There was scattered icy spots between Jaws 1 and Jaw 2, but avoidable. There was snow accumulation around Lake Como, but minimal and scattered. The continuation of the trail out of Como was fairly clear, and again with only scattered spots of snow and ice up to Blue Lakes and Crater Lake. This is where the "fun" began. The initial trail up from Crater had increasing depth of fluffy snow as we hiked farther up into the basin. The real snow challenges began around 12,800'. We did not put our microspikes on until later, but certainly probably should have at this point. We continued along the unified Blanca/Ellingwood trail and the conditions deteriorated rapidly. Finally, we were forced to put our microspikes on just prior to the B/E trail split at 13,250'. I continued solo up along the main Blanca trail and encountered much more snow than I anticipated. Microspikes are a must up there, even if there is some melting the next few days. There was enough continuous snow (3-5" in spots) and icy underneath the snow, to warrant extreme caution in the areas above 13,250'. I significantly took my time once I reached the ridge up to the summit. The last 500' were even more challenging, and slow maneuvering is a must. I ditched my climbing poles at the beginning of the ridge to have my hands available. The conditions turned this normally class 2+ into a much more difficult undertaking. The last 150' before the summit required careful route finding, and triple checking footing, as the fluffy snow released incrementally. The cairns on this route are enormously helpful. Take your time on this route, and bring ice ax and microspike traction. No crampons necessary, at least for now.
|2016-10-29||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Some snow on the easier cairned route to the summit above about 14,000. That route was still passable and it is also possible to avoid the snow completely by staying on the ridge
|2016-10-22||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Parked at 10,500', just below Jaws 1. Road up to the lake is clear. There's a section near Jaws 4 after the lake that is icy but avoidable. Trail to the saddle between Ellingwood and Blanca is clear. Ridge up Blanca is clear as is the ridge and class 3 route up Ellingwood.
|2016-09-11||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: No snow or ice anywhere on route, great conditions. No bear activity at lake como When did the cross get added at the summit of blanca?
|2016-08-29||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Thought I would out smart Lake Como Rd and ride my dirtbike up to the lake. I was only able to make it about a 1/4 mile below Jaws 3 due to mud, wet rocks, and loose conditions. The road truly is nasty. From there it was a short jaunt to the lake and up the route. I climbed Ellingwood Point first as there were a few other parties already on Blanca. Ellingwood Point was covered in snow/grapple which made it difficult to locate the trail. Just pick a line and work your way to the summit. From where I parked to the summit of Ellingwood Point took 2hr40min. I was able to pick up the trail that traverses over to Blanca as the sun had melted the snow a bit and the cairns were easy to spot going towards Blanca. Clouds started to roll in, but I figured I had enough time to make it to Blanca before any afternoon t-storms. Trail going up Blanca is snow/grapple covered but it easily followed. Once I reached the summit of Blanca it started hailing/snowing at a rate quick enough to cover my tracks from going up. Summit of Blanca was reached at 3hr43min. Descent was fast and furious as it began lightening. Hail/snow persisted to well below Crater Lake. Round trip took 5hr16min and was around 8miles. Be careful first thing in the morning as there was verglace covering the rocks. The Blanca massif was covered in clouds as I was departing so I imagine it kept hailing/snowing at the higher elevations. I was planning on attempting Little Bear tomorrow but will postpone due to the current conditions.
|2016-08-28||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Standard route was dry. There was a tiny of snow here and there on the upper ridge if you dropped below the ridgeline, but it was completely avoidable. Upper traverse to Ellingwood was dry & easy to follow. Ellingwood was completely dry. Beautiful weekend at Lake Como! No bears, no rain, no snow.
|2016-08-14||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Drove up the road on Saturday and parked below the 4WD sign. Several vehicles (tundra, FJ, tacoma, gmc, 4 runner) were able to make it higher up the road past the sign before the road gets really rough, but parking looked limited. Como was stuffed with camping. We hiked up to Blanca and did the class 3 traverse over to Ellingwood today. The traverse had a few class 3 moves, but overall was relatively easy. Several groups completed the traverse. Route finding was good throughout the whole trip except for coming down from Ellingwood. Round trip to campsite was 5 hours. Good weather today, except for this morning's sleet/snow.
|2016-07-31||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Camped at the lake Saturday night - mosquitoes definitely in full force, even by the running creek! Don't forget that bug spray... You'd regret it. Great camping on the far side of the lake - more dispersed and less people. Up bright and early (dark and early?) for a 5am start time to Blanca... Was at the summit three hours later. The wind is no joke up there, folks. There isn't a solid trail up the ridge to Blanca, but there are a few dispersed cairns... mostly rock hopping and holding and picking your route. Remember the gloves if it's windy or a cold day. Gorgeous, windy summit. Clear day. Summer conditions. Didn't do the traverse over to Ellingwood (just another excuse to come back, I guess!). From other climbers we talked to though, there is some route finding to do up to that summit. Road to Lake Como takes a toll on the feet, even with good boots - lots of rocks from wherever you park to the summit of the mountain.
|2016-07-15||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Climbed these two the yesterday via the traverse. Summer conditions on both mountains and the traverse. The Class 3 traverse was much more like class 2 with exposure and maybe one class 3 move, but overall it seemed super tame. We ascended Blanca and then went over. If I had to do it again, I'd probably ascend Ellingwood and then come down Blanca because the trail off of Ellingwood was fine when we had it but super easy to lose. We ended up off route and in crap talus/scree half the time. No fun. Its almost impossible to lose Blanca's trail. Mosquitos were out in full force at Lake Como, but so were the fish.
|2016-07-09||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Drove out to the Lake Como Road Approach to camp out on Friday night and took my Ford Edge to 8,800' or about 3.2 miles from 150 pretty easily. I could've gotten to about 9,300 but oh well. In the morning there were probably 10-12 tents at Lake Como from people who hiked in. Didn't see any cars past Jaws 1 until we we hiking back down and saw 6-7 vehicles that made it up to Lake Como. Started at 4:30. Summited Ellingwood at 9am. Traverse over to Blanca took a little over an hour (Picture 1). Back to the car by 3:30 (couldn't find anyone to drive us down ha). We struggled to find the trail to Ellingwood to we just went straight up the talus to the ridge once we crossed the snow in Picture 2. NOTE: cross the snow down at the bottom not where we did (ice w/o microspikes). Overall, perfect day with great conditions!
|2016-07-04||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Trail is snow free till Crater lake. Small amount of snow after that, which can be avoided, except a small patch just before reaching the ledges above Crater lake (can be crossed at well-trodden sections without postholing). Extremely helpful cairns all the way to the top.
|2016-06-26||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Mostly snow free. A few snow fields to cross. Only a small amount of postholeing near the edges of the snow fields. One field with a good vertical pitch needed microspikes earlier in the day, but softened up nicely later on. Others without spikes opted to take some crappy rocks up to avoid the hard slick snow. Ridgeline to the top was totally snow free.
|2016-06-25||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Snow along the /route/ is minimal. Afternoon showers occurred around 3-5PM and included ice pellets. Temperatures ranged from 45 in the early morning to 75 in the afternoon. Recommended equipment: none. Equipment carried: Axe, Crampons Stay hydrated, my friends.
|2016-06-20||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Did some flying yesterday and had my wife take some pics of the main route up Blanca -- I attached the picture for your viewing pleasure. She didn't manage to shoot Little Bear's hourglass, but it still had snow. I would guess it will be mostly gone in a week or two.
|2016-06-19||Route: Gash Ridge
Info: Road mountain bikes in to the Lily Lake TH, there is a pink flagged route through the landslide just downhill of the road. It was a little cumbersome to carry bikes, but if one were hiking/running navigating the flagged route would not be too difficult. Otherwise the road is in good shape for mountain biking. The trail through upper Huerfano is flooding and marshy in a lot of spots, so expect wet feet unless you go through a lot of effort to stay dry. The climb up from the valley to the base of the Gash ridge was mostly snow free, with some large patches closer to the saddle. The snow around the edges of the fields was very rotten (knee to balls deep post holing) but most of the snow in the center of the snow fields was solid and we walked right across. The Gash ridgeline itself is clear and a great scramble/climb to the summit of Blanca. Looking down from the summit of Blanca into Como basin, there is a fair bit of snow above the lake and on the connection to Ellingwood still. Folks were glissading some long stretches and we could see a steps kicked up the snow. Bring at least an axe if not crampons/microspikes if ascending from the Como side.
|2016-06-11||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: As noted by Lemmiwinks in the Ellingwood Point update, the road is dry up to Lake Como. Starting at Lake Como, snowshoes are needed to proceed into the upper basin. (Especially in the late morning/early afternoon) Blanca's ridgeline is dry, but getting there will require crampons/ice axe/snowshoes. Traversing over to Ellingwood is a bit more fun. We stayed on the saddle as long as we could, but soon had to cross several steep snowfields with dangerous runouts. Crampons/Ice axe and self arrest proficiency are mandatory to gain Ellingwood's summit ridge, which is also fairly dry now. Plan to start at 4AM or sooner to avoid post holing in the basin below.
|2016-05-29||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: We did Ellingwood Pt and not Blanca, but we obviously had a good view of Blanca. Snow was continuous from Lake Como. Unless you are on skis, snowshoes are a definite help--especially later in the day. There is still a ton of snow up there. We saw a group of 3 headed up Blanca and then descend. Didn't seem anyone was using the std summer ridge route, but rather heading right up the face.
|2016-05-19||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Not an actual condition report, but the photo should give a lot of information to anyone heading up the Lake Como road this weekend. Did a drive by and took these photos on Thursday, May 19. There was also about an inch of hail on Rte 160 just south of Blanca.