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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2014-09-08||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: I came up Zapata Creek to get to Ellingwood. I made the mistake of not taking the ridge traverse both ways connecting to Blanca. Big mistake. The class 3 traverse is easy and well marked with cairns. Give it a try!
|2014-08-29||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: headed for blanca and ellingwood. the rocks in the basin and the boulder field, especially under, on and above the ledges section, basically the ledges all the way to ridge of Blanca were frosted. I used my yak trax and had no problem, but took a few slip and falls before finally giving in. The conditions did not improve until noon, and even after noon some areas remained really icy. Gaining the ridge on blanca, and staying ridge proper is the best way to go, if you drop at all expect icy rocks because they are in the shade all morning and the ridge proper is exposed to sun. Ellingwood is sun exposed and was great. The face of blanca is starting to collect snow that hasn‘t melted over a few days of summer weather.
|2014-08-02||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: It snowed rained Friday night and sleeted/snowed above treeline. Smaller rocks were covered with a thin sheet of ice in the morning, making for slightly slower going. On the upper mountain, there were fresh snow patches that were easier to get traction on. As the day warmed, the rocks thawed out quickly. Light clouds and fog on and off all day, with a thunderstorm rolling in around 6pm.
|2014-07-30||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Trekked up the Lake Como road on 7/29. There was high water at the stream crossing. We went 5 yards upstream in the brush to hope across with dry feet. ATVs immediately following us were above the tires and required some expert driving to make it out of the stream. The last mile of the road has three recent rock slides that are passable on foot or by ATV experts. There‘s is an overturned 4x4 above one or two of the slides. The ATV riders were talking about salvaging parts from this. The plates and other vehicle IDs were stripped from the vehicle already. This was my second time on Lake Como road. It will take awhile to get me on this walk again.
|2014-07-21||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Totally dry. Only concern is the nuisance bear reported previously. We saw no bear signs coming, going or in camp, however about half of the 10 or so groups we talked to had seen the bear at the edge of their camp or along the road, anywhere from 10000 to above lake como. However, none reported losing food in trees or having items disturbed while away. Looks like someone (NFS?) has cleaned up the previously reported trash everywhere and posted many warning signs reminding us what to do and not do. Thanks to TRs and CRs for giving us a heads up about this worry, and many thanks to those that cleaned it up before we made our trip. Maybe the bear will survive this lean year, and tempting people food, and become part of the already awesome mystique that is lake como and blanca group!
|2014-07-11||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Dry to the summit.
|2014-06-28||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Dry & summer conditions in full effect. Crater lake still semi-frozen, but the rest of them are melted and beautiful
|2014-06-17||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Tough approach but all clear. Most of the snow was gone, only a couple of small snow crossing. Very windy and cold on this day.
|2014-06-13||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Led a group of 6 today from Lake Como up to Blanca Peak. All of us summited. No ice axes, microspikes, crampons, or poles were used. All snow remaining in the basin can easily be walked around if desired, though some of the snowfields are quite easy to cross also. Camping conditions are quite appalling at Lake Como though. There are fire rings about every 10 feet, all full of trash. We also camp across a grocery shopping bag of trash and a full 13 gallon trash bag full of trash just sitting on the ground. It is a beautiful lake but the whole place looks like a total dump because we the users aren‘t taking care of it.
|2014-05-24||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Got none of the forecast 4-6 inches of snow today. Almost no snow at all until you get to Lake Como, and there is still a need for snowshoes past Lake Como, although you may posthole anyway. Much of the snow in the trees is rotten. I kept snowshoes on until Blue Lakes. There‘s a LOT of water from melting snow right now. Water all over the road, Lake Como is essentially overflowing, etc. Be careful where you step, you may be stepping on snow covering standing or running water (like I did). I turned around at Crater Lake due to threatening clouds (pic 3) and of course as soon as I am back on Lake Como Rd. it was a bluebird day again.
|2014-05-10||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: For those of you who had asked, here‘s the only decent shot I have of Blanca from Ellingwood. Hard not to at least try and oblige a guy with Alex Lifeson as his pic when my ID includes 2112.
|2014-04-20||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Still winter like conditions. Continuous snow from about 9,800 ft up. We bailed @ 13,000 ft due to poor visibility and bad weather.
|2013-10-25||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: 10/14 peak conditions report was about the same that we experienced today 10/25, 5" or so of solid snow above 12k, which turned to soft powder above 13k, at which point I found microspikes helpful; some waste deep post-holing above 13k when descending Ellingwood via a gully, quite unpleasant. It snowed on us most of the day. Road was snow covered and icy in spots above 11k as you enter the forest/shade. We had camped at 10k just before the steepest part of the road switchbacks up to the right. If we had gone another 0.25 miles or so and few hundred feet in elevation, then we would have found some more suitable space to park and camp.
|2013-10-13||Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Info: Persistent snow from just below Lake Como. Average snow above 12k ft is probably 5 inches. A lot of the snow is avoidable by rock hopping. I don‘t use them, but microspikes might be helpful.
|2013-10-05||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Some small hard packs of old snow. No new accumulation, most of the snowpacks are small and avoidable. Some ice and mud on the ledges section of the route, but largely avoidable.
|2013-06-01||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Blanca is in pretty good shape. Lake Como road is dry. Some snowfields to cross on the way to the base of the NW ridge near Crater lake, but no snowshoes should be required. We managed to not post-hole the entire way back, but they stayed pretty firm for us. As they heat up more, they will probably get softer. For the ridge approach, the trail is mostly clear, but hard to find at points. Microspikes or crampons may be desired for crossing a few lingering snowfields, but they are melting quickly. We did it without, but for comfort, they may have been desired. Bottom line: Blanca is on the verge of being open for summer hiking, but if you are comfortable with some snowfields and/or route-finding to avoid them, you‘ll be fine. If you are looking to get Ellingwood too, more equipment may be required. It was looking very snowy still, so we didn‘t even bother trying (Pic 1).
|2013-05-03||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Blanca was in great shape Friday, with plenty of solid snow (at least in the morning). Just above Lake Como, I had to put on the snow shoes for a while. Above 12,500 feet, it was solid enough that I didn‘t need snow shoes or crampons. Once on the ridge, there were no problems, but there were some cornices directly on the ridge crest. On the way down, the snow was considerably softer. Around 12,500 feet down to Lake Como, there was LOTS of postholing, even with the snow shoes. A high camp and an early start would probably avoid the worst of the soft snow.
|2013-04-27||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Hauled ski gear up the Lake Como road on Friday and skinned to 13k‘ on Saturday only to find Blanca devoid of snow. Snow conditions were firm with a fresh 1-2" of powder from the previous night making for a nice ski back to Lake Como and down the road another 1/4 mile. The road has partial snow-coverage above 10,000‘. Images 1-3 were taken near Crater Lake and show the lack of snow on the face. #4 was taken from much lower (later in the day) and shows the lack of snow on the summit and drop-in to the face. Comparing these photos to the snow conditions in http://www.14ers.com/images/trips/elli/42_2010050321421828_l.jpg from Carl‘s 2010 trip report, it‘s clear the current conditions are very thin.
Info: This is a limited report, but here goes. This was before the snow on the 9th-10th. Image 1 shows the Blanca group from north of the Sand Dunes. See also https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/13336177/2013-04-07%2016.48.53.jpg
|2013-02-01||Route: Lake Como Approach
Info: Massive storm came through this region earlier this week and dumped 40+ inches of snow in some areas (based on Wolf Creek conditions). Did not try my hand at the road to the trailhead, but I was passing through the area during daylight hours and snapped a pic of the western aspects. You can bet the north-facing aspects of the Lake Como route in the shaded areas will be deep. Use caution, as the snow did not seem overly cohesive at the ski area.