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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-07-15||Route: South Face
Info: Summer conditions with the exception of one minor detour around a snowfield. Faint trail is an understatement but we made it just fine aiming for the ridge prior to the false summit.
|2016-07-10||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: No snow left to climb in C2. We went up C2 but there was only a patch of snow near the top, avoidable. Loose climb, but still a better option than C3 for the distance. Approach: don't be fooled, it has to be more than the 4.5 miles stated. I think the entire route is longer than the 12.7 listed in the route description. Possibly up to 15 miles according to GPS. Great hike, long descent with the loose rocks, scree and talus.
|2016-07-01||Route: South Face
Info: Ascended the trail up to near Crater Lake where things disappear completely into snow. The lake is still partially frozen. One could navigate around much of the snow on the South face, but there would be several mandatory snow crossings to link up the rocky areas. There was a lot of water running down the face and we never found a distinct trail/route up the face because of dense fog and driving rain, so a better route might exist. We started the traverse to Blanca and made it to the cliff bands, but abandoned due to horrid conditions. No snow was encountered along the ridge or on the initial part of the traverse, and assume its clear. We descended by glissading the snowfields (ice axe in hand) which was made for quick descent back to Crater Lake. One could probably get by without any traction (crampons/microspikes) but it depends on your comfort level crossing short moderate snow slopes. If you want to glissade down definitely use an ice axe as many of the snowslopes runout straight into rock and an out of control slide would be very painful.
|2016-06-26||Route: South Face
Info: I did not summit Ellingwood, but on my climb to Blanca, I took these pics. The approach (before the split) was 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.
|2016-06-25||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: I hope that my photo from S. Zapata Lake is available for display; I am not tech oriented. I tried to make the C3 portion of the route, but took the upward traverse too early and ended up in the wrong portion of the upper bench. The area around S. Zapata Lake is very wet. The 1st stream crossing via the log is manageable, but can be crossed easily by using the rocks and the small log while holding on to the big log. The 3rd stream crossing is much easier by continuing past the main crossing for 10 yards, and broad jumping a smaller portion of the creek. I will just go back and finish the Sangres in the Lake Como area; I am on the drive for my final ten (10).
|2016-06-13||Route: South Face
Info: As per other reports, road up to Lake Como is dry. After the lake, intermittent/discontinuous snow to the upper basin below Ellingwood and Blanca where it then becomes continous. Minor postholing (We started at 5 AM). We went up the snow on the way up and missed the normal summer route which goes around the waterfall, but on the way down we went this way and it was great to avoid snow. That route around the waterfall is clear of snow until the next basin. Snowshoes probably aren't needed if you start early because the snow is compact. We did however bring them and did not use them. Crampons and ice axe recommended because the final slopes are pretty steep and have significant run out. BY 9:30 AM on the descent, the snow was very slushy on the upper slopes. FYI*** The creek flow on the road up the road on Lake Como (~ 1 mile before the lake) is very heavy right now due to snow melt. At both 1:30 and 4:30 PM on two separate days it was not passable for the normal route without getting completely soaked. Water up at least to mid calf. However, just a few yards upstream of the typical route, there is a thin branch that has fallen and made a great path. 3 of us successfully made it over it with our packs on both ways. There are two branches to hold onto above it. Would recommend to avoid getting wet.
|2016-06-11||Route: South Face
Info: Dry to Lake Como. Snowshoes needed shortly after the lake. Crampons and ice ax needed for Ellingwood standard route. Traversed multiple snowfields with dangerous runouts on the ascent. Snow softened up around 10am for safe plunge stepping on the descent. Blanca ridge is dry but snowshoes/crampons recommended for accessing the saddle.
|2016-06-07||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Got to the trailhead on 6/6 and hiked on the trail until we camped at around 11,500 ft. The trail was completely dry up until then, other than the stream crossings that were a lot bigger now with all of the snow melting. Once we started out hiking in the morning, we decided to ascend up the talus and small snow fields to get to the lake as opposed to the standard route through the trees. This turned out to be a lot more time consuming then we expected. By the time we arrived at the C2 couloir, the snow was too soft to trust in a climb. Sadly, we decided that a climb up the couloir would be unsafe and we did not end up summitting. The snow before sunrise was very hard and in great condition, but softened and saw the sun fast. The snow is definitely melting fast up there.
|2016-05-29||Route: South Face
Info: 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. Folks were heading up Blanca, but at the split to Ellingwood there were no tracks at all up the South Face when we got there. Do yourself a favor and start early. By the time we started descending the face after noon, it was way to wet and soft with all that sun. Still plenty of snow along the ridge to the summit as well.
|2016-05-15||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Trail to lake is dry for the first three miles, intermittent but avoidable snow for most of the fourth miles. After that, there is pretty thorough snow coverage, but decently consolidated and wouldn't be worth bringing snowshoes due to the amount of sidehilling. We didn't get past the lake due to weather, but if the snow below is any indication, should be decent barring further precipitation. Key takeaway: don't bring your snowshoes.
|2016-05-04||Route: South Face
Info: As you might suspect, there is a ton of snow up at Lake Como. The only question is how long it will stay in one place. E, S and W faces started shedding their loads yesterday and I suspect more occurred later today. Blanca is also looking really good -- similar to last May. Snow starts in earnest just before the creek crossing.
|2016-03-13||Route: South Face
Info: Ellingwood Point is in decent shape for the end of winter. Was able to drive my 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee to 9,750 on the road. (Snow blocks the road from there, see conditions report for Lake Como road) Past 9,750, the road is mostly snow with a decent boot pack trail in place. You could get away without snowshoes until about 10,500, then they become mandatory. Lake Como area is in great shape for winter camping with a solid 2-3 feet of snow on the ground. More than enough for a tent with a nice boot pit. A trench now extends across the lake and follows the standard route up towards Ellingwood Point. We finally ditched our snowshoes near 12,500 and switched to crampons for the final part up Ellingwood's south face. (Don't bother with anything less than crampons) We opted to gain the saddle around 13,700 on the Ellingwood side and climb the ridge proper to the summit. NOTE: There was just a fresh dump of 3-6 inches of snow up there. That has covered everything pretty nicely, making it harder to see where the bulletproof snow fields are vs trap-door boulder-hoping. It has also jacked the avalanche conditions up as well. During the descent, we saw a small slide off Ellingwood's south ridge. It was all surface powder sliding on bulletproof snow from the night before. Several smaller sluffs up towards Blanca as well. Give that area some time to stabilize before venturing up there again. If you'd like pictures, shoot me a PM and I can send you some.
|2015-11-01||Route: South Face
Info: So... in short there is a lot of snow. Continuous snow started around Jaws 3 and went from 3" of consolidated snow, below treeline, to 2-4 feet of unconsolidated powder above treeline. The entire face of Ellingwood and Blanca was also covered, which made for very interesting climbing. Snow shoes required, but not skinable or skiable yet.
|2015-10-14||Route: South Face
Info: Totally dry top to bottom.
|2015-10-11||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Dry the entire way, including the descent down the normal route.
|2015-10-08||Route: South Face
Info: Peak was not icy at all in the mid morning/afternoon. There was ~10% snow coverage.
|2015-10-04||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: Trail from falls to lake is in excellent condition. The Blanca group received snow on Saturday night. Snow on trail starting about 1 mile below S Zapata Lake. Maybe an inch in the basin around the lake and more in C2. Called it at C2, but there is (was as of Sunday morning) definitely snow all the way up the ridge to Ellingwood‘s summit. Photos from around the lake attached.
Info: Fall colors are starting to show. Approaching Lake Como today it doesn‘t have a lot tall Aspens. From Blanca/Ellingwood could see good colors to the northeast a few miles. Looks like approaching Huerfano/Lily Lake Trailhead for Mt Lindsey would be a great mix of summer and fall. No snow in the Sangres.
|2015-09-03||Route: South Face
Info: Climbed Ellingwood and Blanca together. Ellingwood was my 38th fourteener this summer. I‘m trying to climb them all this summer. You can read more about this hike and others at Sunshineof1985.com. Enjoy! Route: Northwest Ridge from Blanca Peak, then Combo Distance: 12.46 mi. Elevation Gain (from parking at 8,000 ft.): 6,800 ft. Time started: 6:10am End time: 4:10pm Time to Summit Ellingwood Point from 8,000 feet: 5 hours and 10 minutes Time to Summit Blanca Peak from summit of Ellingwood Point: 1 hour and 30 minutes Time to Descend Blanca Peak to Como Lake: 2 hours Overall Pace: 1.3 miles per hour *GEAR (to bring): Bear spray, helmet, water purifier, first aid kit, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, headlamp, flashlight, toilet paper, GPS, extra batteries, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, extra change of clothes, wear a tank top, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat, lightweight gloves, overnight pack with water sack and extra water (160oz), food for two full days (large bag of jerky, large bag of trailsmix, 4 protein bars, and 4 granola bars). *Road Condition: The directions from 14ers.com is correct in that a sedan will only make it to 8,000 feet or slightly further. We saw one Jeep make it all the way to Como Lake- which was mind boggling. *Trail Condition: 8,000 to Como Lake: You‘ll be on the road the entire time. The road mixes between dirt areas where it‘s easier to walk, but mostly river rock and boulders. Eyes on the ground mostly to watch your step. Como Lake to Ellingwood Point: You‘re still going to be on a road until 12,000 ft. elevation. Easy slow gain to this point. Trail is in great condition and easy to follow with the cairns. We took the higher route on Ellingwood (class 3) and it‘s more than fine- nothing too scary at all (coming from a person who has a slight fear of heights). Ellingwood Point to Blanca Peak: Trail at the divide between the two and on to Blanca is a difficult class two. You‘ll have to pull yourself up in some areas. Otherwise, just weave your way up watching for cairns until the summit. Some loose rock, but not bad.
|2015-08-16||Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Info: The last report is garbage.. To the last poster, who goes scrambling in the mountains without a helmet, and what are you doing with a group that large? FS regulation is no group larger than 14. And what would a rope do there is no where to put any pro on a scree slope. And what were you doing in the LEFT side of the couloir? The route description specifically says stay RIGHT when it forks near the top, the left side is much sketchier. To anyone looking to just hit Ellingwood and avoid Lake Como, this is a great route. The C2 couloir is loose, I was glad I was the only one in it this morning, but with careful foot placement and sticking on the side where there is larger solid rocks it is definitely not as bad as the last guy makes it sound (I avoided the eroded slippery social trails in the center), definitely no rope or class 4 moves required. I would add that I thought the scrambling on the summit pitch was more difficult than ‘easy class 3‘ as described in the route description.