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 Peak(s):  Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Blanca Peak  -  14,345 feet
 Post Date:  02/08/2013 Modified: 02/09/2013
 Date Climbed:   02/02/2013
 Posted By:  Dad Mike

 Ellingwood South Couloir & SW Ridge...Traverse to Blanca   

For those of you that like couloir climbs...put this one on your list. I knew I wanted to climb this line the first time I saw it filled with snow. And the bonus is that it leads to a really fun ridge scramble.

TH...Como Road
Distance...13 Miles
Elevation...5000'
Time...8 hours

This is dedicated to Darin Baker. Because I know he has nothing better to do in Shreveport, LA than lurk on 14ers.com...reading trip reports and starting fights. Have fun with the bugs and swamps brotha.

Pictures...

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I was able to drive to 9700' on the road...about 1/2 mile from Jaws I. Road was pretty dry up to this point.


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From where I started, it was a little more than 2 miles to the lake. I found the remnants of an old trench, but recent snow had pretty much filled it in. Here is Lake Como and Little Bear.


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Once above the lake you get this view of Ellingwood. Up to this point I wasn't sure if I was going to take the standard ledge route up to the SW ridge or the couloir. I felt pretty good about the snow conditions and once I saw this, I was sold.


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My best guess at my route to and up the couloir


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Looking up the couloir. This about where I switched to spikes and axe. There were a few short sections where it was pretty firm and I would have been better off in crampons. But for the most part I felt comfortable with what I had.


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I would guess the couloir is about 1000' high...it tops out on the ridge right around 13,500'.


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Scramble from the top of the snow to the southwest ridge


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Looking back at the ridge...you can see the couloir under the cliffs


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What makes this happen...wetter snow and wind? Whatever it is, I love looking at it. It's like rock icing. And I love me some icing.


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Here's what's left of the southwest ridge from near the top of the couloir...not too difficult scrambling on a beautiful ridge with some exposure and killer views in every direction.


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Summit of Ellingwood Point


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Blanca (left) and Little Bear (right)


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Well I made it this far, might as well climb Blanca while I'm here. The traverse to Blanca was uneventful and I was on the summit of Blanca in about an hour.


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My friend...the Blanca, Little Bear Traverse

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Looking back at Ellingwood Point and some 13ers to the North

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Following my tracks back to Lake Como


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Lake Como


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I always forget how much worse the road is on the way down. I bottomed out so hard one time that I had to stop to see if there was a hole in something. This picture is taken from the lower section of Como Road...looking south at Culebra, my goal for tomorrow.


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Thanks to everyone in the Saturday group who broke all that trail. It was much appreciated. Here's a shot of your work.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (8)
Kevin Baker


So those were your tracks...     2013-02-09 08:34:25
Nice work, Mike! I was up there on Thurs and was drooling at that couloir wondering how steep it was! I think we were following your tracks on the left side of the drainage. What would you estimate the slope angle gets to in the couloir?


Dad Mike



Hey Kevin...     2014-08-12 17:13:45
Sorry we keep missing each other. Those were my tracks...probably further left than I needed to be, but didn't want to be down in those trees. I would put it at 40 - 45...pushing 50 near the top.


Mountain Ninja


Totally awesome job!     2013-02-09 10:34:21
Wow, Mad Mike, that is some sick winter climbin'! I love your pic of Ellingwood on the ridge (#10), just beautiful. You're a beast. I can't imagine how cool it was to look at that LB-Blanca ridge after having done it in winter already!


d_baker


I resent that comment     2013-02-09 13:21:18
I'm perfectly capable of starting fights regardless of where I am! Nice report Mike, and thanks for the well wishes.


Randy G.

WOW!     2013-02-10 07:30:04
I've never been up ther in winter. Your pics are going to force me to correct this. Thanks!!


I Man


great stuff!!     2013-02-10 17:30:14
Awesome route man, and a great time! Bummer we couldn't match up on Culebra days.

Congrats on a great climb and a strong season so far.


Johnson



#11     2013-02-10 20:13:44
How long of a timer do you have to get that pic? Or are you Superman?


rauchcory

great report     2013-02-17 12:59:37
Awesome, thank you for the report. We are planning on coming out to do Ellingwood and Blanca and these really help us plan without having been there. Two questions:
Were you above or below ”the sign” on como rd that points to blanca peak?
What is the orange thing around your neck in the 6th picture?



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