Blanca and Ellingwood Attempt
Route: Standard Lake Como Approach
Group: dmccool, SurfNTurf, B-Thom, ChrisFol
We drove from Colorado Springs to the Lake Como Rd. turnoff Saturday morning 4/9. We took my stock Toyota Tundra up the road to about 8,700ft which was 3.1 miles from the start of the road according to the odometer. We probably could’ve made it a little further, but being my first trip up that infamous road, I wanted to take it easy.
Parking Spot on Como Road
Starting up the road with our heavy packs, the weather was starting to turn. The wind picked up and we even took on a little snow. The road was very dry and was free of snow until well into the forest. There’s no need for snow shoes.
Up the Road in wind/snow
We wanted to camp well below the lake because the weather called for high winds overnight. We opted for a couple cabins along the road. It turned out to be a great call. We set up our tent inside the cabin, had a small fire, and spent the rest of the evening dodging graupel.
dmccool at camp
SurfNTurf thinking about Elk
SurfNTurf and B-Thom
Due to the poor weather forecast for Sunday morning, we set the alarms for 4:30am. After boiling some water and grabbing some breakfast, we started up the road toward Lake Como around 5:45am. We made the lake as the sun was hitting the San Luis Valley.
SurfNTurf and B-Thom
We put on our snowshoes somewhere around 11,500 although you could probably hold out until the road stops at the high end of the lake.
Lake Como w/ Little Bear shrouded
The temperatures were very cold, but up to this point, there was very little wind. Looking back at the valley, it was a bluebird morning. Heading up toward Blue Lakes, it was a different story.
B-Thom and SufNTurf pressing on
As we got to Blue Lakes, we had to make a tough call. Due to the low temps and whiteout conditions up ahead, we decided to call it a day. It was disheartening knowing all of the planning and effort that went into this trip and the slog up the Como Road, but I’m confident we made the right call.
Here are a couple photos that will hopefully help those heading to Como in the near future.
SurfNTurf getting in some bouldering on the way out
Blanca Massif from HWY 160
Thanks to Jeff, Chris, and Brian for a fun weekend.