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Humboldt, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear

Colorado 14er peak questions, condition requests and other info. 14er Trip Reports, Condition Reports
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Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:53 am

Humboldt, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear

Postby aviator11 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:18 am

Hey everyone!

I am in college down in Texas and am planning on using my spring break in two weeks to bag some peaks. I understand that I will be out of season and have climbed other 14ers in the winter (la plata, huron, and pikes) and have been looking into these four in the Sangre de Cristo. I have a few questions for those of you who are closer to the peaks:

1. How close will I be able to get to the Humboldt and Blanca trailhead?

2. Will snowshoes be necessary or just crampons?

Thanks in advance for all the great advice!

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Location: Highlands Ranch, CO (5780')

Re: Humboldt, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear

Postby Kevin Baker » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:49 pm

I don't know how much experience you have with snow, but the Blanca group will be tough in March. The Hourglass on Little Bear may not be in good condition yet, but follow the recent weather patterns. The snow in the Sangres tends to mature/consolidate quicker than other ranges, otherwise climbing steep snow in March is usually not a good idea. The southwest ridge is an option, but that would be a brutal climb for someone coming from sea level. It's a huge day.

Crampons and snowshoes for sure for the Blanca group. You made need crampons or microspikes on the traverse between Blanca and Ellingwood. I did those a couple weeks ago and wished I had crampons. How far you get up the Como road is a crapshoot. There's a decent chance you could get to 8800' or so where the road gets real rough. For Humboldt, you'll likely be starting from the 2WD trailhead or a bit higher.
Always do what you are afraid to do. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Humboldt, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear

Postby Jim Davies » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:19 pm

There was also an avalanche death on the traverse below the Hourglass on Little Bear a few years ago. Be aware.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of white blood cells.

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Re: Humboldt, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear

Postby bbutzin » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:02 pm

Not to hijack this thread, but my question hardly warrants its own thread...

Does anybody have any experience with Blanca/Ellingwood at Memorial Day? Looking for a sense of how much the route might melt out by then. (Assuming an average spring...i.e. more snow than last year. I'm ever the optimist!)

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Re: Humboldt, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear

Postby nyker » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:46 pm

As you said, depends on snow level.

Last year over Memorial Day, there was not much snow left but some was present above Lake Como in the basin; see the later pics below on my Ellingwood TR from last May:

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Re: Humboldt, Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear

Postby bbutzin » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:59 pm

Hey thanks for that link, great trip report.

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