Peak:  Ellingwood Point (14er)
 Route:  South Face
 Range:  Sangre de Cristo
 Posted By:  supranihilest
 Date of Info:  01/13/2021
 Date Posted:  01/13/2021

We were able to drive to about 8,800-8,900 feet before the snow and ice on the road became tractionless. From there we booted all the way to Lake Como, then put on our snowshoes and wore them almost all the way to the summit of Ellingwood. Snow between Lake Como and the bottom of the south face is variable, anywhere from rock hard slab to waist deep punch crust. It was worse in the afternoon. There's some potential avalanche slopes en route to the south face, and the face itself is basically a gigantic avalanche slope. We found a reasonable gully and swam our way up it onto the face. From the bottom of the face all the way to the ridge the snow we encountered was about an inch of crust and then sugar to the ground. I wouldn't say it would never slide, but it does appear unlikely since there's no reactivity or propagation. It does suck super hard to climb though, and there's hundreds of feet of this trashy snow. Our snowshoes were more for traction and smashing a good hole in the crust to swim up than flotation, because there was no floating on this junk. As we neared the ridge we left our snowshoes behind and booted to the summit, which was a lot more pleasant staying on rock as much as possible. We did not use microspikes, crampons, or ice axe for the ascent, but did put spikes on for the ridge traverse to Blanca. Some form of traction would likely be useful if booting back down the face.

Photos (click for slideshow):
#1) Ellingwood Point.#2) Approach slopes.#3) Upper basin.#4) Upper basin.#5) Bottom of south face. We went up the gully right of the pointed rock.#6) Looking up the gully.#7) Lower face.#8) Middle and upper face. Steep and snowy.#9) Looking down the face.#10) Upper ridge with false summit in view.#11) Ellingwood from Blanca.

 Comments or Questions
Nice report
01/13/2021 22:40
Great report with wonderful photographs.

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