Ellingwood Point  
Condition Updates  
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-01-18, By: angry
Info: Parked at ~8840ft. Opted for a late start as winds were expected to be nonexistent in the afternoon and this proved true. Booted to lake. Snowshoes from lake to ~13,600. Once we gained the ridge, stashed snowshoes and packs and booted to summit. Snow varied from a couple inches to knee deep. 
6 1
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-01-13, By: supranihilest
Info: 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. 
11 1
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2020-10-14, By: Piotr
Info: Totally dry. The path below ridge to Ellingwood from Blanca is very well marked with cairns. The only part that is class 3 is downclimb into White Gully. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: ryans
Info: Just finished climbing Ellingwood and Blanca from South Zapata Creek. Even with the warm weather the upper half of C2 is still holding snow. As the previous post indicated C2 is getting no sunshine as well as the ridge leading to Ellingwood is snow free. We used micro spikes to gain the ridge. You could possibly gain the ridge without micro spikes if you hugged the rocks to your right but it would be risky and so much easier to climb C2 with snow and traction. See attached photo looking down C2. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-21, By: letourneau41
Info: No snow on the route after the turnoff from Blanca trail. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-09-24, By: Gavinmac1
Info: C2 approach snow from halfway up to the top. At times it was 1.5 feet deep in areas and post holed most of the last 1/3. Best to stay closer to tight side of couloir for larger rocks to grab, and better handholds. Micro spikes are good choice, and an ice axe for descending would make it a lot easier. I only had spikes and slipped a lot at steepest part. No sun on couloir at anytime Of day, so snow from here on out. The rest of climb was free of snow to summit 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-14, By: emily_m
Info: Snow above 12,800, significant above 13,100ish. Far less snow here than on Blanca (and thus far easier than Blanca), but itstill made navigating through the loose rocks more challenging. In late morning the snow was pretty soft and wet, I imagine it would be icy in the early morning. The sun hits it well, so I expect most of the route will melt out in the coming week if the weather remains sunny and warm. As long as repeated freeze-thaws don't produce a huge amount of ice, you could probably get by without microspikes, especially after 10am on a sunny day. Snow was annoying for figuring out which rocks were stable and large enough to stand on, but postholing wasn't much of a problem. It was also easy to follow previous climber's tracks. Cairns were very prominent. Forgot to take photos of this route, but added one from Blanca's ridge that shows the general snow condition on the mountain. Traverse to Blanca has a significant amount of snow (see images), but was easy to follow with well placed cairns. Microspikes were necessary, and having softer late morning snow was helpful. I needed to hold onto the rocks with each step to make sure I wouldn't slide, but overall felt safe on the route. There is more snow on the traverse than on Ellingwood's standard route, so expect it to stay snowy/icy for longer. Still not quite as much snow as on Blanca. I ended up going a little lower than the actual route when meeting up with the main Blanca trail below Blanca's ridge, as following the existing tracks was easier than postholing in 1-2 feet of snow. Still saved some elevation loss between the 2, and likely took a similar amount of time as descending the standard route entirely. 
3 5
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2020-09-06, By: tcphoto87
Info: Took the class 3 variant of the ridge crossing over to Ellingwood, route finding was a bit of a nightmare, especially on the way down after summiting. We started at 3:40am, summited Blanca at 7 and after spending awhile on the summit made it to Ellingwood around 9:30. Lots of loose rocks to watch out for too 
5 1
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-08-17, By: sky_high
Info: As previous users noted, the approach for this route is massively better than the Como Lake Road and trail. Bugs aren't bad at all and there is water every mile or so up the trail to the lake. Only about 6 people camped up top even on a Saturday. As for the route, C2 is easy going up. The rest of the trail is roughly cairned but difficult to follow with very little footpath so expect to do lots of route-finding or pull a GPX profile. The upper slopes are solid enough but you can roll an ankle if you don't watch your footing. I was glad to have poles going up and gladder going down. The upper 3/4 of C2 is loose and slippery and makes for a very slow descent. If you're deciding between this and the standard route I would say this: the approach is easy, but the climb features more exposure and longer looser rubble than the standard route. If you can handle that, go for it. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-03, By: PikaSteve
Info: Standard route is well cairned and easy to follow upwards from large cairn on Blanca Trail, to below the white mine tails, then angling up through cliffs and then straight up to the ridgeline. Keep looking back as you ascend to remember the standard route. On the way down, you will see cairns corresponding to ski routes, standard route, ridge traverse and lower traverse to Blanca. Beautiful streams, lakes and summit views. First photo is prior day view of South Face as seen from 12,900' saddle on Little Bear west ridge. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-07-30, By: joeygoat9
Info: No snow the entire way (did C2). I agree with past conditions reports that dispute the RT distance of 11.6 miles - we didn't measure but thought it was likely closer to 13 or 14. Also this didn't feel like easy class 3 to me - the summit push felt like solid class 3. Not a big deal to me but I wouldn't do this as a first class 3 peak. This is a time consuming route with a lot of elevation gain but I think it is a worthy alternative to the Lake Como Road. It's a hot, steep hike up with a full pack, and coming down C2 isn't much fun, but this route still beats the Lake Como approach any day. Only saw 6 people Zapata falls to Zapata falls and 4 were just going to the lake, so odds are you'll have the route to yourself. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-07-12, By: pbabeu
Info: Sign is missing at the junction of the Zapata Falls trail and the S. Zapata Lake Trail. Take the short (30 feet) spur trail to the right when you either reach the last bench seat on the access trail or shortly after that bench when you reach the large interpretive sign for Zapata Falls (#1). Trail is in good condition all the way to the S. Zapata Lake Basin with three easy stream crossings and a couple of downfalls that you can go under or around. As you get close (100 yards) to S. Zapata Lake, there will be another trail junction (#2) that allows you to go right/west-southwest up the grass shoulder and benches towards the upper Tarn (Not visible) and C3 Couloir Route or left/east around the north side of S. Zapata Lake and further east into the grassy Basin until you are below the C2 Couloir (#3). I have gone up and down both of these couloirs in the past week. C3 is completely clear of snow (#4) and C2 has a couple of small patches (20 feet) toward upper third & quarter that can be avoided and will not require use of mountaineering axe (#5). Both couloirs are at risk for rockfall and can be be challenging to gain good footing due to loose talus or bare gravel. The route from C3 is longer and requires elevation gain a drop & gain a few times in order to reach the top of C2 (#6). From the top of C2, the route to Ellingwood Point is straightforward. Return in reverse order. 
6 2
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-07-07, By: 434stonemill
Info: Attempted to summit via C2 couloir . As viewed through binoculars from the base of the gully, I thought I could bypass the small snow pack still remaining in the upper portion of the couloir on the right hand side. Reached the bottom portion of the snow at roughly 12,850 ft and at 8:30 am. Sun had still not reached into the couloir. The snow pack was bulletproof ice. Without any crampons or ice ax, couldn't manage to climb up the snowpack. Was uncomfortable trying to get around the snow on the right so ended up bailing and descended back down. Not sure if climbable later in morning as it softened up. I figure about another week before the C2 couloir is snow free. 
2 1
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-07-04, By: sallenrogem87
Info: Though difficult to locate, there are cairns on the Ellingwood South Face trail. No snow on the trail the whole way. Any water crossings were completely manageable. We drove to 8200 feet and parked there. An intrepid Subaru driver might be able to make it another mile maybe. You can do this as a one-day hike, but it's long, 16.50 miles and 6k of elevation gain. Study the pictures that are on the route description, otherwise one can find oneself on loose terrain and Class 3 areas. Got a little off route on the way up and it was definitely Class 3. 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-06-21, By: courtc43
Info: The route is pretty much completely dry. There are a few snow patches (~13,600' and ~13,900') that are to the side in the gullies and are easily avoidable. 
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2020-06-21, By: ncxhjhgvbi
Info: Temps were around 35 at 5am at the lake. Only two small patches of snow (100' and 20') to cross on the standard trail. Be careful of ice in the morning on some rocks from the previous days melt. Had a little trouble finding the Ellingwood turnoff, but quickly ended up on trail and following cairns. We traversed just below one of the snow patches. Standard route was loose and some minor routefinding was necessary, mostly to avoid sending rocks down. Traverse to Blanca via the high route was mostly solid and very easy to follow. Lots of fun with a few exposed but easy moves; as always, just double check your holds. We had clearing skies Friday PM and Saturday was bluebird with calm winds. Photo 1: Crossed below this snowfield to gain Ellingwood standard route, found cairns just past this area Photo 2: Looking up Ellingwood South Face Photo 3: Blanca in all her glory 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-06-14, By: crowdsurf
Info: C2 couloir is still in. Started a little late at about 6:00. Getting soft near the top even in the morning. Bottom is pretty solid and somewhat icy. Fairly soft going down but still supportive enough to allow for down climbing. I would be too scared to glissade this given the steepness of the snow and generally deteriorating conditions that don't allow for enough purchase with an axe. Saw someone descend the Crossfire couloir and glissade into some rocks. Dude popped up and was okay but why do this to yourself. 
1 3
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-06-07, By: litote312
Info: Summer time! Just 3 small snowfields total on the standard route past crater lake, none of them a problem . A few soggy trails past como lake that iced over, but yeah essentially summer conditions. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-06-02, By: mountainman102
Info: Hiked Ellingwood Point from South Zapata Lake, traversed over to Blanca via the high line route, and then back over Ellingwood. The trail was snow-free all the way up to the C2 couloir where it was still full of snow. Used an ice axe and crampons in the couloir. Route from top of C2 to the summit was almost completely snow-free. It rained/snowed the night before, so the rocks were slippery, but the snow was mostly avoidable. The traverse to Blanca on the high line had snow along it, but did not feel the need for an ice axe or crampons personally. The standard route on Blanca had patches of snow as well, but did not feel the need to use any gear here either. On a side note: the roundtrip mileage on the 14ers.com route seemed low to me after reading other reports as well as that I got 16.2 miles from Zapata TH to Blanca and back to the TH (who knows though, my GPS may be off as well). Much better drive and backpack in than Lake Como (did that last weekend for Little Bear). Great trip overall! 
5 3
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-05-25, By: isaacbeber
Info: Started from Zapata Falls parking lot around 0415 Recorded 5 miles to S Zapata lake, pretty smooth going, no problems locating trail in the dark. At the lake snow patches are present(PHOTO 2) but nothing too concerning. The C2 couloir is still snow covered(PHOTO 1 & 2). If going up in early morning, some spikes and an axe could help as the snow was a bit icey (until the sun hits it around 0830). Pretty slushy slide on the way down. Everything was pretty straight forward on the ridge up to Ellingwood's summit. 7.1 miles 5hrs 15min on the way up(spent a significant amount of time in the couloir which I was mildly under prepared for). Skipped Blanca. Pretty smooth on the way down(2hrs 45min). Recorded 14.1 route length, and total 8hrs. Cheers! 

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