Ellingwood Point  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2020-05-25, By: s_mclaughlin
Info: No snow until about 12,000 ft. Sporadic snow on talus slopes beneath saddle/summit ridge...snow is firm in morning, but starts to really soften up by noon, expect some post-holing after that time. The summit can be gained by avoiding snow entirely, but it's much more efficient to follow the route across the snow patches. Snow traction is helpful in places, but not needed. No snow on ridge or summit. Summit and ridge had a typical 14er breeze. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-05-22, By: LetsGoMets
Info: Few snow fields and some ice to navigate after Como to the summit. Didn't use any special equipment, almost summer conditions. 
3
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2020-05-03, By: lvlivingston
Info: Wow! Amazing day even though we didn't even make it to the lake. We started around 6:00am and were the first two people on the trail as the sun was starting to rise. We accidentally hit Zapata Falls first, because the sign showing that you should go up right is not there. Right before the area of the Falls opens up, there's a bench on the right... follow this small but obvious trail up and over the first ridge. The morning was perfect and the trail was very easy to follow for the first 3 miles. The description is correct that the trail will start to go down for about 160'. Once you reach the bottom, there's a campsite straight ahead. Don't go down here, follow the trail right through the broken tree. About a half a mile or mile ahead we hit the first scree field and the snow patches slowly became longer and longer from here. We stopped and put on our microspikes, although snowshoes would have been helpful in some cases, especially the higher altitude we got. At some point, we really were having a hard time following the footsteps of the people from earlier attempts. Currently there's a spot in the trail with a broken down tree and if you look over it to the right, the footsteps keep going through the snow field. If you look up to the left, the scree field starts and after yesterday's attempt, I personally would have gone straight up the scree then over to the right to avoid the snow fields. After you climb to the top of the first scree field ridge, you see the basin open up and the majestic mountain range over to Blance is there in all its glory for the time in the hike. We were confident we wouldn't make it to the peak on this attempt, so at 9:15am chilled out on the rocks in the sun, ate lunch, and napped for awhile. We took our time slowly going down the scree field and made it back to the path easily. Beautiful sunny day with very few clouds in the sky. If we'd started much earlier and had realized to stay high, it would have been a great summit. WONDERFUL hike nonetheless... will be back! 
6 2
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-02-23, By: Wildernessjane
Info: I know some new snow is expected, but we thought this might be helpful for someone in the near future. We climbed Ellingwood Point and traversed over to Blanca. We carried snowshoes to 12,800 and then ditched them. We didn't put them on at all as there is a great trench in place and/or snow above treeline was hard-packed. We picked our way up some shallower snow lines on Ellingwood and had to break trail in sugary snow with a layer of hard slab on top before gaining the ridge. On the way over to Blanca, we traversed high on the summer route. This was doable if you like high exposure with typical not-very-supportive winter snow and unforeseen cavities in the snow. Blanca was cruiser though. I would definitely recommend going Ellingwood Point to Blanca if you are going to attempt both this time of year. We used crampons and ice axes for Ellingwood and the traverse. I think one could get by with just microspikes on Blanca. Also, we left around 3:30 from 8800 feet and we were back to the car before dark. On the way down, we noticed a truck had gotten about 1/3 of a mile further before spinning out. 
4 2
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-11-11, By: stickmann
Info: Traverse. Details on C2 in the Blanca Peak peak conditions. 
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-10-20, By: benjaminralford
Info: I imagine that C2 is a bit nasty even when totally dry, but it was QUITE nasty yesterday morning. The whole thing was covered in -- for lack of a better, more technical, more meteorological word -- one to three inches of SPACE DOTS, which made the entire shoot oh so very loose and slippery, even with microspikes on. Things got better for awhile once I got to the top of C2, but conditions got dicey again at the summit. I'm not that tough of a mountain climber. If you also describe yourself as "not that tough," you might consider the C3 option instead. Helmets are cool too. Wear one. 
2
 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-10-15, By: TieDye
Info: Full summer conditions all the way up from 8000'. 
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-09-29, By: jweimar
Info: Route is snow free other than the ground in gully to reach the ridge which the ground was frozen over with a very small dusting of snow. It was slick, but you can easily scramble on the rocks instead of hike up the dirt section. And it was only the final 20 feet, otherwise the entire route was snow free still. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-09-21, By: HikesInGeologicTime
Info: Sunnier than a few days ago, but still cold and windy. I wore a ski jacket and gloves as well as thicker socks than normal and was glad I did. The ledges below the trail split were merely wet with running water on Wednesday; today, there was ice through 11:30 a.m. when I was on my way down. It's still avoidable, and both Blanca and Ellingwood are free of hazards above the trail junction. 
2
 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-08-26, By: SummitStormer
Info: No snow on Ellingwood or Blanca. The SW Ridge on Ellingwood is exhilarating and spicy, with stable rock, severe exposure with a few short knife edges and a few class 3 moves with absolute exposure. There are a few class 4 moves without exposure getting to the Horn. Stay on the Ridge. The talus and coulier (right arm of the 'Y') to gain the ridge is stable and fun. We continued on the ridge traverse to Blanca, then down the standard route on Blanca to complete the loop. A lot of fun! Sidenote: camping on the east side of Lake Como (farther along the trail past Lake Como) is outstanding 
 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-08-24, By: Rambler
Info: Day one: Made it 2.1 miles up the Lake Como ‘road'. Started hiking at 7:00 and at camp above Como near stream by 11:30. Day 2: LB standard route started 5:00, top of gully 5:50, base of hourglass 7:16, summit 8:07, back to camp 11:10. Stayed right on the way up gully to minimize loose crap. Traverse was all boulder hopping. Hourglass was terrifying from a rock fall perspective but overhyped to actually climb. If it was wet that would change my opinion, but I got lucky with barely a trickle of water. Once you pass the choke of the hourglass exit straight up/left to get out of rockfall danger, don't follow the rope like a lemming. See pic of carin showing exit to class 3 ledges to the summit. Fun climb. Day 3: SW ridge of Ellingwood to Blanca Only modification to route description is to just follow the trail to the other side of the lake above the waterfall, no need to rock hop to the other side. The Y couloir is pretty easy to see, just have to get up the boulder/rock slide and stay right (photo below from top). Ridge is solid and awesome to summit! Cross last gully (had snow) above it before chimney to access ledge that traverses around. Just went down to meet Blanca's standard route as opposed to fighting across the ridge traverse. Steep and more class 3 than difficult class 2 IMO. Back to camp and pack out to car made a long day. Start from camp 4:44, top of Y 6:44, summit Ellingwood 8:42, summit Blanca 11:20, camp/pack up/leave camp 3:55, at car 7:37. The hike out was somewhere between the 8th and 9th levels of hell. Hot, dry, sunny, endless rocks trying to trip your tired legs. Then at the end just to further torture you, you can see your car but there is a long straight rocky trail section that never seems to end. Suffice to say I'm glad I got all 3 and don't have to go back. All the routes are in good shape. Mosquitoes were out and I'm glad I had a head net. 
9
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-08-20, By: KMoore32
Info: Did C3 going up and C2 coming down- both are snow free. Full summer conditions the whole way to summit. 
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-08-13, By: jslove1
Info: Did Ellingwood and Blanca from Zapata this morning. C2 is completely melted, although pretty saturated, so a bit unstable (probably would be when it's dry too). No need for any traction. I haven't done the lake como approach, but Zapata lake is definitely a worthy option to consider. C2 couloir without snow is not super awesome, and the last stretch to the summit was a little squirrelly (perhaps I was off route?) but I had the whole valley to myself, and Ellingwood for that matter. Also, very few mosquitos right now. 
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-07-30, By: bkcheck
Info: Didn't summit -- foolishly tried to do this in a single day push and was turned back on the ridge by a lack of energy and some ominous looking clouds. C3 is completely dry and C2 appears to only have one small remaining snowfield, see attached pic. There's a ton of talus hopping and scree fighting after the lake and I found it to be much more time-consuming than I anticipated. The fall line of C3 in particular is truly miserable and I would suggest trying to find more solid rock on the right side. Give yourself much more time for this route than the mileage/vert suggests. Also, be prepared for a few creek crossings. It's running high and there aren't generally a ton of great rocks/logs for getting across. 
1
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-19, By: jlohmann
Info: Multiple snow fields yet to cross. Most are short and none require microspikes, in fact, they are getting soft (morning and afternoon) and sometimes don't support your weight. The final ascent to Ellingwood from the fork in the trail (to Blanca) has way too many cairns and most are NOT marking the standard route. My advice is to ignore them. If you have a GPS device with the route loaded, follow it. It will keep you on the more stable rock and working toward the top at a reasonable angle. If you don't have such a device, basically take a straight line toward the summit from the other side of the snow field just past the fork (to Blanca). 
 
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2019-07-16, By: ironman1942
Info: So much mosquito on the way to Como! Bring repellent! Route is mostly clear of snow - big snow field on the way up from Crater Lake. Microspikes made it much easier. Completely clear of snow, ice, and water for most of the scree field and the entire saddle both ways to Ellingwood and Blanca. 
1
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-13, By: Pika_wanderer
Info: Conditions are mostly the same as the last trip report. I wanted to add that we were asked a couple times on our trip back if ice axes are required for this route. We found ours helpful on one alternative snowfield shortcut as well as two optional glissades. Microspikes were also helpful in the early morning. However, the majority of people today on both Ellingwood and Blanca standard routes were able to summit just fine without any equipment. I wore trail runners the entire route with no issues. 
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-07-12, By: Cranfillpe
Info: I hiked up to S Zapata Lake on Wednesday afternoon then camped. On Thursday I summited Ellingwood Point and Blanca then retraced my route back to the car. Conditions for traverse at bottom, and under Blanca Peak. Why are we not talking about the mosquitos on the approach??? Maybe this is typical, but they were SWARMING from the trailhead to the lake. Didn't let up until I was ascending C2. It's possible I'm just ornery, but I do not want to understate this. These were some of the worst mosquitos I've ever experienced. Biting me through my clothes, right on my face, in my shorts (how???), despite my constantly being slathered in bugspray. The approach was dry. C2 has a few hundred feet of snow coverage. (see pics) The couloir, prior to the snow coverage, is pretty loose, and contains scree of all sizes, from "ball-bearings," to refrigerator-sized rocks. The snowy section at top went great at 6am. It could theoretically be done with microspikes instead of crampons (ice ax REQUIRED) but that would involve some brutal kick-stepping and balls of steel as a fall would probably be catastrophic. With crampons and ice ax, it was golden. I had been a bit concerned at first due to very warm conditions the night before. It was not ~quite~ a rock-solid freeze, but I had no slippage whatsoever with crampons and ice ax. From the top of C2, the route to Ellingwood summit is completely dry. Last several hundred feet are WORLD CLASS. Great exposure and easy scrambling. Glissade down upper section was brilliant at 11:30am. Consider traversing down to the lower snowfield (see pics; yellow is the descent) then glissading another 100' or so vertical towards the lake. --- The traverse to Blanca Peak -can be- completely dry. I was not very diligent about following the official "route." Fro what I saw, it is not much better than taking off and finding ones own way. On the return to Ellingwood, I followed much of the ridge proper. I think I gained the ridge prior to the recommended gulley as I found some class 4 moves and maybe one or two easy 5s. Lots and lots of flexibility - B lines, C lines, etc.. This traverse was definitely the highlight of my hike. 
3
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-11, By: Alan Ellis
Info: Climbed on Thursday, 7/11. Approach is wet with all the runoff but manageable. There are 3-4 snowfields above the upper lakes. In the early morning before sun hit, these are all a sheet of ice, so microspikes would be helpful. After sunhit, they're soft enough so they're not needed. The upper route is snow free. Photos are looking west towards Como Lake from above the upper lakes. 
2
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-07-09, By: kansasgirlclimbs
Info: Snow halfway up the C2 couloir. Slushy in some spots. I needed spikes and poles ascending with an axe for the way down. Above that, trail is clear 
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