Ellingwood Point  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-07-04, By: Sbenfield
Info: Went to the lake to camp with no intention of climbing, but it looks like the c2 gully has snow. The way up to the lake was snow free 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-07-05, By: JaredJohnson
Info: Hiked to the lake Monday and climbed EP via C2 on Tuesday, then descended to Como Lake via the standard route. Got onto C2 around 9:30, even with the late start the snow was very doable; crampons (not spikes) mandatory and had to stay clear of areas near rocks where it was softening up. From the C2 exit to the summit was snow free. Descended the standard trail and with the late time had to take even more care on entrances and exits to 3-4 snow slopes, however once away from the rocks it was good with spikes. A nice fast and safe glissade on the last big snowfield going down the route. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-06-29, By: Pcypher
Info: Trail is in great shape to the Couloirs. C2 holding snow still. Crampons and axe necessary. C3 holding snow too. Traverse to Blanca required crampons for a couple snowfields. Snow was soft by afternoon. Waist deep a couple times crossing snowfields. Blanca summit has a stable cornice but snow is unavoidable on the summit. It's a short section. No crampons necessary. Downclimb of Couloir late afternoon was stable. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-06-16, By: bangerth
Info: I can't report about anything past South Zapata Lake as that's as far as I got. But up to that point: Snow patches start to block the trail occasionally at 11,250 ft. The first dozen or so one can get over unaided -- they're typically 3 ft deep and 10 ft wide -- but eventually one has to bite the bullet and make a decision: (i) switch back and forth between shoes and snowshoes frequently; (ii) go high on the left/east to stay on the talus above the snow fields; (iii) go low along the creek to stay on the snow fields and use snowshoes. I took option (ii) on the way up until the last ridge before South Zapata Lake. It's feasible to keep the snowshoes off for the most part, but it's excruciatingly slow to navigate the steep talus. The rocks are also not always stable. I opted for (iii) on the way back and moved far faster. Snowshoes are definitely needed. It did make me uncomfortable that one has to stay low below steep snowfields at times to avoid taking off the snowshoes all the time crossing rock fields. Low also means one occasionally has to cross the creek running below the snow, and hope that the snow is stable. But at least it's much faster than hopping rocks. C2 and C3 are still deeply covered in snow. 
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-06-10, By: desertdog
Info: We climbed the C2 in great styrofoam snow conditions. With the warm temps, I would try to be at the bottom of the C2 no later than 5am. There is continuous snow from about a half mile below the lakes. There is a boot packed trail through the snow to the left at the last stream crossing (where you would normally go up the slope on the summer trail). No snowshoes needed. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2019-05-30, By: Tim A
Info: Backpacked to Zapata Lake on 5/29. Patchy snow transitioned to full snow about a half mile from the lake. In late morning no traction needed to reach treeline. It snowed half an inch in camp that evening. Climbed C2 couloir on 5/30. Base of couloir at 630am, reached the ridge at 8am. Variable conditions. Bottom 2/3rds alternated between good punchy styrofoam that was excellent for kicking in steps against bulletproof snow that would only accept frontpoints. Top 1/3 had a storm or windslab a few inches deep and below that very soft snow, knee deep in some places. Ridgeline was straightforward with some spice. A few places had steep snow that was bulletproof and would have made for impossible arrest conditions in the event of a slip. Made it to about 13,100 before turning around in the face of rapidly building storm clouds south of LB. Back at C2 around 930, plunge-stepped the top hundred feet and glissaded the by-then soft snow back into the basin. Spent another night at treeline enjoying the solitude and another inch of snow that evening. Didn't see another party on 5/29 at all, this is such a better experience than the Como circus on the south side. No snowshoes needed at all. The snow in the basin is soft midday but not deep enough to require flotation. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-05-26, By: rudyking69
Info: No snow on lake como road until 2 miles from lake where we were able to park on my friends modified 4x4. Snow starts about 1 mile from lake. we camped the night started at 5:30am. Snow was nice and firm the whole way took snowshoes but did not use, deepest snow from 12-13k was less than 1ft deep. Summit by 10:00 am was a little windy but beautiful day. We wanted to do Blanca too but breaking trail got the best of us. Snow was slushy around lake como basin on our way back at 12:30pm. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-05-19, By: JulianSmith
Info: Climbed and skied the south face of Ellingwood Point today. For me it was a pretty nasty ski. There is some sun cupping just starting to form on the face, and lots of wet slide activity. Combine that with a hard overnight freeze and a reluctant sun this morning; it made for a really icy, chattery descent. At the top it was really steep, and a little scary too. Lots of recent wet slide activity all over the valley in general. Just about everything has slid except for the NW face of Blanca, which still looks pretty good. The road is getting pretty melted out too. About 1 mile below the lake is where the snow is continuous now. On a lark, I skied out on the south side of the valley, which with a little finagling, I was able to ski down almost to the cabins. I wouldn't recommend it this time of year though, as you must fight to maintain enough elevation to connect everything together. It was interesting to ski out that side of the valley as I have looked at it a few times as I was trudging the jeep road. 
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Route: Lake Como Approach
Posted On: 2018-11-28, By: Eagle Eye
Info: I reached the summit of Ellingwood Point yesterday, starting from 4.6 miles on the Lake Como Rd. I wore snowshoes off and on) but a lot of the way, starting approx 2 miles below Lake Como. Leaving Lake Como in the woods was probably the longest stretch of deep snow. I went up high, aiming for the saddle and then passed under the short cliff section on the Ellingwood side of the Ellingwood-Blanca connecting ridge. I re-gained either the ridge or slightly left-of-ridge for the rest of the way to the summit. I used microspikes for most of the ridge. The wind howled through the ridge and on the summit! I returned in my own tracks to meet the road, and no one else had come up on this day. Image #1 Little Bear from Ellingwood Point Image #2 Some cloud formations from the summit, for a reference point Lily Lake is well-hidden near the shadow. Image #3 Blanca Peak and Mt Lindsey in the distance. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2018-11-05, By: bxiao
Info: 1-3ft sugar snow around the south zapata lake basin. C2 is covered by mostly thigh high snow and no ice underneath. Crampon is useless and sometime dangerous. Floatation might help but met two climbers down from twin peaks saying snowshoe won't help much. I went up from the right side of C2 which probably is not a good idea, deep wind drift snow and large boulders. Came back down the right way which the underneath talus was more predictable. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2018-09-29, By: ryans
Info: Climbed Ellingwood today from South Zapata Creek, absolutely beautiful weather and the trail to the lake is absolutely gorgeous. We did not see a soul on the route! We took C2 which was very loose, glad nobody else was in C2 while we were climbing as it narrows considerably at the top which makes it somewhat dangerous for rock fall. The right side of C2 is definitely more stable. The upper part of the route towards the summit is fun scrambling on solid rock, a little airy but a lot of fun. 5.5 hours to summit and about 4 hours to descend at a fairly decent pace. 
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2018-09-16, By: cougar
Info: Hot, steep and a bit rough trail to pack in on, but overall pretty nice, with a fair amount of shady stretches, and almost no people on it. I had a bit over 5 miles and 3300ft gain to the lake. Great camping at the lake and just below treeline at some established sites, as well as a couple old cabins lower down the trail. Only one or two other parties there. Lots of bighorn sheep at the lake. C2 wasn't too bad, but definitely watch out for loose rocks that will roll, no matter how careful you are. On ascent I favored the right side as recommended, the worst part is the upper 100-200 ft. The lower part is mainly loose/wobbly talus. On descent, the same, but about halfway down or less, I found a path of scree pebbles that was easier to boot ski down - a trail is forming on this less steep/rocky section. Top of C2 is marked with a cairn and a bit of orange survey tape. There is still plenty of loose talus on the ridge up to Ellingwood. With the traverse over to Blanca and back, I got about 15.5 miles and 7100 ft gain. So similar stats to the Como approach, rougher terrain, but much more secluded. The trailhead and Zapata Falls area gets very busy, but it's really quiet past that point. Fall colors are good in the area. 
 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2018-09-06, By: sailingstar22
Info: Trail is in great shape. Light traffic up to South Zapata Lake for the holiday weekend. We took the C2 route (no snow yet). The scree was quite loose in places, but overall not as bad as we had planned. Stayed to the right on the ascent (left on descent) for more stable handholds. There was someone up there that had no business being on the route and let a massive 1,000lb+ boulder lose at the top of C2, which cascaded all the way down and finally exploded into several pieces. Luckily, the few folks on the trail stayed to the sides on the couloir but even wearing a helmet a boulder like that at the speed would have killed someone instantly. The route describes C2 and C3 options, but is light on the description of the remainder of the ascent. Chose your own adventure on the talus but stay somewhat near the ridge. The last 400m has some definite class 3 climbing. We were nervous about being too close to the ridge, which made it harder. On the descent, staying on top of the ridge was much more pleasant and required little technical work. Great hike - highly recommend this route over the Lake Como approach. Traverse to Blanca will take at least 2-3 more hours R/T. Our single peak took close to 9 hours (5 up with a stop for "brunch" at the lake, 4 down no stops). 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2018-08-26, By: cdgibbons
Info: I found the standard route very straightforward. I turned left at the cairn in the first photo, 13,320' according to my GPS. I followed a natural ledge in the second photo (with some red rock and grass further over) into the South Face. There are ample cairns both along the lower route and a higher route that gains the ridge sooner (and provides a traverse route to Blanca). 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2018-06-25, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: The trail up to Zapata lake was clear and snow free. C3 is snow free (well, one area that's easily avoided). C3 sucks. I made it partway up then turned around because going down is about 10x worse than going up. I wouldn't want to go down that after the ridge. C2 looked to still have a lot of snow in it. Good luck! 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2018-06-23, By: rgarriott
Info: Most cars parked at the bottom of Lake Como 'road.' A few Jeeps & Toyotas with good clearance made it about halfway up the road. Plan for a long hike to the lake. The South Face route for Ellingwood follows the same trail as Blanca until 13,400 ft. Once you branch off for Ellingwood, the trail is initially hard to find. I would suggest bringing a couple of pictures from the dot com showing this part of the route. Thank you to Lacey & Pete for your help with finding the trail. Let me know if you guys want to bag another one. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2018-06-23, By: Scotty21
Info: Summer conditions from 8,000 feet TH to Summit including Lake Como Road. Very little snow off trail. Plenty of Columbines blooming. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2018-06-11, By: Mountainqueen
Info: Climbed Ellingwood Point from Zapata. Took the C2 route up with just microspikes. Witnessed a man fall descending. Scary. Do not attempt C2 without ice axe and crampons. We took the C3 route down. Long day. Beautiful weather. Be careful. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2018-06-11, By: Terminally_Chill
Info: Nothing new to report that wasn't stated in the former post. Ascended via C3, used axes to descend via C2. Saw a large group descending C2 without any ice equipment, witnessed a girl nearly get killed by a loose boulder kicked down from a group near the top of the couloir. BE CAREFUL DO NOT ATTEMPT C2 WITHOUT PROPER EQUIPMENT INCLUDING HELMETS! 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2018-05-30, By: Gdurheim
Info: Zapata lake trail is dry and in great condition. C2 still has snow in the top half and it was solid in the morning, except the last 50' as mentioned in other reports. It was easy enough to climb the rocks to the side of it. Super soft coming back down. Ridge line has a little snow but all avoidable. 
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