Blanca Peak - 14345' - Class 2
Ellingwood Point - 14042 - Class 2
A friend really wanted to do Blanca and Ellingwood Peaks and since I was already in the area during field camp I gave him a call and we met in Westcliffe for a burger and drove to the Lake Como Trailhead where we parked. We packed up the long 4 miles to Lake Como on a Friday evening. The sun set on us shortly after we left the car so we did most of the hike up in the dark. We didn't really know how much further we had to the lake after almost 3 hours of hiking but we had to be close so we just pitched the tent at the first flat spot we could find. I got some really good sleep that night. The next morning we got up at dawn and saw we were only about 2 minutes from the lake which was a pleasant surprise. We continued around the lake to the end of the old road and began hiking up hard snow to treeline. Once at treeline we could see Little Bear above to the right which looked impressive. We past by Blue Lake which was still frozen over. From here the snow was getting more continuous but I saw the remaining route up to Blanca Peak so I ran on ahead and started rock hopping straight up Blanca Peak. I caught up to a group of three who left Lake Como before us and before i knew it I was on the summit. I was actually the first to summit this day. It was however a very smoky day due to the New Mexico and Arizona forest fires but the views of Little Bear were stunning. Looking across to Ellingwood Point and its vertical west face was awesome. The group of three I just passed before reaching the summit got there and we all took a long break. It was still early and cold. They agreed to let me join them for the traverse to Ellingwood Point. The friend I was with could only do Blanca Peak. The traverse looked a little dicey but when we started descending Blanca towards the saddle, we quickly realized the traverse was going to be pretty easy and the only difficulties were postholing on some of the remaining snowfields. Once we neared Ellingwood Point we really saw loads of people. For some reason most people wanted to do Ellingwood first. Everyone who had come up Como behind us was now on Ellingwood Point and it was a zoo there. I didn't stay long and began heading down back to Blue Lake where I met with Steve and we made the hike back down to the tent. I waited for him there and the 4 mile road walk sucked so much.