BLANCA PEAK and ELLINGWOOD POINT
This was the longest single day trip I have done to date. There is a road that will lead to over 11,700 feet in elevation at Como Lake, however I was not able to drive past 8,800 feet. Round trip ended up being a little over 14 miles. The road is Colorado's most difficult 4X4 road.
We only saw two vehicles that made the trip that day, one was a rock-crawler and the other was a beat up old Suburban with a huge lift kit. I have a collection of photos from the road on my Little Bear Peak trip report.
Click the map to see a larger more detailed version.
We started early enough that we didn't see the first signs of sunrise until we had almost reached treeline above Lake Como.
We were hiking rather late in the season and the sky was hazy that day so the beauty of this valley isn't captured too well in the pictures. This is one of the Blue Lakes.
Along the way there are lots of small lakes and pools of water that are crystal clear.
When we reached the ridge of Blanca we got a great view of the Aspens changing color in the Huerfano Valley.
Hiking Mt Lindsey would have been spectacular with all those aspens.
On the summit we met a group that had just come across the Little Bear/Blanca ridge that took our summit photo for us. They said it had taken them a couple hours and was definitely an airy traverse.
Winchell Lakes are deep blue and deep green when seen from the summit of Blanca. Amazing color.
Mount Lindsey as seen from the summit of Blanca Peak.
Little Bear as seen from the summit of Blanca Peak. We were planning on coming back to get this one later. We still wanted some more experience under our belts before attemping this mountain.
Some early season snow that fell the day before.
The traverse over to Ellingwood Point from Blanca Peak looked intimidating at first but turned out to be fairly easy.
We found that once the terrain forces you off the ridge that you simply need to traverse on the left (SW) side of the ridge on a fairly well cairned trail. This way you don't loose too much extra elevation.
During the traverse the view of crater lake and Little Bear is impressive.
Looking back at the face of Blanca we saw just how steep it was. We had drifted off route and ascended the face most the way, the standard route gains the ridge near the saddle. The standard route would have been a better choice.
Our summit shots. We had the summit to ourselves so no one could take our photo for us. We weren't there long before we heard thunder in the distance. We began to descend quickly.
Back down at Crater Lake I was impressed with the steepness of Little Bears ridge.
Though we had heard thunder earlier the weather continued to hold well for us.
Looking back up the valley toward Ellingwood and Blanca Peak from near treeline.
We noticed the couloir that begins the standard route up Little Bear. Looks like a quick steep ascent to the ridge.
This cabin sits along the road just above Lake Como.
Little Bear as seen from near Lake Como.
There is a nice old log cabin that sits on Lake Como, a lot of people camp near it however that does not meet the 200 feet from water requirement.
This was one of only two vehicles that made it up the road that day. Quite the custom job. The other one was an old suburban that had a huge lift kit and looked like it had been in a few roll-over accidents. Two guys on ATVs tried and didn't make it.
Along the road near one of the major obstacles known as Jaws II is this plaque. Nice.
We did get to hike through some fall aspens, but there aren't a lot on this trail.
This apparently is the offical sign for the road.
The view of the Blanca Massif from the turn off of Highway 150.
The Blanca Massif from near Fort Garland.
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