Blanca Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2022-07-11, By: CharGalli
Info: Approach from Como Rd was easy, well marked trail going up to blanca, sad to discover graffiti on the summit, traverse to Ellingwood was cake with lots of cairns and no need to find route… descending Ellingwood I suggest make it back on the traverse , the gully down is poorly marked and everything is loose from it's scree to big boulders … I didn't see a clear path on that standard route and climbed up to the traverse to get back on the blanca trail and made my way down back to como … got hit by a bad storm and hail on the way back , lots of jeeps/ off-roading vehicles changed some rocks of place , como Rd become a river yesterday 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-29, By: Istoodupthere
Info: Surprise graupel storm (something I had never witnessed) yesterday caught a handful of people off guard, on or near the summit yesterday. Everyone safe. Forced me to set up camp .8 miles below Lake Como. Today was beautiful with zero chance of storms. Going up the face to gain the summit ridge entailed working your way around multiple iced areas. A couple inches of snow/graupel remained in the afternoon between the boulders. Crest of summit ridge was completely dry by 10:30am. Really enjoyed summit day. Beautiful area. I didn't think the Como road was quite as bad as expected. Group of 40 high school kids starting way too late. Another similar group of about 20 heading up to Como today. 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-19, By: Jacob11235
Info: I'll make a more proper trip report with pictures and everything in a few days but the conditions Saturday were pretty terrible; it appeared the weather that was expected on Sunday rolled in early...camped at 8,000(ish) ft., and started off up the notorious jeep "road" around 4 am; fog quickly became the issue and theme of the day...light drizzle, 5-10 ft. avg. visibility, 10-30 mph winds with occasional 40(ish) mph gusts (when you live in Dalhart, TX where they don't consider it windy until at least 25 mph you learn to get a feel for varying windspeeds lol) were the typical conditions all the way up to and through the summit; I went directly from base camp, around 8,000(ish) ft, making the route about 9 miles and with approximately 6,600 ft of vertical gain. The single push took about 5 hours to the summit; there were never times were I felt beyond my ability but there were definitely a few times where I was out of my comfort zone; I opted to skip the traverse to Ellingwood given the weather and come back another day...I could see no more than about 10 feet in front of me until I was just above Crater Lake on the way down so given this; I'd like to come back on a better day and go up Ellingwood then traverse over to Blanca for the views. If the weather starts to turn bad I would advise proceeding with extreme caution and bring a helmet; the rocks and scree become slippery and are more prone to become dislodged and falling; I forgot mine and definitely kicked myself for it. This peak is no joke, the final summit push can find you in some difficult class 3, borderline class 4 stuff if you get too far off trail on the ridgeline so be careful, if you stay on the trail, which is very well marked, and IF you know what you are looking for then the cairns are easy to spot and it isn't excessively hard to follow the correct trail. Everything tends to look the same above Crater Lake so it is easy to miss the cairns, once you find them it's not too tricky to discern the correct route to the next one, foggy conditions make this much more difficult so I would definitely suggest having a buddy with you if you decide to go up in inclement weather... All-in-all, weather on Blanca is a factor; especially in the summer with the afternoon thunderstorms which seem to be rolling in between 2-4 or so; it was a blast, I met some great people, and I definitely grew from this experience . 
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Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2022-06-14, By: drotleff
Info: Summer conditions for these two peaks. Minor quibble with the cairns right under the summit of Blanca, they may guide you towards weird class 4 terrain. Keep right and walk to the summit once you're 30 feet or so below the peak. The route up and down Ellingwood needs new cairns, on the return from Ellingwood summit you need to follow the cairns down, not across to the Blanca connection. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-13, By: Jirwindisc
Info: Blanca is GTG for the summer. Not a single snowfield that we needed to cross and the cairns and route were quite easily found. Of course, the drive to 3.25 in my buddies Subie was an adventure, but doable, and then after that, the hike up the road did suck, but it's part of the game. We set camp at Lake Como and hiked from Como to Blanca and Ellingwood without issue. It's a long hike, but fairly easy to find the route and push on. We did cross 6 people who had done the Little Bear to Blanca traverse and they still had some pucker factor going on. They brought ropes but didn't use them, but one said he wished he would have. I did Little Bear the next day and might have found 1/2 of one of their trekking pole and would like to get it back to him. Word of note, after doing Ellingwood, don't try to shortcut anything. Go back the way you came to the saddle. We tried the shortcut and almost had a really bad rock slide story. 
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Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2022-06-12, By: andrewpatterson33
Info: Summer conditions all the way through. Highly recommend the "traverse" route going between the two as it is easy to follow and saves you a bit of elevation loss. Lakes are gorgeous, road is brutal. 
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2022-06-07, By: jeffh7
Info: Didn't attempt Blanca as we approached Ellingwood from S Zapata Creek, however I have provided pictures for people who are interested in the conditions of Blanca + Ellingwood Traverse. See my Ellingwood conditions update for info on Ellingwood S Zapata Approach/C2 couloir 
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Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2022-05-30, By: Guyer25
Info: Still very deep snow above Crater Lake. A bit of exposure and easy climbing at the top. A lot of post-holing and trudging up deep snow, steep in parts. Not much trail to follow. Ice axe and spikes were nice to have. 
2
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-05-15, By: butcher213
Info: The route is dry to Lake Como, then a couple snowfields up to the basin below Blanca/Ellingwood. The ridge itself has some snow on the Lindsey side, but it's otherwise clear. The class 2 Ellingwood route is still snowed in below its ridge. The gulley gaining LB's west ridge still holds snow, I don't know about the Hourglass. The Blanca-LB traverse was almost entirely dry. Attached are photos of the traverse, and the northern Sangre 14ers. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-01-16, By: jscully205
Info: Not much snow on the road and parked at 9300 in stock Tacoma. A vehicle if similar capability could have driven to 9600 or so. Hiking the rest of road I did not put snowshoes on until after the lake and changed to spikes when I arrived to the upper basin. I climbed a variation of Blanca's face on the 3rd class terrain intermixed with snow directly below the summit. From Blanca's summit I traversed over to Ellingwood, taking a high line across the ridge avoiding the possible wind slab across the saddle. Brought but didn't need axe as I found poles were adequate. From Ellingwood, I worked my way back a little to the south and picked a lower angle rib to follow back to level ground. 
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Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2022-01-14, By: -wren-
Info: Just relaying secondhand information here - a friend let me know that there was a CAIC forecaster up in the area recently, and the slope below the Ellingwood/Blanca saddle is reportedly loaded with snow much deeper than the surrounding area, which has facets in it. Changed our plans of checking it out this weekend. May be best to give it some time. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-12-31, By: Jacob11235
Info: This is a report from my trip on Saturday December 18, 2021. I turned on Lake Como Road and drove as far as I could before I felt like the road was a little too rough; I was in an AWD Buick Enclave CDX that belongs to my wife so definitely did not want to cause any unnecessary potential damage. Thus the ascent started at around 8,000 feet and the jeep "road" is well, just how everyone described it. I did not run into any snow until about 10,000 feet and when I arrived at Lake Como there was ankle deep snow on the trail...the snow on the trail was manageable with trail running shoes, micro spikes were nice, not necessary. Unfortunately the trail gets tough to follow quickly and I found myself off trail a lot; this was also my first time on the mountain. Off trail, higher altitude conditions were not near as luxurious: mid-calf to knee high snow and then around 13,000 feet, off trail conditions saw hip deep snow...I got myself in a couple tricky spots navigationally speaking but I never felt unsafe. I decided to turn around just below the ridgeline around 13,500ish feet as I would be losing daylight and navigating the descent in the dark...the goal was to get to the Lake Como trailhead at the road by dark and then navigate the road in the dark with a headlamp; this more or less worked out and the descent was nice...rocky, but a cruise down to the car. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-12-14, By: Eagle Eye
Info: Starting from a 3.2 mile point on the Lake Como road, I summited Blanca Peak yesterday. I found a nice boot track through the basin from chrisbendrell who summited Ellingwood Point 12/12. The basin held a lot of drifted, supportive and then *unsupportive* snow. I made a direct track towards the mid Ellingwood-Blanca saddles' low point (from Crater Lake) and stayed first beside, and then on the upper ridge to the summit. The detour to the saddle that I like avoids an often iced up in these conditions ledges area, in the switchbacks between 13,000 and 13,300. The NW ridge has gotten a lot of snow packed in from the wind. At times this day I wore micro spikes for the extra traction. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-11-28, By: naomideridder
Info: Snow consistent after lake Como but no more than ankle-deep, except a few small sections that got up to the hips. Traction and axe were very helpful in some sections with ice and steep snow fields. 
1
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-10-17, By: scvaughn
Info: Lake Como Road is dry up to about 10,000', and the snow gets progressively deeper from there on. I post-holed to my knees consistently past 13,000', and decided to turn around. There was an orange rock crawler at Lake Como, and they're certain to have had a wild ride on the descent. 
2
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-11-07, By: shawn_locke
Info: Drove all the way up to the first Jaws. Parked there and hiked the rest of the way. Not a lot of snow the whole route. What little snow there was, I could easily walk through. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-10-03, By: durkan
Info: Graupel covered the trail between lakes in AM. Snow from ledges up to summit slowly increased in depth from 1~4". Brought traction, never used it. Went for Ellingwood after. 
2
Route: Little Bear to Blanca
Posted On: 2021-09-19, By: Grisel
Info: A little stream running down the hourglass on Little Bear but otherwise everything is dry. Route finding gets a little difficult at the first tower but there are cairns showing the way. 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-15, By: Mitsugi
Info: Totally dry. But man not much fun. As you approach the summit, maybe 50 feet from it if you go down and around to the right you get a much easier final approach. If you stay near the ridge it's MUCH harder. Just go around. 
2
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-02, By: JGMace
Info: Drove from Denver airport Friday evening with my teenage sons, arriving at a suitable stopping point for a rental 4WD Tundra on Lake Como road around 8:30 pm. This was their first 14er, and they were blown away by how awesome it was. We hiked the road to Lake Como and set up camp, arriving around 11:45 pm. We were on the trail from Lake Como by 6:30 am. Holy cow the trail, the surrounding mountains, and the many lakes are gorgeous. We summited by 10:30 am. The ridge was exceptional Class 2+ scrambling with breathtaking exposures. Clouds were moving in, so we did not stay on the summit long. A hail storm hit as we descended through the ledges which was kind of cool for Missouri flatlanders to see in late July. The sun came out as we arrived back at our campsite at Lake Como, giving us nice weather to get back to our vehicle. I wish there was a trail hikers could take instead of Lake Como road, but if there were a trail it would probably increase traffic to Lake Como and the surrounding peaks. I've climbed all over the U.S., both technical and non-technical. This was one of the coolest climbs I've done, and it was joy to share it all with my sons. 
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