Ellingwood Point  
Condition Updates  
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2022-08-01, By: CBMassive
Info: Recent rain storms have greatly increased water flows in the area. Reached the creek crossing at about 1.4 miles up the trail and was faced with wading in fast moving water about thigh high, or turning around. The logs shown in the pictures that accompany the route write-up are no longer present, maybe washed away. We walked up and down the creek looking for an alternative for about 30 minutes, but couldn't find anything that didn't look risky. Decided to abort the hike and try from the Lake Como approach later in the week. If you're going to tackle this route, be prepared for high water at this crossing until the afternoon rains subside. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2022-07-06, By: majormajortom
Info: Summer conditions. No one else approaching from Zapata Creek. C2 is snow free and I was glad to be the only one in it because of the loose rock. Great weather. Completed traverse to Blanca and back. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-07-05, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Overcast/foggy morning but able to summit before t-storms rolled in. Summer conditions on the trail and following cairns. Watch for the turnoff point between Ellingwood and Blanca. 
Route: Lake Como Approach
Posted On: 2022-06-20, By: arthurtect
Info: Summer conditions from Lake Como. Went for a late start, which paid off. Missed the mornings icy rain and enjoyed sunny skies on the summer. Super windy in the approach but mostly calm on the summit. Lake Como Road is no joke. Believe all the nightmares and horror stories!! 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2022-06-12, By: TheSpaceForce
Info: It's marmot and mosquito season on this route. Did not investigate C3; C2 still had some snow in it and generally pretty loose rock/talus/scree. We used ice axes up and down, and were able to kick steps in, no problem at 10:00 am and later. We did not use spikes/crampons, but gaiters were nice in the melting slush (we punched all the way through a few times). Opinions/comments from others: Generally we found this route to be challenging (combination of gain and distance - haven't done class 4 14ers, have done several class 3). One morning climber claimed C2 was a sheet of ice. Another climber used trail runners and shorts & kept to the rock to avoid the snow. We also made the traverse to Blanca, and found it nearly devoid of snow. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2022-06-07, By: jeffh7
Info: Backpacked in on the 4th, summitted on the 5th. Route is completely dry aside from C2 couloir which contained extremely variable snow. We ascended C3 in the morning and descended C2 at 11 AM. The upper section was white snow that was softer and easier to safely kick into or carefully glissade. The lower section was brownish snow that was BULLETPROOF and required 5-6 kicks per foot to establish any sort of trench (if not using crampons). C2 is not safe with the brownish snow unless you have crampons and an ice ax. No signs of wet sluffing or rollers in the 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. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2022-05-27, By: butcher213
Info: Saw 7 active avalanches in the Zapata basin. C2 couloir is a death trap, with two slides occurring while I was on approach. I, obviously, did not summit. I didn't see C3, but I presume it's just as bad. I wouldn't recommend this route until it melts in a couple days. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-05-13, By: Grisel
Info: Lake Como road is dry all the way to Lake Como. Past the lake, intermittent snow all the way to summit but solid, didn't even post hole on the way down. Brought microspikes but didn't use them, might make some comfortable higher up 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-12-13, By: chrisbendrell
Info: Relatively little snow on Lake Como road to Lake Como. Significantly more snow than expected to Crater Lake, waste deep postholing, deep drifts (sufferfest) in some areas. Trail is mostly still obvious with a few adjustments necessary to avoid deep snow. Doable with an early enough start. 
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Route: North Ridge via Huerfano
Posted On: 2021-11-28, By: arete66
Info: A thousand feet above the trailhead, Dawson's guide alerted me to cut left off the trail to an open talus slope. Out of the trees, one gets the first broad views of this east aspect of the ridge. It was big, steep and complex as I had been led to believe. (image 1) It also looked like it steepened most near the ridge crest. I zigged and zagged up the wall finding weak chutes with loose boulders leading to steep buttresses with increasing exposure. A patch of grass drew me and as I got closer, I noticed a small harem of bighorn sheep, perhaps 5 individuals. Short sections of snow were icey in patches but mostly soft and airy. I had already switched into trail runners. The sheep allowed me to approach within perhaps 30 meters but on a silent signal, they bolted up the slope, out of sight. I took mental notes of landmarks wanting to store a mental picture of the face for my descent. Looking up reminded me that it just got steeper to the crest. (image 2) Just beneath that final granite wall was a black slab of shiny and featureless gneiss. Here I moved left not liking the gash directly above. This led me to a solid steep granite nose. The moves were sustained 5.easy and the exposure is harder to put out of one's mind. I hoped for an easier way down. My sense was that an alternate descent would have to be to the north (my right side) because looking left seemed to be only steeper terrain. Although the Valley of the South Zapata seemed mildly less severe, the crest itself was jagged and near vertical on both sides. Despite the description, the ridgeline appeared to tip upward precipitously in a short distance to ascend an unrelenting 700 feet or so. I saw no weakness in the face. I had a 200' or 300' section of nearly flat ridgeline. I dropped west onto a series of ledges and traversed south, moving now for the first time directly toward the summit of Ellingwood Point. At the base of the broad steep face, now I looked up again and lo! There was a fine sharp ridgeline keen but solid and appearing to be smartly solo-able at least through its first half. Up higher there was a short wall that reflected the sunlight like a large cylinder of steel. I knew I had unlocked the key at least as far as the steel pillar. The well-defined crest was perfect with plenty of solid holds and yet all-absorbing by virtue of its low 5th class nature. At the steel pillar I found a sneak to the right and another sharp edge lead beyond. This was glorious and easy enough that I knew it would be glorious downclimbing. All beta that I had read warned that the top 150 feet got steep and technical so I kept bracing for it. Just a short distance above me, was a false summit. I knew the real summit must lay beyond because the difficulties remained easy and within control. As I crested the last few feet though, I looked across not at a true summit but Blanca Peak. I was already on top! Conditions were excellent. Now all resources were focused toward the descent off the crest. I relished the delightful downclimb of the ridge and when I got to the end of steep, I reversed the ledge traverse. At the very tyne where I had crested the ridge, I continued the traverse only about 100' or so. At the top of a chimney feature, I felt relief seeing my way most of the way to the black band of gneiss. The rock seemed uncharacteristically yellow and I was able to face out most of the way. In no time, I had unlocked the top section and felt a great sense of relief. The steepness eased slightly as I descended. At the same high grasses where I had seen the sheep before, I found them again, and again they allowed me to approach quite closely before bolting off to impossibly precipitous defenses. I kept the trail runners on becauseā€¦ why not? 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-10-03, By: durkan
Info: If your only goal is Ellingwood, only snow of concern was ledges. If not, see report for Blanca. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-10-01, By: dsr80304
Info: Camped at Zapata lakes - nice way to break this up. Some flurries and/or graupel up there on 9/29. Did C2 to Ellingwood Pt on 9/30 AM. There's no fun way up or down C2, you can't avoid a lot of loose dirt and rock. There was generally a dusting of snow on the upper 500' of the EP ridge, with 1-2" of accumulation on some ledges and little crevices. Made the scrambling a bit trickier. Weather was hard to gauge on the summit (9/30 9:30ish) so we didn't go for Blanca. Looked like more clouds rolled in and seemed to have received another heavy dusting of snow by mid-day. And looks like continuing precip up there today (10/1). 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-08-30, By: SamWerner
Info: Trail is still full summer conditions. It was a fun one on the way up to Ellingwood with plenty of scrambling and nice views, though adding on Blanca made for a killer long day. Mostly just posting this to tell other people who may be dumb like me that although this route is shorter than the Lake Como route, a huge chunk of that is off-trail so it takes much longer than you likely would have on Lake Como. I'm generally a pretty fast hiker and decent scrambler but this took me 13.5 hours round trip (with Blanca). C2 was just as the previous report said, gotta focus for the last little bit. If you want to make sure you don't accidentally go down Crossfire Couloir on the way back, there are a couple rusty metal stakes on the ground right next to the top of C2 - so just remember, finding the right couloir is "high stakes" 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-08-04, By: GordoByrn
Info: I stayed a little left of the cairns at the "turn" at 13.5K. The rock was stable. Looked over and the cairned line seemed less steep so tried that for the way down. It's really loose, off the summit ridge, and I nearly sent some big stuff down. I wouldn't want to be under anyone in this section. Bill's tip about the mine worked great. Close to the mine there is a large snow patch that the trail passes beneath - helped me navigate on the way down and kept me away from some steep terrain. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-07-17, By: soxfan249
Info: My friend and I found this combination a good way to mitigate the mileage and elevation of a single-day Blanca and Ellingwood combo, but it did require planning and two cars. We left one car at 8000' on the Lake Como road and drove up to the Zapata Falls TH. We ascended Ellingwood Point via South Zapata Creek at around 8:30am after a 2:45am start. The C2 gully is snow-free but very loose - it had rained the night before which made even the dirt slick. The traverse to Blanca appeared well-cairned, but we lost it in one place. We observed a lot of people staying high on the ridge direct, but that variation looked more exposed and technical than our attempt to follow the described route. Since we didn't want to regain 4-500' back to Ellingwood point and slide down the couloir, we decided to hike out via Lake Como to the backup car. Some very nice people drove us down the last few miles, but without the ride I would estimate this hike at 16 miles, 6400' gain. Long day regardless. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-07-17, By: jordanthebuff
Info: Trail is in full summer conditions, as previously reported. I took literally 2 steps in snow the entire trail, once up and once down. I went up the C2 couloir. Stick to the middle of the boulder field until you reach the couloir, then hang near the wall on the right as that will give you the best chance at solid footing. Heads up, everything was VERY loose. I kicked down quite a few small rocks and one larger rock (~18 in.). I was the only one on the trail the entire day, so I probably wasn't being as careful with kicking rocks as I could have been if there were others below me, but do take a lot of care if you are with someone or if there is another party below you. The trail through the trees narrows at certain points so that you are brushing up against grass and/or willows. It had rained the night before so the wet grass and willows caused my legs and shoes to get pretty wet to the point where I had squishy shoes once I reached the lake. Thankfully, I brought extra socks, so crises averted. The trail through the trees is pretty fast, about 4 miles and about 2 - 2.5 hours to reach the lake. Final note, the ridges were pretty fun, though loose at times. Stick near the ridge or just to the right on your way up (and just left on the way down). In the last 50 - 100 feet, when you reach the crux of the ridge you can make it a little more difficult by heading straight towards the summit for class 4 climbing or head around to the right to keep it easier. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-07-11, By: noob_hiker
Info: summer conditions along the entire route, including a completely dry C2 couloir. i stayed climber's right up the entire section. dark clouds rolled in when I topped out of the couloir, so I had to take cover under a rock overhang. fortunately, i had full LTE service along the north ridge up to check weather updates. I saw one other hiker on the route, he also had to take cover for nearly an hour. overall solid day in the mountains. 
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Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-07-11, By: KRAZY
Info: C2 is mostly clear of snow. There was a snow field in the middle of the couloir that was easy to bypass on the right. Then, in the right gully at the top there was another section about 12 feet long that was holding snow. We were able to bypass to the right on the way up. I opted for traction on the way down, but Trail Girl was able to get by without using hers. I'll try to add photos. 
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Route: C2 Couloir via South Zapata Lake
Posted On: 2021-07-06, By: little_castaldo
Info: This was a great route (highly recommend over Como Lake!) - we backpacked in July 3rd and only saw a handful of people. We found a great camping spot in treeline with great creek access at ~11,425ft with a large firepit (you can't miss it). We summited Ellingwood (twice) and Blanca on July 4th via the C2 couloir. The couloir was the roughest part of the route, just because it was half soft snow and half completely melted out. We used microspikes and our ice axes (we had brought crampons, but didn't use them - too soft of snow). Only saw one person on the route until we reached Ellingwood. There's another great camping spot at ~11,750ft in treeline (it was occupied Saturday night). Other than those two spots, most of the camping was above treeline. We had the entire valley to ourselves Sunday night as all day hikers and the other two backpackers had hiked out. A fair amount of mosquitoes. OH MARMOTS GOLORE. One of them almost chewed all the way through our water filter tube as we napped 15ft away for an hour. Had we not been able to patch it, our trip could have been cut short. We hung up everything in the trees from the moment on. Left only sleeping bag and pad in the tent for summit day and they left the tent alone. 
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