Peak(s):  Blanca Peak  -  14,350 feet
Date Posted:  05/19/2015
Modified:  05/20/2015
Date Climbed:   05/17/2015
Author:  SchralpTheGnar
 The deepter on the Blanca   

Blanca Peak, the dawn, the white shell, one of the sacred Navajo Peaks. Many attempts have I made to ascend this peak, two of the Gash Ridge, one from Lake Como, all three resulted in a lack of the summit. These are not failures, they are learning opportunities, you learn that Blanca Peak only allows the reverent to ascend his slopes. With that in mind my brother Mike and I prepared our minds, bodies, and spirits and began the drive down into the valley.

On Friday night, the sun set from CO 150 heading towards the Lake Como road, bathing our souls in beautiful light.

The 4Runner I bought a few months ago, she served us well to 8,800 feet, no need to bother trying to drive higher as it's almost faster to walk up the road rather than drive. The clouds hanging low shrouding the peaks in mystic light.

The hike up the Lake Como road revealed new views with each step molding our spirits as we prepare to enter the sacred land.

We made it up to Lake Como after a leisurely four hour hike and set up the tent by lake, the clouds revealing a menacing Little Bear Peak.

After an hour or so of hanging in the cabin, with snow and graupel falling all around, Bill and his friend Craig showed up and joined us for an evening of conversation and vodka in the cabin. Craig feeling the affect of the altitude.

Bill texting his friend, "sup players, chillaxing at the lake como hut, holla at me when you hit the slopes"

We awoke around 5am and hit the trail at 6am, many clouds were hanging around and the forecast was not "clearing up" as predicted, nevertheless we hit the trail with Bill and Craig, and a few others that had hiked up that morning. Some were heading to Blanca, others planned on Ellingwood, we were planning on doing Ellingwood first and then Blanca. Here Mike gets his first view of Ellingwood.

The approach up the basin is magnificent, giant rocks dwarf Mike as he approaches the headwall above Blue Lakes.

The snowpack was a little sketch so the group followed decent "one at a time" principles through the headwall above Carter Lake.

We headed left up Ellingwood while the rest of the hikers went straight up Blanca, the weather was not really improving but we decided to head higher. The snow conditions on the south slopes on Ellingwood was 2-3' of unconsolidated snow that made uphill progess next to impossible, the upper slope looked loaded so after about a half hour of this we turned around.

After skiing back down to the basin we started making progress up Blanca's slopes, following the tracks of those that came before.

Ellingwood loaded, with our tracks down low.

The summit ridge was the sickness, Blanca trying to knock us down the north face, saying "go away, you are not welcome"

And them Caribbean winds still blow from Nassau to Mexico
Fanning the flames in the furnace of desire
And them distant ships of liberty on them iron waves so bold and free
Bringing everything that's near to me nearer to the fire

Craig just below the summit, you can do it!

The famous Rob and Mike summit shot, what a team.

We were able to ski right off the summit down some of the most incredible powder yet witnessed on a 14er ski descent, Blanca approve of our presence.

The weather finally cleared, revealing a sky so blue, that blue isn't adequate to describe.

Back at camp, after 6 hours on the high slopes, the weather so fine.

After packing up, we hit the road and began the slog down the road, about 28 hours later, Mike found himself back looking over the valley. The view hasn't changed, but his mind has.

Back at the car, 2 hours after leaving camp, thankful for Blanca for allowing us to ascend his slopes, with cold beer waiting for us in the car. It is moments like these that fill the soul with joy and make the spirit complete, we are better for having done it.

Comments or Questions
05/19/2015 12:20
That is one very, very nice report!

Nice bit of gnar–schralpin’!
05/19/2015 12:48
Blanca is usually more, ahem, austere this time of year. This is the year to ski in the Sangres!

05/19/2015 14:00
Way to get Blanca in such great conditions

05/19/2015 16:00
that’s a big descent !!

love the teener stoke
05/19/2015 16:52
Great trip.

05/19/2015 17:46
I’m shocked you guys got a pic on the summit. I was hiding on the south edge, trying to keep my stuff from blowing off the mountain.

Our group
05/19/2015 21:21
got very few photos due to said winds I could recall very few 14ers in winter that
came even close to windy and winterlike conditions we had on this peak. Windchill must have been off the charts! That’s despite a pretty mellow weather forecast that we all believed. Must have been some sort of a curse. Your beta on Ellingwood was very useful since it’s been on our radar as well. Nice meeting ya’ll on the mountain that day.

P.S. Powder on the descent was indeed incredible. A rare treat on 14ers.

Pure Gnar
05/19/2015 21:22
Looks like one epic trip! way to bag blanca!

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