Peak(s):  Hamilton Peak  -  13,658 feet
Blanca Peak  -  14,350 feet
Unnamed 13100 C  -  13,100 feet
Date Posted:  06/29/2020
Modified:  07/03/2020
Date Climbed:   06/21/2020
Author:  CaptainSuburbia
 Hamilton is one cool peak   

Hamilton Peak sits all alone on the southern edge of the Blanca Massif and is rarely climbed. It's connected to Blanca Peak by a long snaking narrow ridge. Hamilton is most easily climbed by this north ridge as it's southern approaches are guarded by private property. With only 278 feet of prominence it just misses out on official peak status and is considered an unranked peak. However, it is named and very much looks like a peak, so it must be climbed, right? I'm not sure if it's named after the great Alexander Hamilton or not, but I once visited his place of birth on the island of Nevis, so I figured I should probably climb his namesake peak too.

Day: Sunday June 21st, 2020

Peaks: Hamilton Peak, Blanca Peak and failed attempt at Pt 13100 C

Trailhead: Como Road

Mileage/Vertical Gain: 15.52 miles and 6232 vertical feet gained

The plan was to climb Blanca Peak via the standard route and then head south to Hamilton for an out and back. My group of 4 set out early and were hiking up the infamous Como Road well before sunrise. We had parked at 9800 feet which is as far as I dared to drive. We made good time getting to the lake and beyond. The conditions were great and the snow all but gone. By 7 am I was on the summit of Blanca Peak for my 3rd time in the last year. Blanca never gets old, but I quickly turned my attention south towards Hamilton. I had been really anxious to get a look at the ridge out to our primary objective. Hamilton had been on my to do list for over a year now, and I had found very little beta about the route. It was mostly a mystery which made it very intriguing to me.

Looking down Blanca at a still partially frozen Crater Lake
Ridge to the summit of Blanca
Ellingwood Point
A quick peek at Hamilton from Blanca ridge
Looking south towards Hamilton from Blanca Peak

After a quick summit break we started down the south-southeast ridge of Blanca towards Hamilton Peak. The initial descent off Blanca was abrupt, and it remained steep as we dropped over 400 vertical feet down large talus to a small saddle.

Looking out at Winchell Lakes and Hamilton Peak as we start our descent
Steep talus down Blanca
Lots more talus to go
Almost to the saddle
The first of several saddles along the ridge to Hamilton

We were happy to be on the ridge and climbing towards Hamilton. The first obstacle dead ahead was the ridge high point which was only 30 feet from being above14,000 feet. The ridge proper here was narrow, but it was usually possible to utilize the slope on the right to take the path of least resistance or to avoid a tricky section. The climb up this point was short and not so steep. The descent on the other side had a nice drop though to the next saddle. This was a recurring theme as the ascent out to Hamilton was generally down hill with only minor elevation gains along the way. Upon reaching the ridge high point, Hamilton came back into view, and we could see there was still a lot of work ahead.

A notch to go around before climbing this first point. Hamilton is hidden from view.
Starting up this almost 14er point
Took a ledge here that beelined to the ridge high point
This scrambling section is easily avoided to the right
Looking back at Blanca.
The rest of the route and Hamilton from the ridge high pt
Looking back at Blanca

The rest of the way out to Hamilton was primarily class 2+ scrambling with an occasional short class 3 section. Pretty much anything could be skirted to the right while the left (or east side) generally had extreme exposure for most of the length of the ridge. There were several more ups and downs along the way, and I occasionally left the ridge to avoid unnecessary elevation gain. About 3/4ths of the way across, the ridge turns right and heads directly south towards Hamilton. At this point, the ridge widens and the climbing becomes easier for the final jaunt to the summit.

Fun scrambling section
Another bump on the ridge
Looking back at a tricky down climb
Taking a ledge to avoid a particularly narrow section of the ridge.
Another short climb over one of the many bumps on the ridge
Getting closer
Ridge widens a bit here before the southward turn
Looking back towards Blanca. My partners had all turned by this point and I was on my own
A grass ledge with Hamilton looking closer
Looking back at the ups and downs along the way
Approaching the southward turn and the final climb to Hamiltons summit
Mt Lindsey and Winchells Lakes to the east
An easy scramble to the final summit ridge
Last bit to Hamiltons summit
Looking back at the long ridge
Looking south from the summit
Little Bear Peak

It was a thrill to make it out to Hamilton Peak. The views of Little Bear, Blanca and Lindsey were incredible! The ridge was a fun scramble the entire way and Hamilton is probably now my new favorite 13er! The distance from Blanca to Hamilton ended up being 1.65 miles. After taking in all the magnificent views I started back towards Blanca. On the return I stayed entirely on the ridge proper and believe this is the best way. It was definitely more of an effort getting back to Blanca as the elevation gain was much higher this way.

Heading back. That's Blanca in the far distance
Almost back to Blanca
Steep talus climb up Blanca

After returning over Blanca and descending into the basin we decided to go for Pt 13100 C. This rarely visited and little known about peak sits on Ellingwood Points southwest ridge. To access this ridge after descending Blanca ,we went just past crater lake and up a steep couloir to the ridge.

Heading up couloir to Ellingwoods ridge.

This couloir was very unpleasant, but we made the ridge and turned south towards 13100 C. We went along this class 3 ridge until reaching the point in the picture below. 13100 C is the next high point in this pic. However, there were 2 saddles between the point and our summit and some nasty looking terrain so we bailed. It had already been a long day and we didn't want to risk anything. Clearly though, this summit is best climbed from the other side past Como Lake as you're heading down Como road. We descended back down the gully and headed home.

The point we climbed and Pt 13100 C
Ellingwood Point from ridge

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
06/29/2020 15:46
Sick climb, Judd. I'm so jealous you got this one before me! I've been looking at this one for almost a year now, nice work on a rarely climbed peak!

06/30/2020 07:51
Thanks Ben! Definitely an awesome day!! I've been wanting this peak for awhile too. Such a cool peak!

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