Ellingwood Point  
Condition Updates  
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 because… why not? 
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" 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-08-17, By: Midwestlungs
Info: Tough route. Went up C2 Couloir. Garmin said 13.3 miles round trip not 11.6. Route is way tougher than doing Wetterhorn standard route. I'd say it's a little tougher than Long's Keyhole. Couloir is much worse than going up Sneffels Lavender Couloir, and miserable going down. Plenty of class 3 moves and a couple class 3+ to avoid loose crap in middle. Talus crossing to ridge after couloir is also tough and sketchy. Probably easier to go up high to ridge and find a few cairns and some light trail in spots. I stayed lower on the way up and wasn't fun. Ridge has plenty of class 3 and what I felt was a class 4 move or two. This definitely is not an “easy class 3” route. Mostly had mountain to myself. A nice couple summited 5 minutes after me after doing the Blanca Traverse. What a beautiful spot and basin 
5 5
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. 
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. 
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. 
6 2
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2021-06-26, By: coopereitel
Info: Summer conditions. A few snow patches down low that are avoidable/unproblematic. Traverse between two was great. Tad of snow in gully on traverse that is avoidable. I will put this same update for Ellingwood too. Splits: Start from lowest Blue Lakes: 4:40am Summit of Ellingwood: 6:15 Summit of Blanca (did traverse): 7:20 Back to camp: about 9:00 Back to car at 10,070': about 10:30 
9 1
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-21, By: ButterDips12
Info: Summited Ellingwood Point via the SW Ridge and then traversed to Blanca Peak. Feel free to message me with any questions. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-06-17, By: BoldeRon
Info: Some snow crossings on excellent trail up to base of mountain. We were able to avoid all snow on upper face. We pretty much followed the route description, with photo 10 and it's description being the key to starting the climb up the face. We then followed a fairly solid rock rib with cairns just below a long thin snow patch that ended below the ridge. Traversed above the snow patch to the ridge. Summited about 11:00am with a 7:30 start at Lake Como. Clear weather until about 1pm when thunder heads formed and started acting up above the peak. 
2 1
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-06-14, By: bangerth
Info: We didn't hike Ellingwood but Twin Peaks, but one gets a nice view of all of the couloirs from that route. Here's your picture of all of the couloirs you might want to take :-) 
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2021-05-16, By: rebeccasimeone
Info: Blanca/Ellingwood - pretty much dry to the lake. Recommend at least microspikes and an ice axe. Traverse to Ellingwood is dry for a little but then you'll have to do some snow crossing. Other members of the group had crampons and found those helpful. 
Route: North Ridge via South Zapata Creek
Posted On: 2021-05-09, By: eecummings_
Info: Ellingwood via south zapata falls/ the c2 couloir. No snow until 10,500. From there to the lake, snow shoes may be needed if you go late but otherwise crampons and an ice axe will get you to the summit just fine. I also recommend camping around 11200 or prepare for a brutal day. Looks like they may be getting more snow though and that'll fill in our boot pack 
3 4
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-01-18, By: angry
Info: Parked at ~8840ft. Opted for a late start as winds were expected to be nonexistent in the afternoon and this proved true. Booted to lake. Snowshoes from lake to ~13,600. Once we gained the ridge, stashed snowshoes and packs and booted to summit. Snow varied from a couple inches to knee deep. 
6 1
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-01-13, By: supranihilest
Info: We were able to drive to about 8,800-8,900 feet before the snow and ice on the road became tractionless. From there we booted all the way to Lake Como, then put on our snowshoes and wore them almost all the way to the summit of Ellingwood. Snow between Lake Como and the bottom of the south face is variable, anywhere from rock hard slab to waist deep punch crust. It was worse in the afternoon. There's some potential avalanche slopes en route to the south face, and the face itself is basically a gigantic avalanche slope. We found a reasonable gully and swam our way up it onto the face. From the bottom of the face all the way to the ridge the snow we encountered was about an inch of crust and then sugar to the ground. I wouldn't say it would never slide, but it does appear unlikely since there's no reactivity or propagation. It does suck super hard to climb though, and there's hundreds of feet of this trashy snow. Our snowshoes were more for traction and smashing a good hole in the crust to swim up than flotation, because there was no floating on this junk. As we neared the ridge we left our snowshoes behind and booted to the summit, which was a lot more pleasant staying on rock as much as possible. We did not use microspikes, crampons, or ice axe for the ascent, but did put spikes on for the ridge traverse to Blanca. Some form of traction would likely be useful if booting back down the face. 
11 1
Route: Blanca and Ellingwood
Posted On: 2020-10-14, By: Piotr
Info: Totally dry. The path below ridge to Ellingwood from Blanca is very well marked with cairns. The only part that is class 3 is downclimb into White Gully. 

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