Ellingwood Point

 South Face
Difficulty Difficult Class 2 
Ski/Board: Advanced, D9 / R3 / IV  
Risk FactorsExposure: Considerable
Rockfall Potential: Considerable  
Route-Finding: Considerable  
Commitment: Moderate  
Start8,000 feet
Summit14,057 feet
Total Gain6,200 feet
2,450 feet (starting at Lake Como)
RT Length17 miles if you start at the bottom (8,000')
6 miles if you start near Lake Como
SheriffAlamosa: 719-589-6608
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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From Colorado 160, east of Alamosa, turn north onto Colorado 150 toward Great Sand Dunes National Park. Drive over 3 miles and turn right onto Lake Como road (aka Blanca Peak road). The type of vehicle you are driving will determine how high you can park. Most cars can drive about 1.5 miles up before it gets rough. 4WD SUVs and trucks can slowly make it 3.25 miles to several pull-offs at 8,800', before the road turns nasty. This is a popular parking spot and gets you within 4 miles of Lake Como. If you have a high-clearance, small, 4WD vehicle you might be able to drive to 10,000' but you'll find very few places to park. An ATV, UTV or modified jeep/crawler can get to Lake Como, depending on the driver.


1 is a distant view of the route. Hike up the nasty Lake Como/Blanca Peak road to reach Lake Como at 11,750'. Following the road, continue around the lake ( 2) and up through more forest to reach tree line, at 12,000' - 3. Stay on the road until 12,200' where it ends near Blue Lakes then continue northeast on a trail - 4. Left of a waterfall, follow the trail as it weaves 300 feet up through talus and small ledges to reach easier terrain near a small lake. Pass the lake on the right and another on the left ( 5) to reach Crater Lake , at 12,800' - 6. Above Crater Lake, continue toward ledges near 13,000' - 7 and 8. Hike to the base of the ledges and follow cairns and a defined trail up the steep terrain. Taken from above the ledges, 9 looks back down over Crater Lake.

Continue to 13,400' and locate a trail junction where the Ellingwood trail branches off to the left. If you're having trouble finding the trail, here is a good landmark: In 10 locate a mining hole in the rocks, below the saddle. It's the one with white-colored rock piled below the entrance. Don't confuse it with a lower mining hole (down to the left) that has red rock piled below the entrance. Find the Ellingwood trail that crosses the center of the basin and turns left below the mine hole. Follow the trail onto Ellingwood's south face - 11.

Continue northwest toward the center of the south face where the trail eventually breaks down. Taken from Blanca, 12 shows the entire face. If you find yourself on Class 3 rock, you may have climbed too high too early - 13. Above 13,500', turn right and climb dirt and loose rock toward the ridge - 14. Once you reach the ridge , turn left and follow it to a false summit at 14,000' - 15. The final summit pitch is fairly obvious - 16. Drop 20 feet and climb to the summit - 17 and 18.


Ski overview, taken from Blanca: 19
Summit entry: 20
The ski: 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26


Once you leave the Blanca trail below the saddle, this route becomes steep and loose. Take your time so you don't send rocks down the slope.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 #26

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