August 9, 2020 - Climbing Little Bear, Blanca, and Ellingwood Point in a Day - Colorado
My 16-and-a-half hour day began at 3 a.m with a 6-mile hike and 3000' climb up the rocky road (at right) to reach Lake Como (below) in the basin surrounded by Little Bear Peak (14,345'), Blanca Peak (14,037'), and Ellingwood Point (14,042').
After a bit of celebration for reaching the top of one of the more challenging 14ers in Colorado, Michael, Erin, and I continued on to climb across the mile-and-a-half ridge to the summit of Blanca Peak (See photos) where Erin would achieve her 49th 14er summit and Michael would achieve his 58th and final Colorado 14er summit.
With two summits climbed by noon and fair weather still to the west, I bid adieu to my friends and made a direct line toward Ellingwood Point. Without much of a plan I cut straight down the slope over precarious talus to reach braided trails up the south slope of the third peak of the day. The sun and the long day slowed me a bit, but my beat-up feet earned a rest atop Ellingwood Peak by 2:30 p.m., where I took a much neeed rest before beginning the long descent back to the car, eight miles and 6000' feet below in the valley.
A straight line down from the top of Blanca (above) through slopes of talus was my route.
A look back at the Little Bear-Blanca traverse from atop Ellingwood Point (above).
Reaching the start of the climb up to Little Bear at 6:15 a.m., I tagged along with a group of five people from Denver - Michael, Erin, Allison, Jeremy, and Daniel.
We moved up the initial talus-filled gully to reach the ridge that would lead us up to the crux of the climb - a couloir called the "Hourglass", a narrow bowling alley renouned for its treacherous rock fall.
Since we were close to the first people up the mountain for the morning, potentially hazardous flying rocks did not present a problem as we efficiently moved up through the Hourglass to reach the summit by 8:30.
Looking up the slope of Ellingwood Point (above).
The rocky trail back.
At the end of the day - I was more than sore and tired - but very satisfied for punching out a lot of miles and a lot of vertical to achieve a worthwhile triple crown.