Route: South Face
Team: Christy, Ted
After coming off our big push in the Sawatch the weekend prior, we wanted to check out the Sangres. There was enough snow down there still to ski, but it was going fast.
We made the drive to towards Alamosa and then up the horrendous Como Lake Road to a reasonable stopping point, which always seems to change as I can never quite remember if the worst part of the road is just behind us or still to come. We mounted the beastly packs on our backs, complete with skis, ski boots in the bindings, all the camping gear and headed up to the lake to camp.
Just walking that road is hard. Getting to the lake, for me, has often been more work than summiting the peaks themselves, maybe we always seem to have huge packs on, maybe I just let it get the best of me— whatever the reason, we were both happy to get up and pitch the tent before dark.
The starry night guaranteed the snow was good and frozen. Most of the morning approach is spent in the shade as the basin doesn’t catch the suns rays until well into morning. The snow was a bit suncupped, when we switched to crampons the cups were like steps that led all the way to the top. After being duped by the false summit, we took ten minutes on top, met a solo hiker who was also heading to Blanca Peak, our next goal today. With some creative traverses and kick turns we were off the summit, smearing the sun cups down towards the bottom of Ellingwood’s south side, where we traversed to the base of Blanca.
Skis went back on the pack, crampons put on again and we were off to Blanca, the second summit of the day.