Ellingwood Point 14,042′ South Face 3/28/2015

It’s always good to go for it. After heading around the state doing some sales it was time for some skiing. I’ve been itching to get on some big peaks for a while now and I’m finally feeling better after getting struck down by the flu for almost 3 weeks. Met up with YC and we headed down in his Taco. Blanca Road is a tough beast and with not so great shocks we didn’t make it very far up the road. We had an hour and a half walk on dirt before we hit the snow in the gulch. The original plan was to go for Little Bear and Ellingwood but with so much vertical added in and YC coming off the couch and getting better from the flu too we opted for just the one peak. It turned out to be a wise choice.

We made it to Lake Como before one of the groups up there was awake. We then caught up with a lone climber heading for Blanca right as we got to the site of me and Joe’s snow cave site. It was a trip seeing that. It brought back a flood of memories, mostly being colder than I care to ever be again. Lessons learned and survived are the best lessons.

I dropped the rope, gear and harness at the base of Ellingwood’s South Face and up we went. It was a little later than I would have preferred but by stay on the more southwesterly snow we made good safe progress upwards. There had been about a foot of new accumulation up there that had compacted down to 6″. This wasn’t bonding very well with the older spring type surface. We needed to deal with this but by staying on the southwesterly aspects we could deal with it while skiing instead of while ascending.

The summit ski was very boney. I made a turn right off the summit and hit like 5 rocks. Then I side stepped a bunch and made another turn. I hit like 8 rocks on that one. More side stepping brought me back to the line and good snow. I put in a quick cut and got all the new snow to slide off. The bed surface skied very well. We then yo-yo’d down the line from safe zone to safe zone. There was still potential for snow from above to start moving on it’s own.

The exit out of that drainage is always painful. It’s especially painful when you go past you shoes that you stashed and have to go back up the road to find them. The long walk back to the desert was a challenge. 13 miles roundtrip and 6300′ of vertical for the day. I’d say that I’m ready for the spring. I’m looking forward to many more big lines this year.

Thanks for a great tour YC. Lets get out again soon.

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