Blanca Peak Attempt

Linnea and I really wanted to get in another 14er before the end of the year, so on the 22nd we made our way down to the Sangre de Cristo Range for a short outing before Christmas and an attempt of Blanca Peak (14,345′). I always have the urge to get outside this time of year as winter is finally rolling in. Also, it was 3 years ago since I proposed to Linnea on Hurricane Ridge.
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I was really curious to get a glimpse of the Sangres and it was nice to see another part of Colorado. We made our way up the notorious Lake Como 4×4 road to about 8,800′. We probably could have driven up slightly further, but I did not feel a strong desire to put on the chains and risk tearing up the truck. From there, we made the 4 mile slog to Lake Como (11,750′), where we set up a quick base camp in the dark. It was a pretty cold night but a lot worse at 6am in the morning when we broke camp for the peak.
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Our original plan was to take our skis, skin up and ski down but this changed once we saw the snow-pack (2 feet of snow on top of rock, with no base). Not enough to ski but just enough to make the hiking miserable. We followed some other hikers’ tracks up a while and then broke trail above Blue Lakes to just below Crater lake (12,700′). At this point we decided to scrap the peak due to major boot malfunctions and consequentially my frozen feet. I should have just brought in my ski boots since my old REI hiking boots handed down by one of the Butler’s were long frozen over and wet inside from breaking through a frozen stream or bog. I’m pretty sure we could have made it to the summit but was less sure that I would make it down with all my toes.
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On our way out, the sun pushed through and we were left with a nice view of Ellingwood Point and Little Bear.
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We’re looking forward to coming back and knocking these 3 peaks out, probably next summer. It was pretty disappointing not to make the summit but nice to still have all my toes.
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