Ascent of Blanca Peak on 2018-07-11

Climber: Hal Watrous

Date:Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Blanca Peak
    Elevation:14345 ft / 4372 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was the fourth of five 14k Colorado peaks done together and took about 30 hours of stormy weather and thunderstorms car to car. I got a late start at about noon, with hot weather. I parked up a ways from the highway, on the very rocky road. Agree with other reports about where to start: the further you go, the worse it gets, so park wherever you feel comfortable. From there I walked to the south side of the road, which is easier for the first part until there is obvious steepness. About two hours in, thunderstorms became a problem so I set up a tent on a slope to wait it out. An hour of napping later, and I was up and gone. As I neared the lake, a light rain started but cleared by the time I arrived at the lake. Rather than tent at the lake, I decided to go past it and get as high as I could for a shorter ascent the next morning. I set up at dark and improved cliffy place to hang my food. Very few trees at this point. As the weather was dicey, I got an early start and only met 3 other parties, 5 people heading up. The route is pretty easy to find, but there were a few wet and steep parts as I navigated to the low point on the ridge. From their its a steep boulderfield scramble to the summit, with a few lower 3rd class moves near the top. I spent quality time with one other party of two and with weather turning descended quickly. With the tent pitched without shade, the midday sun was hot on me trying to rest. As I intended to take a day or two off and vegetate in Alamosa at reasonable motel lodging, I decided it was either accept the stifling heat, wait for the thunderstorms to return in afternoon. . . or hike out and head for town ! I quickly broke camp, heading down to escape the latest rainstorms. I didn't make it and got a nice warm shower the last 2 hours back. I thought the car would never appear along the road.(In fact I thought I had lost it as everything looked the same all along the road.!!) Next time: I would camp just beyond the lake in the tall trees.
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