|Tour de Blanca Massif-|
The Blanca Massif has a bit of a checkered past in my mountaineering history. The summits of these peaks have eluded me since my first attempt back in 2003. In August of 2003, I attempted to climb Blanca but was turned back about 300 feet blow the summit because my dog almost got hit with loose rock several times and I decided it wasn't worth it (in retrospect, I should have left him at home). To make matters worse, search and rescue enlisted my help in carrying a body off of the base of Little Bear. When I finally returned last year in late April, I made a summit bid on Little Bear but was turned back just below the Hourglass because of unfavorable snow conditions. When I once again began the long slog up the Lake Como Road, I was hoping that the third time would be a charm.
I made it to Lake Como in the early afternoon of Sunday July 1 and set up camp on the south side of the lake. I had forgotten just how stunning the scenery in this area was. It almost made the road up there worth it.
I wanted to try and hit all three peaks in one go. I did not want to have to come up that road again anytime soon. On Monday July 2, I left my campsite just after 5:15am and headed to the base of Little Bear's Northwest Face.
I owe TMathews a special thanks as his .gpx and detailed description of the NW Face of Little Bear and the traverse to Blanca were invaluable.
My wife has insisted I mention that I climb pretty fast so don't assume that you'd also climb the NW Face or complete the traverse in 2 hours. These are definitely places that you don't want to be caught in a storm, so build in a bit of a time cushion.
My GPS Tracks/Waypoints on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):