Costilla County High Point Trip Report

Blanca Peak

Date: July 7, 2001
Author: Dave Covill

Brutal hike. You all have probably heard of the famous Lake Como approach road. People can drive 6 miles to the lake, but most drop out along the way. We made it up about 2 miles, and hiked the remaining 4 miles and ~2,700' to the lake.

After a nice camp amongst many 4WD'ers, we set out early for the summit, 2 miles and 2,700' up. You are in a high alpine basin once you leave Lake Como, and you pass by a half dozen other lakes, the highest still have much ice. Once it gets steep, it is a slog through talus guided by random cairns. At the crest of the headwall you pear over the edge into the headwaters of the Huerfano River basin to the E, down a sheer 1,000' cliff. From there it's 700' up the ridge on firm rock to the summit.

I had been here 20 years ago, and had only a few dim memories, so it was nice to return. I did look around real long & hard at the issue of where exactly does Huerfano county intersect the other two. Some would say that the county line peaks at the intersection of the N and NE ridges. The map indicates so. I personally have never believed this to be true, and that the summit was the hp of all three counties. Regardless, it is actually UNDER 100' from the summit to the ridge intersection. This intersection is also along the route one would take if coming up the standard route. There is a cairn at it's crest, and is the point one can see from the route below, sort of a tiny false summit. I would venture to say that anyone who has climbed Blanca walked by this cairn on the way up or down. Further, the ground is flat from there to the summit, not following a distinct mini-ridge line the remaining 80'+ to the true top. If the two ridges had indeed converged into one, I reckon you could say that Huerfano County had indeed run its course, but the ground is flat, easily walked, and more than 10-15' wide, from the point where the cairn sits, on across to the top, which is only about 10-15' higher as well. Perhaps a visit to the Huerfano County seat can shed some light.