View Full Version : Blanca

July 4th, 2006, 06:52 AM
went an ran the trail sat an sun,good,lot of hikers,spent the nite up there sat,had hale,rain some sun,got kinda cold,some nice rubricons from kansas,left sun morn,met the search an rescue down the bottom,said going up to find somebody that fell climbing little bear,hopully not,but well sell havent heard anything yet,drove up to taylor an did taylor pass came across independance pass,great views,got in last nite.

July 4th, 2006, 11:12 PM
We headed up on Saturday with Trailrunner, but got separated in Pueblo during a stop at Cracker Barrel :)

At any rate, it was a great trip as usual and fantastic camping. I was able to take four people and all of our gear for three days (including two tents, four rather large sleeping bags, food, etc- in a SWB Wrangler! Never would have thought we could do it, but it wasn't bad at all. Didn't do Jaws3, as we were simply too loaded and too top heavy.

It started raining pretty hard around 4PM on Sunday, and settled into a slow rain all night long. We were able to get a good fire going, stayed warm and dry, and woke to partly cloudy skies on Monday. Also caught and released over a dozen trout, but kept two nice ones for breakfast Monday. Rain started falling off and on all day Monday, making the trip down a bit treacherous. No breakdowns, however BadCanyon had a friend coming up from Phoenix with an extreme Scout who busted an axle on Jaws 3- so we never did see them all weekend. Hopefully they got it fixed and were able to move on to Carnage in BV on Monday.

Yes- the climber perished on the NW face of Little Bear on Sunday- it was a tragic accident that simply was the result of bad luck (the NW face of Little Bear is possibly the most difficult climb of the three peaks). He was with a group of three that came out from Wichita KS- and they were experienced climbers. They had a VERY nice LWB Rubicon up at Como. Fortunately, there was already a SAR member in the area at the time, climbing Blanca. Once he got word on the radio, he scooted VERY fast over to Little Bear to help out with the extraction and get the others off the mountain. A nasty sleet/hail/rainstorm moved in during the extraction, really slowing things down. All throughout the process, there were multiple rockslides on Little Bear, causing mucho angst for all. They were able to get the deceased down to the scree field at the base of Little Bear where a SAR team from Alamosa took over. The SAR climber already on the mountain had a killer YJ crawler, and maneuvered his jeep as close to the recovery as possible to speed getting everyone off the mountain in the cold and wet conditions. He really was a great guy- we watched him repel down a treacherous 75 ft notch with the deceased strapped to his front. I can't imagine what kind of strength and guts that takes. All the SAR team were most professional and experienced folks- we watched in awe as they all did what they do best, all the time risking their own lives to help others.

Great trip, but somewhat blunted by the death above Como. Not only was an experienced climber lost this weekend, but apparently he was also a fellow jeeper. Our hearts go out to his family and friends for their loss.

No pictures yet- I didn't have my digital but my buddy did.

July 5th, 2006, 06:18 AM
SORRY ABOUT THE GUY FROM KS,the are bunch of good guys.

July 5th, 2006, 05:59 PM
Reid, I wish I could have made up to Como lake Sunday and camped with you guys but SSII came down with a case of Dana 60 trail disaster on Jaws 3.
After limping back down the moutain we fixed it the next morning and ran Chinamens Gulch and then walked :shrug: Carnage.....man that's one hell of a trail...not for me!! Monday we ran Iron chest and did some hiking. Great weekend!
Next year I'll get up to Blanca with you......I can't help it that my buddy's Scout is always a work in progress.......Right Rick?

My condolences to the climbers family:(

July 5th, 2006, 06:50 PM
Hey Jim- there's always a 4th of July, seems like just around the corner!

So you guys didn't run Carnage eh? I'll bet it was quite a deal more difficult with the rain. I would think SSII's Scout would have had no trouble at all- but it does get a bit skinny in spots. :D :D :D

Jaws 4 is getting to be more and more narly when it's all muddy, like it was. Richard did a number on one of his front lower control arm mounts, and I clearanced by skid some more- not sure if the skid will last one more season!

Let's do Holy Cross or something later this month!!

July 5th, 2006, 08:49 PM
Wow, That explains to me now why the guy with the Limited Rubi and the other guy was so bummed out. I Do not blame them at all for being very upset. It did seem to me that there was something else going on with them other than the trail.
I really feel bad for them.

Yes I had a stub axle break due to fatigue. It was in there from the beginning and had held up to 2 previous axle snaps. It almost held up to the 3rd axle snap as the inner is twisted too. It is all 35 spline stuff.
We did run past the filter on Carnage and then turned around. I just couldn't get Jimmy to get his Jeep anywhere next to that trail. Besides that, I had just welded my broken spring together and believe it or not, it is still holding. I would have thought the run up and back in Carnage and the run up Iron Chest surely would have made it fail. It broke where I bent it about 3 years ago in Moab.
I did get high centered up on Chinaman though. My rig just doesn't have 6 ft long legs. Great time though.

Jim, wait till you make it to Phoenix and you will see that Carnage is EASY compared to what is here. I still can't believe some of the trails down here.
Carnage though is a VERY NICE looking trail.

July 6th, 2006, 09:19 AM
SSII, I was the guy in the green TJ with the busted front axle shaft. Thanks for helping us down. The guy in the Black Unlimited Rubicon was part of the party that deceased on the mountain. My wife and I camped next to those guys and were standing with him when the call for help came over the radio. We operated as base camp in trying to get ahold of search and rescue and any other climbers up on the mountain that could render aid. That was a bad deal. Dont think I have ever felt like that in my life. I broke my front axle on Jaws 4 trying to make it there to pick up the kid of one of the rescuers. Got alittle tricky coming down Blanca in rear wheel drive.
We stayed with the black rubicon until the sheriff and victims unit met up with us in Alamosa. It was a bad deal guys.
I dont ever want to experience something like that again...
God bless those guys, they were all long time friends...

July 6th, 2006, 09:22 AM
Calypso, if you could, email me the pictures when you get them,

July 6th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Hey Killerx,

Thanks for trying to get up the trail to pick up my son and taking my dad with you. It gave us peace of mind to know that someone was going after him even if you didn't make it, we could focus on the rescue/recovery operation.

The SAR guy in the built TJ who was up there was Jess C. We rode up with him 5 years ago when we climbed Blanca. He and a buddy used my rope & gear to rescue a guy off LB. That guy got hit by a large rock dislodged by his brother right above him and rolled 200ft down & stopped above a cliff. He survived. That rope of mine still has a blood stain on it and is about to be retired.
This trip, Jess happened to catch up with us as we were crossing Jaws 2.5. My wife recognized him. He was heading up Blanca, we were heading up LB. We got the call from the lake and sent our son down. Jess joined us at the bottom of the black hand, but didn't have any gear with him. He ended up putting on my wife's harness & she wore my son's. Clarification: Jess didn't rappel off the black streak with the body, we lowered him (them) from above. The drop was too long for rappelling on normal length ropes. We had to lower him to a ledge and then switch belayers so we could pass the knot tying two ropes together without taking him off belay. It was challenging for me to manage all of the rope situations when I don't practice that type of operation on a regular basis, and every pitch is different. Yes, Jess is a great guy.

I was amazed at the strength of the two climbers (names withheld) who lost their friend. Their composure in the situation was beyond admirable. We hope to climb with them someday under better circumstances.

July 6th, 2006, 04:32 PM
86Original. No problem on trying to get to your son. He was really worried about you guys, I am glad your parents were there for him..I am glad everyone else made it down ok. I was worried for you guys when I saw the weather moving in. It was quite a challenge coming down blanca with out front wheel drive but I knew I had to start early to get off or I would end up being a hinderance to you guys.
Your parents were nice folks. It was amazing how everything worked out to help out those guys when the accident happened. I talked to you a couple of times on the radio.
God bless all of you guys...

July 6th, 2006, 07:44 PM
Killerx, I really wish you guys would have said something about the situation that you guys were going through. We wouldn't have been so abrasive. As you can tell, we are somewhat abrasive to each other. All in good fun though.
As a former Firefighter in N. Id and Montana, I have been in situations like the incident in Blanca and my Wife was a hospice Nurse and is an ICU nurse. We have dealt with difficult situations as you guys have gone though and would have gladly given an ear for your wife to talk too.
I really hope you all are not turned off to the outdoor activities and will come back again sometime. There is some other great trails there in Colorado that I am sure you would enjoy that are not near as stressful as Blanca.

July 11th, 2006, 12:08 PM
BTW, my run up there was proof that the road could be done with a 4cyl IFS on 32" tires w/o winching. Helps to be locked f/r, armored, & T/C geared, and have a spare idler arm & tools along.