Ascent of Mount Elbert on 2013-07-29

Climber: David Fitch

Date:Monday, July 29, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Mount Elbert
    Elevation:14433 ft / 4399 m

Ascent Trip Report

Our second climb of the Colorado peaks was Mt. Elbert. This is a popular peak and there are several routes up. The most popular is along the Northeast ridge which spreads the elevation gain over a more gentle incline. We choose the Southeast Ridge route which we found why it is not as popular.

The trailhead was difficult to locate and not identified in anyway off of the Twin Lakes road. GPS helped us to locate it the 4wd access. The trail starts out with a heavily wooded relatively gentle incline but changes soon to being much steeper. It turns into 4,000 feet of vertical gain in a steep ascent to the ridge line that goes to Elbert's summit.

Still not used to the elevations, the ascent was labored and challenging. It took us a lot longer than planned to get to the ridge line. Once we got to the ridge line, the ascent seemed easier as we seemed more acclimated and the elevation gain was only 1,000 feet.

Weather was changeable, going from cold hail and mist to open skies. We summitted to clear skies and sun but with weather approaching from the West, we stayed on the summit only 15-20 minutes. There were a number of other hikers at the summit who had done the Northeast ridge. They were a jovial crowd and were spending much more time at the summit. Given the difficulty of our route, it seemed prudent to try to be as far down the mountain as we could be before possibly severe weather set in. As it turned out, we only had a short period of wet, cold rain-no snow as forecasted-with the rest of the day turning to clear skies and warm.

The hike down was harder than expected because of the steepness. It took its toll on our feet. A day of rest was needed after Evans and Elbert.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Calm, Partly Cloudy

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