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Ascent of Mount Elbert on 2008-10-02

Climber: David Foster

Date:Thursday, October 2, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Elbert
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:14433 ft / 4399 m

Ascent Trip Report

Left Boulder about 610am. At the Tunnel about 720, Leadville about 810. At parking lot about 820, as last 2-3 miles had some 2 mph potholes. From 14ers.com:" From U.S. 24 just south of Leadville, turn onto Colorado 300 and cross the railroad tracks. Drive 0.7 mile and turn left onto County Road 11 toward the Halfmoon Creek. After another 1.2 miles, turn right on the dirt road to Halfmoon Creek. Drive on the good dirt road (except for the usual washboard and potholes) for 5 miles to the Mt. Elbert trailhead on the left. There is a large parking area with restrooms."
Left at trailhead 840 summited 1147am. Feeling slow due to not hiking since July 20th, save for hikes in Banff national park, and having a cold since ~ Sept 10. Trail was very good, but climbed steeply after crossing Elbert Creek. Slight drop down to intersection. Intersection sigh was damaged saying simply "Mt. Elbert, so needed map to interpret. Trail great but climbed a constant steep grade to treeline @ 11800' Was very warm to this point, but, above treeline could see small ice clouds moving from the East. Once these hit it was really cold, with some dendritic snow. Trail quality great until 13500', when it steepened an moved slightly to the north side of the ridge, so there was some snow on the trail, ice for a few 10's of yards.

Last 200' vertical, trail nicened again. Saw one other person at the Summit, Owen, doing his 2nd 14er, Quadary the day before. Received call from Vaune at the Summit...good cell coverage with view of Leadville from treeline up.

Great view to North of Massive and South to LaPlata. But clouds came in in a couple minutes. Could still see Massive so tried to see Vaune and Terry's route up Massive.

Summit registry full and damaged. Owen took my picture,talked abit, 1 other guy came up from the "thunderbird trailhead" looking quite exhausted. He said it was 10.5miles but could drive on paved road to the TH. I have to assume he was talking about the SouthEast ridge route, starting along Hiway 82, being ~ 11miles Roundtrip.
I left at 1220 because of the cold. It started snowing hard almost immediately. Looked like graupel, but quite cold. Had some significant thunder. My left foot started hurting at about 11000 feet. Slowed down considerably. Owen caught me just before trailhead. There is actually an informal trail continuing North about 100yards from parking lot..probably going to the Mt. Massive TH.

GPS stats were 9.26miles, 4:53 moving time, 4509 ascent 4611 descent. 14ers.com said 4700, Roach, 4400. My GPS track identical to 14ers.com, quite different just beyond CO trail intersection from Roach.
Back to parking lot @ 230. Talked to Owen about his wanderings. Invited him to lunch in Leadville.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4383 ft / 1336 m
    Route:NW ridge trail, starting on CO trail
    Trailhead:North Halfmoon Trailhead  10050 ft / 3063 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Snowing
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:3 Hours 7 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 10 Minutes



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