Ascent of Mount Elbert on 2010-08-31

Climber: Eric Noel

Date:Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Mount Elbert
    Elevation:14433 ft / 4399 m

Ascent Trip Report

I've noticed a tendency among certain people to talk down about some mountains that are easy. Two of these peaks are Whitney and Elbert which are both widely scorned because for such major peaks as the high point of the Rockies and the high point of the Sierra Nevada and lower 48 states they are deemed to easy given their summit trails. It is true that they are easy but when I hiked Whitney I found it to be a very pretty easy with sheer rocky walls and beautiful lakes and so it exceeded my expectations. I hoped for the same on Elbert but alas this was a rather unexciting mtn. Basically it is just a big talus pile and while I have done many less pleasant mtns, it certainly was not one of the best.

I arrived after dark the night before and found the 2WD parking lot for my desired TH. I was surprised that no one was home given that I had heard how mobbed this peak would be. I looked at the signed 4WD road which summitpost said was passable to high clearance vehicles. I decided to drive the road in the dark. This was questionable and it got fairly rough. I finally turned back at about 10,200' and awkwardly turned around which was tricky in the dark. I parked and slept in my vehicle.

Sadly I once again lacked the discipline to do anything but hit the snooze button in the morning. I watched as one car came past and finally I got rolling at 7AM. There was a couple and then a solo hiker that they had hooked up with and I quickly passed them. I walked the road and the hiked the trail. That's really all there was to it. I made good time but slowed a bit as I began to feel the elevation up high. It was also quite cool and very windy as I was hiking in my pant legs with hat, gloves and multiple torso layers on which those who have hiked with me know is fairly rare. But the wind was really blowing and it was cold. In the end, I made it to the top. Signed the register, chilled, and then headed down. The descent was fairly uneventful except for stumbling upon one hiker who discovered that she had gone down the wrong trail and needed to traverse to get back to the North trail. She set off and that was that. I made good time down and got to my car with enough time that my plan of tagging Evans was viable. And so I did.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4313 ft / 1314 m
    Extra Gain:40 ft / 12 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:South Elbert Trail
    Trailhead:South Elbert 4WD Road  10200 ft / 3108 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Very Windy, Clear

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