|Peak:||Mt. Elbert (14er)|
|Date of Information:||02/05/2013|
Climbed Mt. Elbert today via the East Ridge. My only other experience with 14ers is Yale (which I came within 1/4mi or so of summiting) and La Plata Peak (got just a ways past the treeline), but I‘d venture to say Elbert‘s East Ridge today was about as "easy" as climbing a 14er gets.
Thanks to a party that was out there a few days ago, the trail is well broken below the treeline, and above it there isn‘t much snow at all. I used my microspikes (for the first time) and was really impressed with them. But the point is I‘d say you don‘t need them, but if you have them, they‘re so easy to bring that I‘d do it. They didn‘t cause me any grief.
I made way better time than I had budgeted for, but then again I am stubborn and often push myself harder than I should. I started from the 4wd trailhead. 4h1m to summit including a 20 minute stop for sunrise photos. 1h31m to descend. Spent about 45m on the summit. Total RT including stops 6h21m. 8.18m RT.
I lost the trail during the last 1000 vertical feet or so, but it was easy enough to make my own switches to the summit (regained the trail shortly before it). On the way down I followed the trail that I regained on the way up. It would have been less work to have gone up that way, but not having done so wasn‘t horrible. Other than that stretch I found the trail pretty easy to follow, and the ridge is pretty forgiving (IMHO) if you go off trial, so long as you know where you‘re trying to go.
I don‘t have much experience with avalanche stuffs, but I didn‘t see anything that appeared to pose a threat.
Couldn‘t find the summit register.
Look for my detailed trailhead report, too, if you‘re into that.
The attached route map shows the GPX from 14ers.com (green) and my route (blue). The upper split of my route towards the summit is how I went up, the lower split that more follows the green route is how I came down.
Photos (click for slideshow):