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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-08-13||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Class 1 route mid-summer - it's exactly what you would expect. But seriously... trail is in good condition, mostly packed dirt, more rocks toward the top. Not much scree. The trail was super easy to follow, and the junctions with the Colorado Trail are clearly marked. There are a few places where people have taken shortcuts off the main trail and created "social trails" - not cool people. Please do your best to stay on the actual trail. It prevents erosion and keeps the trail from turning into a 6 foot wide highway. No snow anywhere on the route, and only a few places where there was a little bit water on the trail (again, don't walk off trail to avoid the puddles - bring proper gear to walk through them). Overall a beautiful day!
|2016-07-30||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Started at 1:30 A.M. I was the first person to summit about 45 minutes before sunrise. Easy to follow the route in the dark as long as you have a light. The route was packed on my descent around 6:30. I would recommend an early start as this is a popular peak.
|2016-07-03||Route: East Ridge
Info: Excellent summer conditions throughout the trail! The turn from the Colorado trail is clearly marked as well. No issues at all! Tons of people, lots of dogs and even a couple of bikes!
|2016-06-30||Route: East Ridge
Info: Gorgeous day on Mt. Elbert, up until we got fogged out at the summit. The East Ridge trail is in great condition, no snow on the path all the way up to the top. Beautiful views of Twin Lakes all the way up. The sky was clear as we started at 6am but cloud cover started to creep in around 10a. We reached the summit at about 1130 and you couldn't see a dang thing over the other side of the mountain! Such a bizarre experience to be on top of a mountain but only see pure whiteness in the distance. Luckily I've done Elbert before and had experienced the summit beauty but my 2 other hiking partners hadn't and I felt bad for them to get screwed on the view! That is the consequence of dealing with mother nature though, you don't always get the exact conditions that you want-- it definitely could have been worse if she decided to start storming on us at the peak! I highly recommend this route, especially if you're taking dogs. Our boxer loved every second of the climb.
|2016-06-24||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Peak conditions great. Breezy, but tolerable. 2 layers of clothing was plenty. I wore a hat and light gloves off and on up to the summit. No shoe cleats were needed for snow. Took 4 hours; 27 minutes to summit which included 3 small breaks. A little over 2 hours to descend. Weather changes quite fast, sunny with a few clouds at summit, and on our decent, we got rained on and hailed on several times. (Not enough to soak clothes though) There is no cover above the tree line. From summit to tree line, it takes about an hour moving very fast. I would also recommend sunscreen if you have visible arms/legs showing. Also use the rest room at the trailhead before starting your hike. After the tree line, there is no hiding! When you get to the rock piles, "do I have to climb this?" goes through your head... No. You can if you want as you will eventually meet the trail, but look for the trail that vears off to the right. All said and done, Amazing hike! I'm a runner of 8 years and very active, and this tested my abilities as a class 1 hike.
|2016-06-18||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Summer conditions entire way. Started at 1:30am and reached the summit around 5:30, 15 minutes before sunrise. I took 4 hours to summit and took about 4.5 hours to descend (took lots of breaks on the way down to eat and relax). Besides one other individual who left around 5:50am, I had the peak completely to myself for the entire time. Summer conditions besides some snow patches that are totally avoidable 13,00k+ and up. If you do a night hike, just be aware the snow patches can throw you off the well maintained trail around 13k, so just keep your eyes out for that. The trail is easy to find again but I still ended up off of it for about 5-10 minutes. I didn't have this issue descending in the sunlight. Summit was a bit chilly and I needed gloves and layers but I doubt they're necessary if you summit after 7am on a sunny day. Trail was pretty busy on my way down. Elbert is an "easy" hike, but you still gain over 4000', so be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Lots of people wearing flat running sneakers and without poles will definitely struggle on the descend (some parts are pretty steep and slippery).
|2016-06-17||Route: Box Creek Couloirs
Info: Skiing continuous snow in Box Creek Couloirs will have to wait till next season.
|2016-06-16||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Had a great climb up Elbert for my first 14er. The Black Cloud Trial was entirely manageable without traction with only about 30 feet of snow still to cross. There are some patches of snow on the ridges leading up to South Mt. Elbert and a few on the ridge to the true summit that were easier to hike on than the rocky ridge, so I was grateful for my micro spikes. Windy and busy day on the summit, but still managed 15 minutes of solitude.
|2016-06-15||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Conditions on the standard route almost mirror those of summer conditions. There were a couple of snowy and completely avoidable patches below treeline in the shade. One patch of snow on the main trail is avoidable ~12,700ft. There is snow on the summit, but plenty of places to sit around without snow. Above the first false summit there is a field that was excellent for glissading. The field below the first false summit was a bit too soft for glissading. It was reasonably windy, but only at the summit.
|2016-06-12||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Hiked up Elbert this morning and the conditions were perfect. As the previous reports stated there is very little snow on the route, nothing below 12,500' so snowshoes or traction wasn't needed. Started on trail at 6:15 and by the time I got to the snow it had become very soft, I sunk in to my waste in one spot but other than that most snow is avoidable and conditions are great!
|2016-06-11||Route: East Ridge
Info: Outstanding day on Elbert today. The trail is in very good condition with no snow below treeline and only a few remaining snowfields to cross up above 12k. I wore non-waterproof trail runners and felt like there was no need for traction or flotation. If you're squeamish about the snow then give it another 5 to 7 days or so and all the unavoidable snowfields should be melted enough that there will be clear paths through them. Things are melting very quickly up there with this little heat wave going on.
|2016-06-10||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Left at 4:50am, summited at 8:30. Ideal summer conditions all the way up. Solid snow on summit, slightly patchy on the ridge but not an issue - guy in our group went the whole way in La Sportiva approach shoes, rest of us boots. Got back down around noon. Weather was so perfect and wind so minimal we stayed on the summit for about an hour. Trail is 99.99% clear allllll the way up. Snow has melted so much in the past 2 weeks and all in the right places on Elbert.
|2016-06-07||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started at 4WD South Elbert TH. No snow until about 12,000 and from there it can make for some occasional post-holing if it's late in the day. Did not require flotation or traction to summit. I can see the majority of the snow melting completely in 2-3 weeks.
|2016-06-04||Route: East Ridge
Info: follow up from last week, a few patches of snow below tree line, but mostly avoidable. Above 13k snow covered most of the route. started from 4WD TH about 5:45 and snow was solid up to the summit (we were slow, got to top around 11).
|2016-05-30||Route: East Ridge
Info: East Ridge is (mostly) without snow to above tree line at around 12,200. From there, it is a hard packed, 20-40' wide highway in place all the way to the summit. East Ridge was skiable from the summit all the way to 12,200, and possibly further if you decided to get creative. But I wouldn't give it too much longer - lots of shark fins starting to pop out. Box Couloirs are in great shape with excellent coverage throughout. Saw a number of late day starts with tennis shoes, no snowshoes, and mini-day packs. Summer is coming.
|2016-05-21||Route: West Gulley
Info: Followed Forest Road 110J to the West Gulley/Couloir. Forded Halfmoon Creek in my Land Cruiser with no problem. The second creek crossing at South Halfmoon Creek was easy with exposed rocks to step on, although I still managed to dunk my foot as I found the sneaky slippery rock. As runoff ramps up over the next two weeks, both these crossings will become much more difficult. 110J was a soft breakable crust with rotten corn underneath, resulting in postholing with snowshoes, especially on the descent. If there's a hard freeze overnight, then it won't be so bad, but it'll be work if it's soft. The couloir started as a 6-8" breakable crust with a dry rotted, loose subsurface. We needed snowshoes to ascend the first 1000'. I attempted to put on crampons about 12500' and immediately punched through the surface and began postholing. My partner ascended another 200' and was able to climb with crampons from there. There was evidence of multiple slides in the couloir that were probably two or three days old, but everything appeared solid on our side. The south and east aspects from Mt. Oklahoma to Casco Peak to Bull Hill had multiple wet slides on the steeper sections. The first 2000' of the glissade was FAST, but we had to put our snowshoes back on as the pitch mellowed out and the snow got soft. I considered taking my shovel out and riding that, but didn't really have a good idea of how to juggle the shovel and my axe at the same time. Plus I'd have a hard time explaining to the wife that I got hurt shovel racing in the CO backcountry. The hike out was exhausting. It took three of us taking turns breaking trail two and a half hours to go the 2.5 miles to Halfmoon Creek.
|2016-05-11||Route: East Ridge
Info: Report summary: bring snowshoes. 4WD road clear of snow to the end. Snow is hard packed with little post holing (ankle-deep) to 13K. Well-established track all the way up. No need for traction devices (brought mine and never used them). Stashed my snowshoes at the first false summit. Big mistake! Snow turns soft and post holed the rest of the way up, ankle to knee-deep on every step. Not exactly the best way to conserve energy! Snowshoes were delicious on the way down after the snow had turned rotten and soft. Great day with clear skies early on and stormy after 11 AM, mountains got a good amount of snow but the high winds blew most of it onto Box Creek couloir (Spring in the Rockies!)
|2016-05-09||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started at the Upper South TH. Easy to follow for the first mile but fresh snow higher up made route finding gradually harder. Flotation certainly made it more enjoyable as the majority of the terrain is posthole hell, so I'd highly recommend some snowshoes. Got off trail but made it to about 12,000ft before some ominous clouds and heavier snow lead me to decide to head back. All in all a good hike even if it didn't result in a summit.
|2016-05-04||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started from 4WD trailhead at 5:30AM. Wore micro spikes for the first 2,000', then switched to snowshoes around 12,400'. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. Was able to stay in the tracks of the group of two in front of us for most of the hike, which was very helpful as this was my first time climbing Elbert and my first time doing a winter 14er. Snow was pretty well packed for most of the hike, I barely post-holed at all. Took about 5 hours to summit. We had about a half hour of intense wind around 13,000', but very little wind on the summit, which was awesome. Snowboarded down around noon, got some awesome turns in for about 3,000'/right around treeline before I stupidly got us lost in the trees. Had to put snowshoes back on and hike a half mile uphill to get back to the trail. Snow was very soft and slushy below treeline - the earlier you can get up, the better! Overall, this was my first backcountry snowboarding experience and couldn't have asked for better conditions.
|2016-04-24||Route: East Ridge
Info: Initial plan was to hike Massive in two days and camp at treeline. But, couldn't get to that trailhead due to snow on road. Instead did Elbert. 4W drive road was clear enough to get our Subaru Cross Trek all the way up. Camped at treeline on Saturday. Summited by 10AM Sunday. Windy with occasional gusts that stopped us in our tracks. Poor visibility at the summit but clear and sunny when we got back to treeline. We used snow shoes most of the hike. Below treeline slushy down low, feet dipping into snow 4-5 inches closer to treeline. I never post holed with flotation, but most of this hike would be doable without it. Above treeline variable soft snow versus firm wind drifted snow. Visible evidence of other's tracks all the way to the summit despite high winds. With storm 1 week ago there is still plenty of continuous snow coverage from ~11K feet to summit.