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Mt. Elbert  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-08-29  Southwest Ridge over Bull Hill  This is a visual report of the middle Sawatch from driving by and hiking 13ers today. Elbert, Massive and La Plata have snow above 14,000‘ on all aspects. Standard route on Huron looked dry. 14ers to south (Belf/Ox/Mo, Collegiates) looked dry from western aspects but I was rather far away so not 100% certain. All Sawatch 13ers are dry. Typical summer weather pattern today, clouds building around noon, rain starting at 4pm. TravelingMatt   2014-08-29  0     Edit Delete 
2014-08-28  East Ridge  Snow fell above 12k on Elbert. As of yesterday afternoon, there was a couple of inches all over the mountain, but Northern aspects received more (as I saw once I was on top). There starts to be patches of snow on the trail from 12k up, but nothing too much (maybe 3" in spots) and given the gentle nature of the route, traction not needed, especially if warming continues as expected. South Elbert entire east face was covered with same light snow. nyker   2014-08-29  0     Edit Delete 
2014-08-19  Southeast Ridge  Started from Mt. Elbert Lodge at 0530, reached treeline about 0830, top of ridge about 0930. The route up the side of the ridge is incredibly steep. There is water at multiple places up the side of the ridge, which came in handy on the way back down (purification required). The route on the top of the ridge is pretty difficult to see, so plan to take your time wayfinding. We skirted the edge of two storms as we made our way over South Elbert and up to the summit, arriving at 1230. Conditions were clear, with storms to the northwest. Several people were at the top, having hiked the northern routes, which they reported as much easier. The Black Cloud Trail is definitely the hard way up Mt. Elbert. The way back down is quite a bit faster, but is really, really challenging to keep your footing. On the way down the side of the ridge, we were on all fours, backing down in several spots to keep from sliding off the trail. Trekking poles are highly recommended, I wish I‘d had some. My partner did and used them to great advantage. We reached the Lodge by 1800. Overall, a great route, but really challenging for beginners like us. andersonjc   2014-08-22 8     Edit Delete 
2014-08-16  Northeast Ridge  Parking lot was full by 7:30am. It was 37 degrees in the morning and around 60 degrees higher up. Dry trail all the way up. No Mosquitos but they don‘t tend to bother me much. Mild breeze above tree line. Clouds but no rain. Trail was busy. More congestion near the top. Perfect day to do our first hike on a 14er. Memetke   2014-08-17  0     Edit Delete 
2014-07-20  Northeast Ridge  A perfect day on Colorado‘s highest peak. Temperatures held between 45 and 60 F at all elevations. No snow present on trail from base to summit, though some patches remain to the sides of the path. As others have noted, mosquitoes are in full force up to (and even just beyond) the tree line, so repellant or long sleeves/zip-off pants may be recommended. Minimal wind on the final 2,000 feet of the ascent. It‘s Elbert in July, so crowds were heavy. Lots of passing, some rockfall loosed by other hikers on steepest portions of the trail. Largest crowds were on summit between 11:30 and 12. Afternoon storms came in on cue at 2pm. LaramieCowboy   2014-07-21 4     Edit Delete 
2014-07-11  Northeast Ridge  Wonderful morning on Mt. Elbert. with blue skies. (rain and mild thunderstorms rolled through in the pm) Trail was in full summer conditions. Below treeline, there was a bit of mud in sections from recent rains, but after treeline everything was nice and dry. Mosquitos were a problem on this trail until you reach about 13,000 ft. They were swarming us around treeline. No stopping on trail or hundreds will land on you. Summit was nice with minimal wind. Terraphilia   2014-07-12 1     Edit Delete 
2014-07-07  East Ridge  My first 14er. Let me know if there‘s any other info I should add. start: 0730, summit 1030, descent 11, return 1230 Ascended via the 4WD trailhead. We were in a jeep but there were some subarus at the trailhead as well. Nothing too difficult and the stream is only about 6" deep as others have said. There are a lot of bugs for the first two miles or so. Above the treeline the trail is braided but abundantly clear to the summit. At about 13000‘ there is a snowfield about 10 yards long. It was well postholed last week, and probably pretty small by now. JeremiahJohnson   2014-07-15 4     Edit Delete 
2014-07-05  Northeast Ridge  Camped at the Elbert creek campground overnight. Started the NE Ridge trail at 5:45 am. Virtually no snow anywhere on the trail, but a lot of bugs below treeline. Above treeline, winds were surprisingly calm (sustained winds, may be around 15 - 20 mph). The pitch above 13500‘ (approx.) is very steep and consists of sand and loose scree, until you get to about 14000‘. Many people opted to hop up the boulder field at this point instead of going up the scree. While there‘s still ~440‘ left to climb, it is mostly on good trail. arvind_ravi   2014-07-07  0     Edit Delete 
2014-07-05  Northeast Ridge  I climbed the Northeast ridge on Saturday 7/5... started a little later at 6:30 and got one of the last spots in the trail-head parking lot. The dirt road is in great condition, but still be careful with other cars around so as not to get your windshield cracked from flying rocks. There is a significant portion of the hike (a good 2+ miles) below treeline, where the bugs are very prevalent and bite a lot - I would recommend bug spray. Once you get out of treeline there are a few false summits, but just keep pushing through. There is about a 1/2-3/4mi section of pure loose rock that is steep and slippery. Be careful and take your time - especially going down. I was not expecting this steep, slippery loose rock on the class 1. However, apart from that section it‘s just a good, decent climb. Once you get past that part there‘s another section up to the summit. E_A_Marcus_949   2014-07-07  0     Edit Delete 
2014-06-28  Southeast Ridge  Did South Elbert and Elbert via the Southeast ridge on Saturday (6/28/14). Initially planned on camping and summiting on Sunday, but the weather was so nice that I decided for a late summit attempt (left my campsite near treeline at 1PM. Hap the ridge and both summits completely to myself. Trail all the way up to the ridge is completely free of snow, and there are many snow patches along the ridge which are all 100% avoidable. BagginPeaks   2014-06-29 4  3 2  Edit Delete 
2014-06-21  Box Creek Couloirs  Climbed Elbert this morning via the NE ridge to box creek. Only two of the couloirs (on the north end) are still in to the top. No boot pack to be found. I started up at 715 on hard nevè but by 745 was sinking down to my knees. I elected to traverse north across the snow and rejoin the NE ridge trail, which I climbed up to and met at around 13,600. It was a warm night camping last night and overcast when I woke up at 2, so I imagine that combined with the dust layers is what weakened the snow. Given current temps, I don‘t think these couloirs will be in for more than a few days. Tim A   2014-06-21 1     Edit Delete 
2014-06-19  Northeast Ridge  A repeat of what ekviatnie said on 6/07, except the final snowfields are smaller now. No winter equipment needed. The bridge over the creek at the beginning of the trail is washed out, but crossing is still fairly straightforward. With the exception of the summit, the trail is well marked and in good shape. The only problem I heard was another group of hikers turned right onto the Colorado Trail instead of left towards Elbert at the very beginning. Read the signage and know your route, I guess... Weather was in the low 40s but gusty at times, not a cloud in the sky, and still an awesome hike. Saw a lot of people underestimating the 4700‘ vertical climb, watch out for the giant false summit when you clear the trees. It‘s a Thursday in mid June and there were about 60 people attempting a summit that I saw. Here we go. Jonpulliaminc   2014-06-19 8     Edit Delete 
2014-06-14  Southeast Ridge  Started at the Black Cloud trailhead at 6am - no snow until past treelike, and then only two or three patches. I saw a few postholes from previous hikers, but was able to stay on top of the snow easily for the few feet until the other side. Once at the ridge, the route to Cosgriff and South Elbert was mostly clear of snow (pic 1). There was enough snow on the trail between South Elbert and Mt. Elbert to make me glad I had microspikes in my pack, although a few other people did it without (pic 2). The snow was very solid before noon and I did very little postholing. On the way back I tried the ridge over to Bull Hill, but the snow was very soft and unstable, and between the freshening winds on the NW side of the ridge and the poor snow on the SE side, I decided to abort the trip to Bull Hill. I dropped into the drainage between Bull Hill and South Elbert and picked up the trail there. Roach‘s fourteeners book lists two variants of the SE ridge - one to Bull Hill via the Fidelity mine (10R3 V2) and one up the drainage I mentioned above (10R3 V1). I was able to find the trail to the Fidelity mine, but it disappears after a few yards. I tried to pick it up for a little while, but was unable to, and apparently others have also tried, as there is a big X made from tree limbs at the start. The trail down the drainage I was unable to find when starting from the top, although the snowfields still remaining made some detours from the predicted route unavoidable. I would conclude that the first route to the mine is gone, and the second might be the same. I would caution anyone trying to add these to your loop route. Gregg-G   2014-06-15 2     Edit Delete 
2014-06-13  East Ridge  For anyone wanting updated Elbert conditions, here you go. Some snow in the upper part of the trees but clear on the trail. At 12,400ft the snow starts to cover some of the trail but you can move around it. I stayed on the snow since it was solid. Once above 13,000ft there was more snow than rock. I stayed on the snow to the summit from this point again because it was solid and super easy to move on. You can stay to the right in the picture below and avoid some snow close to the top. I didn‘t use traction or an axe. To top of the experience I got to the trail head and realized I had left my hiking shoes at home. I did the hike in my Tour master Solution 2.0 motorcycle boots. They are waterproof and insulated. I wont do this again but they felt great! The summit was snow covered. myfeetrock   2014-06-14 7     Edit Delete 
2014-06-08  Southeast Ridge  Plenty of snow fields to make your way through above 13k feet. Trail is pretty much smooth sailing up to there, however. On and off white-out conditions throughout the day. A storm finally rolled in to stay around 12:30. Coming down from the top visibility was about 10ft due to white-out. Would have been terrifying if the route down this mountain wasn‘t so straight-forward. 4WD trailhead is easily accessible with moderate clearance (your WRX won‘t make it). I was able to leave my truck in 2wd the whole time. pdenman33   2014-06-09 3     Edit Delete 
2014-06-07  Northeast Ridge  No snow below about 11,000 feet. Between 11,000 feet and tree-line, there are multiple stacks of snow that have seen significant foot-traffic and can easily be crossed. Above tree-line, there is minimal snow on the trail until the final 200 vertical feet. I ran the trail in shorts and running shoes. No traction or flotation devices needed. ekviatnie   2014-06-08  0     Edit Delete 
2014-06-01  Northeast Ridge  Started from the Halfmoon Creek TH at 2000 on Sat. Hiked for about an hour; moderate snow and ice on trail in sparse places. Camped out that night in an opening. Didn‘t get very cold and had moderate rain. Continued on trail the next morning at 0630. No snow to worry about up to the large clearing just below the treeline. At this point forward until the treeline there is miserable post-holing up to my waist. The season has clearly begun since there were upwards of 20 people on the trail that day. After the treeline, conditions were great all the way to the top. Outstanding first 14er!! Sean2017   2014-06-01  0     Edit Delete 
2014-05-29  East Ridge  Hiked to summit via the lower S. Elbert TH, walked 4WD Road up and CT/CDT down. No snow at all on the 4WD road or CT/CDT up to Mt. Elbert Trail junction. Be prepared for quite a bit of snow and lots of postholing unless you get done REALLY early. Probably unavoidable. Below treeline, there are just a few patches of snow and most of the trail is dry. I postholed lots on these few patches on the way down. Above treeline, there were quite a few tracks through a 60% snow-covered route to the summit. Snow conditions were great for my hike up and down on the upper mountain, but I was headed down about 11am. skibumblake   2014-05-29  0     Edit Delete 
2014-05-25  Northeast Ridge  Headed up from the standard trailhead off Halfmoon Rd at 6:15am today (5/25), trail running shoes and tights, no traction and no flotation. Snow is patchy and VERY wet below 11000ft due to off and on rain the past few days. There is a pretty stomped in trench at this point, but expect damp feet and some slippery terrain. From 11000ft up the trail slowly becomes more snow packed, but a decent trench is getting dug in. From 11400ft-12000ft nearly 80%+ snow cover some stable enough to walk on top of, but I was postholing every 5-7 steps. Once at treeline the snow coverage is very thin, but there were a couple inches of new snow this AM, should melt away soon. I turned around at 12800ft due to zero visibility clouds and new snow covering the trail. Traction not necessary, snowshoes would be helpful for the section from 11400-12000, but otherwise a burden. Skis would be useless, unless you want to lug them all the way up to ski the box couliers. I dug a nice trench below 114000ft and tracked out a good line from there to treeline, so follow my tracks and you\‘ll make it up. A few other parties were heading up later in the day, not sure if they made it, all were below 11000ft. Gaiters and/or tights a necessity for the snow and postholing. Photo #1: Snow starting to overtake the trail at 11400ft. Photo #2: My postholing track through the deep snow. Photo #3: View from treeline up, mostly snow free, especially after the new dusting melts. thebeave7   2014-05-25 3  2  Edit Delete 
2014-05-13  East Ridge  Pulled off part way up 4wd road. Ankle to knee deep snow from trailhead to summit. Trench is in. Was sloppy in the afternoon, so start early. This was right after the fresh snow though, so not sure how it is now. Snowshoes a necessity, did not use spikes. cmohseni   2014-05-16 4  2    Edit Delete 

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