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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|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.
|2016-04-23||Route: East Ridge
Info: below tree line was very slushy, used micro spikes for icy parts in the morning. the first mile above tree line was pretty hard packed but spikes were fine, occasionally would post hole to my knees. last mile or two to the summit had a lot more loose, powdery snow -- the other three hikers attempting the summit all switched to snow shoes. very windy at the top but not unbearable. Beautiful views! Storm clouds started to roll in around noon so my partner and I high tailed it down. the snow was VERY SOFT on the decent (top inch or so was pretty wet) and near treeline I started to post hole to my waist...on the hard packed super highway. I even post holed a bit after I put my snowshoes back on.
|2016-04-21||Route: East Ridge
Info: The trench is in, sort of. Variable snow conditions yesterday include the occasional posthole to 16 inches. In the morning the snow below treeline was mostly supportive (in snowshoes) and above treeline there were many longer sections of continuous postholing of 4-8 inches. I left the summit at 11:45 and was back at the car at the lower 2WD TH by 2:00. My phone died so no pics on the descent but I observed many rollerballs and point releases on steeper terrain, and the snow was getting very wet and sloppy. GO GET SOME!
|2016-04-09||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Went to summit mt elbert for my birthday on the 9th. Road to trailhead was snow packed. Had to hike 4 miles just to the trail head. Ended up camping at about 11,200 ft in the treeline due to slow going and loss of light. Trail was packed down for the most part but even with snow shoes it felt like I was post holing in waist deep about every 5 to 10 feet. I hit even deeper snow (at least 4 feet) at about 12,600 ft but carried on determined to hit the summit. By the time I hit the saddle the sun had made the snow even softer and in turn made things that much more difficult, wet, and cold. Had to turn around at about 13,400 ft. It was impossible to move on. I'd definitely wait till June maybe even July to climb elbert.
|2016-04-02||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Summited Elbert with beautiful weather on Saturday, April 2nd. South Trailhead to Summit back to Trailhead was 7 hours total. We probably spent about 85% of the time walking, 15% wearing snowshoes. Took my husky puppy as well - she had no problems summiting either. Trail is pretty packed down at this point - pending good weather, Mt. Elbert is definitely doable right now! Alex & Chris Instagram @ahaler1
|2016-03-20||Route: East Ridge
Info: Early start made for easy going through the areas near treeline where the trail is broken. I was worried it would be soft on the way down, but it was fine - my partner tried to break through off trail for a photo op and couldn't get deeper than his shins. Broke through here and there, but never used snowshoes on the way up or down (others did, but never seemed worth the effort - that may change if it softens up). It was rather slushy and slippery once into the trees on the descent. Above the trees, the snow was largely hardened enough that I didn't break through much at all. This made things easier on the ascent, but interesting on descent, as I'd be trombone down a snowfalls on my heels only to hit a hard patch and nearly go flying. Spikes and poles were quite handy to deal with this and allow a decent pace. Muddy in the afternoon lower on the trail and on the road.