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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-06-06||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Conditions were good this morning. Trailhead at 0630 summit at 1100. Completely snow free until 11400 then some post holing on the way up (but 100x worse on the way down) until you break through the treeline. Above treeline snow was mostly avoidable until 13000ish at which point micro spikes would have been nice but we did it in boots with no problems, just slow and steady. Summit ridge was brutally windy but snow was fine. Descent snow had softened everywhere and slowed us down especially below treeline. We brought snow shoes but they were not at all helpful on the descent and would have been best left at the car... And traded for spikes... Missed the ball on that one. Overall in great condition! Get out and climb and do so nice and early. I‘ll add some pictures from my home computer later.
|2015-06-03||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Trail is snow free until about half a mile from the tree line. The snow here is soft and loose and probably the worst on the whole trail. Above tree line is mostly covered with better packed snow with some patches of rock. I used snowshoes, but probably should have used spikes instead as other hikers with spikes seemed to fare better. Ran into one other hiker with just boots. He got up just fine, but was having problems on the descent.
|2015-06-01||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Used snowshoes for a short section in the trees. Other than that we used no other traction. Snow softened in the afternoon as usual.
|2015-05-25||Route: Box Creek Couloirs
Info: Taken from the East Ridge before total whiteout. Can‘t really see it in the photo, but there‘s been recent avalanche activity. Should be sweet once it stabilizes.
|2015-05-23||Route: East Ridge
Info: Trail snow free until around 11,500‘ (or the second open meadow area) and then needed the snowshoes to treeline. Probably could have got by without snowshoes above treeline, but was easier to just leave them on all the way to the summit. Tracks re-covered pretty quickly with the incoming snow and wind above treeline, so doubt any remain to follow. More snow than my last January ascent a couple years back.
|2015-05-17||Route: East Ridge
Info: The East Ridge of Mt. Elbert is in great shape for skiing and riding. The trail from the upper SME TH along the Colorado Trail is clear. When you turn up the hill on the SME Trail, there are some patches of snow in the trees, but the path is in good shape. From 11,400‘ to all the way up the East Ridge is covered with snow. I skinned from this point up the ridge, and even made it through a wind scoured rocky section at ~12,750‘. For the ride down, the upper part of the route is hard snow from the prevailing strong winds that were hitting the peak today. At about 13,200‘, the snow got better. Walked through the wind scoured section at ~12,750‘ to avoid board damage (a careful skier could ‘billygoat‘ through this section; I chose to walk it). The snow from 12,600‘ down to 11,400‘, where the snow stops at the trees, was smooth and soft. .....and if you were wondering about the Box Creek Couloirs, they are full of snow.
|2015-05-07||Route: Box Creek Couloirs
Info: Didn‘t climb Elbert but took the following shot from the summit of Mt. Sherman. Plenty of snow on Elbert.
|2015-05-02||Route: East Ridge
Info: Nice conditions in the early morning giving way to soft, wet and mash potatoes by noon. Didn‘t use snowshoes at all on the way up but would be helpful on the soft conditions once the sun gets up and post holing can be a problem. All in all great day with just a bit of wind at the top but generally great!
|2015-04-28||Route: East Ridge
Info: Went up the East Ridge today. Didn‘t have 4wd available, so I parked at the lower trailhead and walked the road. Road is clear until very close to the upper trailhead, then it gets pretty soggy with a few spots of snow before being more or less impassable a few hundred yards from the trailhead. On the way up, microspikes were helpful, but not mandatory to the meadows, and from there on it was pretty much snow shoe or bust. Snow shoes (or skis) definitely were needed on the way down once everything started warming up and getting sloshy. The entire ridge was snow covered from the recent snow, but I don‘t expect a lot of the newer stuff to stick around too long. By the time I was coming down, a lot more rocks were already peaking through.
|2015-04-12||Route: East Ridge
Info: East ridge is still pretty much covered by snow at 80%. Wore my microspikes all day as it is very slippery below treeline on the way up and down. Trail can be easily followed until above treeline then it‘s getting complicated. Snow is melting progressively above treeline and some dry patches appear but I recommend traction as you basically walk on snow all the time. The area just above treeline is becoming a postholing nightmare after noon, I got stuck multiple times.
|2015-03-28||Route: East Ridge
Info: Great day to hike Elbert. About a dozen or so people up on the mountain. The East Ridge was mostly snow covered up to the summit, but you can follow the trail in certain areas. Snow was solid and easy to hike on. Microspikes were good enough for me, but I started postholing a little once I got below treeline on the descent. Snowshoes would be good to have later in the day.
|2015-03-22||Route: East Ridge
Info: most of the ridge is still snow-covered but with decent snow. only two sections where it‘s bare for more than a few feet. trench is really solid, though quite windblown above 13k. HIGHLY recommend skiing or boarding, I was wishing I was on AT gear. snow hasn‘t yet gotten wet/icy enough for glissading. saw some runners who managed just fine with minimal postholing...and they got from the TH to the summit and back down to 12.4 in a little over 4 hours, wouldn‘t be surprised if their total time was in the realm of 5 hours.
|2015-03-14||Route: East Ridge
Info: About as good of a day as it gets in the winter. Great trench the whole way, still mostly firm (but not icy) snow, just about perfect weather (zero wind at the summit!). Carried snowshoes, but didn‘t really need them - there were only a couple of areas of postholing along the entire way, even in the afternoon. Of course, this could change with even warmer weather forecasted for the next few days. Microspikes were useful on the final snow slope from about 13,400‘ to the summit, and also for the steeper parts through the forest just past the upper trailhead, which were hard-packed both on the way up and down. Saw a few skiers - coverage is still pretty good, the only bare spots being along the lower part of the road, and the rock band ~13K (mostly avoidable). Conditions weren‘t really good for skiing below about 11.5, though - sun crust and mush underneath. Definitely feels like spring out there!
|2015-02-20||Route: East Ridge
Info: The mountain Gods were smiling on me today. Pending storm held off long enough for me to summit. Parked at the 2wd trail head and was able to skin all the way to 13,000‘. There was only two spots on the 4wd road that are bare. The rest is packed and sun baked. Trail from the 4wd trailhead to treeline is well established. While it is packed I would recommend some type of flotation to avoid post holing. Snow is 3‘ deep in spots. Above 13,000‘ the East ridge is wind blown and you can pretty much follow the summer trail. No flotation or traction required, only will power and the desire to summit. Overall all it was an excellent day even though the cloud cover limited visibility from summit. Car to car took 7hr 21min, and I was super thankful to have skis for the descent. Even though it was survival skiing at its best. With the new snow falling it should be prime after the storm passes.
|2015-02-15||Route: East Ridge
Info: Conditions on this date required only microspikes/no snowshoes necessary. I started from the 2wd lot off of Rd 24 near Twin Lakes Village. Began hiking up the 4wd road by 0530 hrs. Very little post holing, as trail was broken and packed from weekend prior, and very little new snow had fallen. Snow was soft and slushy on descent, especially last three miles through the trees and on the 4wd road, but no issues.
|2015-02-08||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: trail hard to find and snow is waist deep in most spots. didn‘t make it more than a mile up.
|2015-02-07||Route: East Ridge
Info: Trail was boot-packed all the way until treeline. Snowshoes helpful in the flat meadow shortly before treeline and the ascent to the ridge just after treeline, but not mandatory. I kept microspikes on for the majority of the hike. On the upper mountain, large snowfields present on climbers‘ left (the summer trail starts to cut trough this area). We stuck to the ridge proper and walked up the rocks/tundra. A couple of small snowfields to ascend; spikes mandatory if you don‘t want to walk around them.
|2015-01-25||Route: East Ridge
Info: Mt Elbert sure is a popular mountain lately! Here is yet another conditions report. Trail well boot-packed and I didn‘t use flotation or traction on the way up. I did use spikes on the descent. That said, it was a rather warm day considering it is still January. Coupled with the brilliant sun, the snow was starting to get soft in places particularly nearing tree line and a few places heading up to the ridge start. I did posthole a few times, but it was no biggie. On the way down, spikes helped on the well consolidated steep snow near the summit as well as the steep sections in the trees. Up high the snow was firm enough to get in a few good glissades.
|2015-01-24||Route: East Ridge
Info: Nothing new to report, the previous couple of reports are still accurate, I just wanted to add a couple of photos of the route. I used Microspikes for most of the accent and the entire decent, but many others didn‘t. Snowshoes not required. Winds were really heavy on the east ridge Saturday, but died down to almost nothing once you pass about 14,000.
|2015-01-24||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Trial by wind on Elbert today. There were a lot of climbers today but most turned around because of brutal wind. In spite of that 6 managed to summit. Oddly enough, between 12,000 and 13,800 it was vicious but from there to the summit it relented to a quite pleasant 10 mph. I think you need flotation between 11000 and the ridge. There was a lot of post holing in that zone today. Skis are just not worth it. The upper mountain is so wind hammered that I left mine at 12000. Some guys had microspikes, some didn‘t. Your call.