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Mt. Elbert  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2013-05-04  East Ridge  Enjoyed a calm, sunny day for a climb and ski of Mt. Elbert yesterday with my sister! We didn‘t see anyone else all day. We were very happy to find that a summit ski was indeed in - in fact, there was good snow for the top 1,000‘ or so! Between 13,000‘ and 13,400‘, the snow is melting fast and we had to walk for a good portion of this stretch. Below 13,000‘, we were able to go all the way to the switchbacks at 11,200‘, although some sections below the 12,400‘ saddle will be melted out soon (unless it keeps snowing). From there we walked about 100‘ vertical and skied most of the way through the trees until just above the Mt. Elbert/Colo. Trail junction, which was just a few minutes from the upper trailhead. Image #1: Snowshoeing just below treeline Image #2: Bony ground above 13,000‘ - the Box Creek Couloirs route holds continuous snow all the way to the 12,400‘ saddle, and there were some fresh tracks on the route Image #3: Skiing off the summit Image #4: Great snow below the summit! DanielL   2013-05-05 4     Edit Delete 
2013-05-03  Southeast Ridge  The Blackcloud basin is very snowy still. From the first stream crossing to part way up the ridge the trail is covered. From there to the top of the ridge is mostly snow free. Along the ridge there are patches, some large, but all very manageable. druid2112   2013-05-05  0     Edit Delete 
2013-04-28  East Ridge  Climbed Elbert today via East Ridge. Was able to ski most of the way up (except through the rocks on the ridge above treeline), and most of the way down (skirted around the South side of the rocks). There are a couple dry patches on the Colorado Trail, and the switchbacks are mostly dry. Snow definitely softened up (as expected in spring) in the afternoon, snowshoes were definitely nice on the way down. See attached photo of Box Creek Couloirs, and my facebook album for more photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100570834185631.1073741831.12002257&type=1&l=31a2afadfc GregMiller   2013-04-29 1  3 1  Edit Delete 
2013-03-16  East Ridge  We climbed Mt. Elbert starting at the lower TH off of Hwy 82 near Twin Lakes (12ish miles round trip). The trail is very well packed down up to treeline, and we only needed microspikes. At treeline the trail becomes a bit vague due to high winds that swept footprints away, but if you know the route you can make it to the top easily. We ditched our snowshoes once we saw the switchbacks and definitely did not need them. Poor conditions at the summit due to high winds and snow, but a great day none the less! LizWeiss   2013-03-17 2  1 1  Edit Delete 
2013-03-15  East Ridge  There‘s something for everyone on Mt Elbert right now (except shirtless men-see Surf ‘n Turf‘s trip report for that). The 4wd road is definitely doable pretty far up with a 4wd but turned into a slushy, muddy mess the day I did it. The trail to tree line can probably be done in boots-I was regretting the snowshoes I had on until I hit the meadows and also in the afternoon-slushy, nasty postholing fest. Above treeline, the lack of snow is amazing-you can follow the dirt trail pretty far but I lost it and microspiked up the hardpacked snowfields which again became nasty in the sun. I had the mountain to myself which made for an amazing day. The route is packed and easy to follow. Firm snow, slush, dirt, hard snow, mud galore and beautiful swirled cornices on the summit-get the easy snowflake while you can! ctlee   2013-03-16  0  1  Edit Delete 
2013-02-05  East Ridge  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. vdavidoff   2013-02-05 2     Edit Delete 
2013-02-02  East Ridge  Climbed Mt. Elbert yesterday via the East Ridge. It is possible to get a 4 WD car exactly a mile in toward the upper trailhead, but after that the two cars that attempted to go further both got stuck and had to back down to the pull off that is 1 mile in (used trip od on way out). As far as the route, one man yesterday had done some incredible trail breaking through about 1 ft, sometimes more, of powder. I would guess that there were 7 of us on the route yesterday based on the people I saw, so its pretty well boot packed by now, though it is certainly still very snowy and there were a few parts in which snowshoes may be nice. Other than that, microspikes are necessary for the ridge part of the route, but certainly nothing more. The trail is fairly clear on the ridge, except for a 100 ft stretch about 1000 vert. ft from the top. A couple of us lost the trail there and made our own way up, got to the summit, then realized there was a much easier, beautiful trail to the left (looking up). Watch for that. Avy danger, in my unexpert opinion, is extremely low. It‘s certainly a long, partially exposed haul, however, so prepare for a nice long day! Most of us dropped packs once we got the the ridge, its a personal call. happymtnclimber   2013-02-03  0  4    Edit Delete 
2013-01-27  East Ridge  Made it to tree line before severe winds turned us back. Wind driven new snow was quickly obscuring the trail. The summit was completely obscured by hurricane-level winds FatBaxter   2013-01-28 1  3    Edit Delete 
2013-01-10  East Ridge  The regular route (East Ridge) is about as easy as winter mountaineering gets. Micro-spikes or similar are useful, but no need for snowshoes and skis would not help. markf   2013-01-10  0  2    Edit Delete 
2013-01-05  East Ridge  The S Elbert trail/east ridge is in prime condition right now. There‘s a nice boot-packed trail all the way to (and above) treeline, and plenty of mostly-bare ground above treeline, generally above 13k. Just a straight up-and-back requires no special gear whatsoever besides bundling up for the cold and wind. Avy risk is essentially nil. We parked at the 2WD TH, but a 4WD vehicle that can handle packed snow and one or two steep sections could probably make it to the upper TH; we saw someone had driven all the way up there recently. We also continued along the ridge to "S Elbert" and Cosgriff, then descended the east slopes of Cosgriff to intersect the road. Conditions were similarly easy until treeline, then we were in 1-2‘ of powdery snow all the way back to the road--snowshoes would be almost essential for this part, and we‘re glad we brought ours. The navigation can be tricky on this part as well. ChrisinAZ   2013-01-06  0  3    Edit Delete 
2012-12-23  East Ridge  A good solid trench exists all the way up to the tree line. Wind-swept with some cohesive slabs afterwards, no issues to the summit. No significant snow accumulation on 23 December daytime. More forecasted for tonight. shearmodulus   2012-12-23  0  1    Edit Delete 
2012-12-16  Southeast Ridge  Made the ridge without use of snowshoes or any traction aids. The ridge was mostly windswept to the summit. I lost the proper route after the first creek crossing, so don‘t assume the tracks to gain the ridge are following the optimal route if you‘re up there in the next few days. ledhead69   2012-12-16  0     Edit Delete 
2012-12-08  East Ridge  There‘s some snow below treeline which made it a bit slippery, but not too bad. Above treeline there were some patches of old crusty snow that either wasn‘t deep enough or was hard enough that post holing wasn‘t an issue. These patches weren‘t really big enough to make microspikes necessary, but I suppose they could be helpful. I made it to the top without taking mine out of the bag and didn‘t have any problems. Snowshoes are certainly not required. We made it back to the upper trailhead around 1:30 and there wasn‘t any new snow yet. stiby52   2012-12-08  0     Edit Delete 
2012-12-05  Southeast Ridge  I did Bull Hill today, not Elbert, but the entire south face on Elbert is >99% dry. May be some blown snow on the trail at higher elevations but shouldn‘t be problematic. Snow that is approaching over the next few days may be mostly falling on areas to the north, so this route (Black Cloud) may be worth considering. TravelingMatt   2012-12-05  0  1  Edit Delete 
2012-11-21  Northeast Ridge  Trail is in great shape. Brought, but did not use my micro spikes. Some spots they would have been helpful, but it was not worth the effort for the short sections. Gators were a good idea. Very little snow coverage on the trail. Trail head was clear. No problem with my prius. mrschaible   2012-11-21  0  2  Edit Delete 
2012-10-31  Southeast Ridge  It looks pretty snow-free, at least above treeline. I didn‘t climb it, but see the picture below looking in the general direction of the southeast ridge. Eph 2 5   2012-11-02 1     Edit Delete 
2012-09-15  Northeast Ridge  It was absolutely beautiful on Saturday! The trail had no snow on it until the last couple hundred feet and even then there was little to none on the trail. I just had normal hiking boots and was just fine. Beautiful weather on top of the peak. shizupple   2012-09-16  0     Edit Delete 
2012-08-11  East Ridge  Took my 8 year old son up the East Ridge for his first 14er on 8/11. Weather was perfect, just a few drops of rain late in the afternoon. Must have been 25 people on the summit when we arrived which is to be expected on a Saturday. The 4wd road does not require 4wd at all (at least when dry). We had a 2wd Ford Escape rental that easily made it. There were several cars that went all the way to the top too. Just a few large rocks to work around. Great trip! murf80   2012-08-13  0  1  Edit Delete 
2012-06-09  Box Creek Couloirs  My friends and I decdided to climb the Box Creek Couloirs June 9. The snow started off pretty nice, good footholds for crampons and the axe, about halfway up the couliour the snow turned pretty much into ice and it was very difficult for us to make any major headway safely. About the last 30 ft of the couliour we climbed we hit sheet ice so hard we couldnt break it with our axes or clear a footpath. We started three avalanches as small rock broke loose and had one avalanche shoot down as a rock brock loose from the other side, all due to tons of melting snow. As three fairly experienced climbers, I think we would all agree that the Boxwood Couloirs are probably no longer safe for ascent or descent at this point in the season. I realize this is a hybrid trip/conditions report and I apologize, I just dont want anyone going up this way this season and getting caught in what we did, it was pretty dangerous. Brushviper   2012-06-10  0     Edit Delete 
2012-05-29  East Ridge  Road was totally dry to the upper trail head, except for the stream crossing. Trail was clear with only minor stretches of puddles/mud (less than 20 feet total for the whole route). Perfect conditions. Jeremya   2012-05-29  0     Edit Delete 

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