| Christmas Eve Mt. Elbert climb
My girlfriend, Kristine, and I and our dogs, Rainier and Kona, thought what better way to spend Christmas Eve than to climb Mt. Elbert in winter. So, we packed it up and headed down from Vail to the South Elbert Trailhead and started skinning up the 4WD road at 9:15am.
Kristine skinning up the 4WD road:
Rainier ready to hike w/ her boots on:
Despite a few setbacks w/ our skins and a few blisters, we made it almost to treeline on a decent packed path and then broke our own trail from there on.
Kristine breaking trail above treeline:
It got so warm at one point skinning up the east ridge, the shirt had to come off - amazing considering it is winter on CO‘s highest peak:
Then, we left our skis at around 13,000‘ on the east ridge because the remainder of the route was very dry in terms of snow cover and wouldn‘t be very fun rock hopping in our skins and skis. So, we hiked the rest of the way to Elbert‘s summit in our tele boots.
Kristine climbing above 14,000‘:
Rainier climbing to Elbert‘s summit:
Then, around 3pm, we all reached Elbert‘s summit w/ high winds and cold temps, but fairly clear for a winter summit.
Kona and Kristine on Elbert‘s summit:
Me and Kristine on the summit:
All four of us on Elbert‘s summit (Merry Christmas Eve from the top of CO!):
Elbert casts its shadow on the Arkansas Valley below at dusk:
The Box Creek Cirque couloirs on the way down (Gotta come back and ski one of these):
Mt. Massive to the north at dusk:
We got back to the car at the South Elbert Trailhead at 6:15pm (a 9 hr ascent and descent, 11.5 miles and almost 5,000 vertical) and a great way to spend Christmas Eve w/ Kristine and the dogs. We even got a little full moon skinning in at the end of the day back to the car.
Hope everyone has a happy holiday!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):