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Thinking about Mt Elbert NE Ridge this Tuesday

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:02 pm
Location: Hartsel, CO

Thinking about Mt Elbert NE Ridge this Tuesday

Postby vdavidoff » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:56 pm

Hey all,

I am thinking about attempting Mt Elbert's NE Ridge this Tuesday. I think the weather should be pretty good, and avalanche conditions at least better than they are today given no dramatic changes in the weather, though at the moment they are "considerable" on all aspects.

I see the last two trip reports for Elbert were attempts at the East Ridge. Is this a hint that I should be avoiding the NE Ridge? Doesn't necessarily seem like it, but I'm asking because I just don't know. Thoughts? The main reason I have decided on the NE Ridge is because I'd rather not get out to the East Ridge and find that I need to hike to the upper trailhead, though my vehicle is generally capable (4wd 4runner with good all terrain tires) so maybe that's not likely.

Aside from generally observing the weather, my primary sources of weather and condition info are:

http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Elbert/forecasts/4399
https://avalanche.state.co.us/pub_bc_avo.php?zone_id=3

Any advice is welcome!

Thanks.
Andy

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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:16 am
Location: Broomfield, Colorado

Re: Thinking about Mt Elbert NE Ridge this Tuesday

Postby d_baker » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:09 pm

vdavidoff wrote:I see the last two trip reports for Elbert were attempts at the East Ridge. Is this a hint that I should be avoiding the NE Ridge? Doesn't necessarily seem like it, but I'm asking because I just don't know. Thoughts?

I haven't done Elbert in winter, and it's been close to 10 years since I hiked the NE ridge route.
With that said, Elbert's E ridge has typically been the winter standard route, in part I think because of access to the TH, and secondly because it's generally avy safe.
The TH for the NE ridge route in most winters with a decent snowpack I think is probably inaccessible.

However, this year the snowpack is not great, and as of last weekend the TH for the NE ridge route was accessible. (I know someone that drove to the N Halfmoon TH and did Massive Mania tour last weekend.)
With the recent storm, I don't know if the TH access is as good as it was. I also don't know of what kind of route finding/avy terrain avoidance is necessary on that route.

The summertime TH for the E ridge route was accessible a couple of weeks ago as well. If that is not the current status, the mileage from the "winter closure" is (according to this site) around 12mi's RT with 4900' elevation gain.
Personally, I would just bet on the E ridge route as a go, for both safety and TH access.

Hope that helps. Only my thoughts -- not first hand experience with either route in winter.

Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:02 pm
Location: Hartsel, CO

Re: Thinking about Mt Elbert NE Ridge this Tuesday

Postby vdavidoff » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:47 am

Ah, well, if the East Ridge is the standard winter route, that's good enough to convince me to use it, all things being equal. I think you have changed my mind and I'll now be attempting the East Ridge. Hopefully still Tuesday but we'll see.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

Andy

Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:02 pm
Location: Hartsel, CO

Re: Thinking about Mt Elbert NE Ridge this Tuesday

Postby vdavidoff » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:56 pm

This happened. I have added a trailhead report and a peak conditions report.

Andy

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