Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  07/14/2008
Date Climbed:   07/12/2008
Author:  randalmartin
 Mt. Elbert - Black Cloud Trail   

Had a very enjoyable climb from the Black Cloud TH. This TH is about 10.5 miles down CO82 from CO24. Just a little ways past Twin Lakes. The route takes you up over South Elbert (14,134) and on over to Mt. Elbert along the South ridge. Beautiful hike. The trail is fairly steep in places but nothing over a class 2. I went with friends and summited South Elbert at 14,134 (there is actually a register there), proceeded down the saddle towards Elbert and let my younger partners continue on to Elbert. My knees started bothering me so I unfortunately made the necessary decision to turn back at that point. Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend this route for someone looking for a less traveled approach to Elbert.

Photo of TH. It is very easy to miss this. It is exactly 10.5 miles from CO24 on CO82.


Image taken about 1.5 miles into the hike, 1700ft elevation gained.


Here is the site of an old abandoned (and burned out) cabin and outhouse at about 11,688 ft.


In this image taken just a little ways past the cabin site you have your first good view of South Mt. Elbert in the middle of the photo. The main route takes a slight right turn a little ways past this point as you begin to switch back up the face.


You gain the ridge that leads to South Elbert Peak and utlimately to Mt. Elbert. at about 2.7 miles into the hike. This photo shows the route to South Elbert clearly.


Here is a photo taken to the Southwest from the ridge. Beautiful


On the summit of South Elbert with my goofy hat (much better than sunscreen).


After the summit of South Elbert you descend about 200 ft to 13,940 before proceeding up the final ridge to Elbert.

This was my first 14er adhering to the 3000ft rule. I must say that have a deep respect for those of you that get up and down these climbs so easily. I find the downclimb to always be much harder than the climb. So much harder on the knees and feet.

On a final note, I was in my brand new Asolo Fugitive GTX boots for this hike. They did wonderfully. No hot spots. No break in necessary. Nice to have the Goretex during the stream crossings. Highly recommend them.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

07/18/2008 13:32
how long is the hike


07/20/2008 23:16
excellent report and I like the pics. Me and a friend are planning on using this approach in the fall and according to your picture of the trailhead it looks like I can take my little car.


07/22/2008 00:05
if you go all the way to Elbert it is about 10.5 miles RT. If just to South Elbert Peak then 9.5 miles RT.

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