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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2014-06-19||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: A repeat of what ekviatnie said on 6/07, except the final snowfields are smaller now. No winter equipment needed. The bridge over the creek at the beginning of the trail is washed out, but crossing is still fairly straightforward. With the exception of the summit, the trail is well marked and in good shape. The only problem I heard was another group of hikers turned right onto the Colorado Trail instead of left towards Elbert at the very beginning. Read the signage and know your route, I guess... Weather was in the low 40s but gusty at times, not a cloud in the sky, and still an awesome hike. Saw a lot of people underestimating the 4700‘ vertical climb, watch out for the giant false summit when you clear the trees. It‘s a Thursday in mid June and there were about 60 people attempting a summit that I saw. Here we go.
|2014-06-14||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Started at the Black Cloud trailhead at 6am - no snow until past treelike, and then only two or three patches. I saw a few postholes from previous hikers, but was able to stay on top of the snow easily for the few feet until the other side. Once at the ridge, the route to Cosgriff and South Elbert was mostly clear of snow (pic 1). There was enough snow on the trail between South Elbert and Mt. Elbert to make me glad I had microspikes in my pack, although a few other people did it without (pic 2). The snow was very solid before noon and I did very little postholing. On the way back I tried the ridge over to Bull Hill, but the snow was very soft and unstable, and between the freshening winds on the NW side of the ridge and the poor snow on the SE side, I decided to abort the trip to Bull Hill. I dropped into the drainage between Bull Hill and South Elbert and picked up the trail there. Roach‘s fourteeners book lists two variants of the SE ridge - one to Bull Hill via the Fidelity mine (10R3 V2) and one up the drainage I mentioned above (10R3 V1). I was able to find the trail to the Fidelity mine, but it disappears after a few yards. I tried to pick it up for a little while, but was unable to, and apparently others have also tried, as there is a big X made from tree limbs at the start. The trail down the drainage I was unable to find when starting from the top, although the snowfields still remaining made some detours from the predicted route unavoidable. I would conclude that the first route to the mine is gone, and the second might be the same. I would caution anyone trying to add these to your loop route.
|2014-06-13||Route: East Ridge
Info: For anyone wanting updated Elbert conditions, here you go. Some snow in the upper part of the trees but clear on the trail. At 12,400ft the snow starts to cover some of the trail but you can move around it. I stayed on the snow since it was solid. Once above 13,000ft there was more snow than rock. I stayed on the snow to the summit from this point again because it was solid and super easy to move on. You can stay to the right in the picture below and avoid some snow close to the top. I didn‘t use traction or an axe. To top of the experience I got to the trail head and realized I had left my hiking shoes at home. I did the hike in my Tour master Solution 2.0 motorcycle boots. They are waterproof and insulated. I wont do this again but they felt great! The summit was snow covered.
|2014-06-08||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Plenty of snow fields to make your way through above 13k feet. Trail is pretty much smooth sailing up to there, however. On and off white-out conditions throughout the day. A storm finally rolled in to stay around 12:30. Coming down from the top visibility was about 10ft due to white-out. Would have been terrifying if the route down this mountain wasn‘t so straight-forward. 4WD trailhead is easily accessible with moderate clearance (your WRX won‘t make it). I was able to leave my truck in 2wd the whole time.
|2014-06-07||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: No snow below about 11,000 feet. Between 11,000 feet and tree-line, there are multiple stacks of snow that have seen significant foot-traffic and can easily be crossed. Above tree-line, there is minimal snow on the trail until the final 200 vertical feet. I ran the trail in shorts and running shoes. No traction or flotation devices needed.
|2014-06-01||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Started from the Halfmoon Creek TH at 2000 on Sat. Hiked for about an hour; moderate snow and ice on trail in sparse places. Camped out that night in an opening. Didn‘t get very cold and had moderate rain. Continued on trail the next morning at 0630. No snow to worry about up to the large clearing just below the treeline. At this point forward until the treeline there is miserable post-holing up to my waist. The season has clearly begun since there were upwards of 20 people on the trail that day. After the treeline, conditions were great all the way to the top. Outstanding first 14er!!
|2014-05-29||Route: East Ridge
Info: Hiked to summit via the lower S. Elbert TH, walked 4WD Road up and CT/CDT down. No snow at all on the 4WD road or CT/CDT up to Mt. Elbert Trail junction. Be prepared for quite a bit of snow and lots of postholing unless you get done REALLY early. Probably unavoidable. Below treeline, there are just a few patches of snow and most of the trail is dry. I postholed lots on these few patches on the way down. Above treeline, there were quite a few tracks through a 60% snow-covered route to the summit. Snow conditions were great for my hike up and down on the upper mountain, but I was headed down about 11am.
|2014-05-25||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Headed up from the standard trailhead off Halfmoon Rd at 6:15am today (5/25), trail running shoes and tights, no traction and no flotation. Snow is patchy and VERY wet below 11000ft due to off and on rain the past few days. There is a pretty stomped in trench at this point, but expect damp feet and some slippery terrain. From 11000ft up the trail slowly becomes more snow packed, but a decent trench is getting dug in. From 11400ft-12000ft nearly 80%+ snow cover some stable enough to walk on top of, but I was postholing every 5-7 steps. Once at treeline the snow coverage is very thin, but there were a couple inches of new snow this AM, should melt away soon. I turned around at 12800ft due to zero visibility clouds and new snow covering the trail. Traction not necessary, snowshoes would be helpful for the section from 11400-12000, but otherwise a burden. Skis would be useless, unless you want to lug them all the way up to ski the box couliers. I dug a nice trench below 114000ft and tracked out a good line from there to treeline, so follow my tracks and you\‘ll make it up. A few other parties were heading up later in the day, not sure if they made it, all were below 11000ft. Gaiters and/or tights a necessity for the snow and postholing. Photo #1: Snow starting to overtake the trail at 11400ft. Photo #2: My postholing track through the deep snow. Photo #3: View from treeline up, mostly snow free, especially after the new dusting melts.
|2014-05-13||Route: East Ridge
Info: Pulled off part way up 4wd road. Ankle to knee deep snow from trailhead to summit. Trench is in. Was sloppy in the afternoon, so start early. This was right after the fresh snow though, so not sure how it is now. Snowshoes a necessity, did not use spikes.
|2014-05-02||Route: South, peak, Box
Info: http://youtu.be/IxSGVRJ1U3g. Need a pc to play video. Good snow coverage in the box. Good bit of shouldering skis on the S. Trail arm in the lower saddle above tree line. Once 1/2 way up the box via the S arm skins all the way to the top!
|2014-04-12||Route: East Ridge
Info: Lots of snow from the 2WD TH to the summit. Was able to skin straight from the car at the 2WD TH. Snow on the lower half of the route starting near tree line is extremely wet. A good freeze overnight will make for a nice ascent, but get down before it heats up. I was able to snowboard from the summit to the car with just a few short walking sections I had to get through rock and then bare patches on the 4WD road. I definitely made use of both poles pushing through the flats down low. I did not get any photos of Box Creek, but the couloirs are completely in. More snow on the way tonight. Image #1: Summer TH Image #2: East Ridge Route from tree line Image #3: Looking bag on East Ridge route
|2014-04-04||Route: East Ridge
Info: Stereo311 and I made it up Elbert today a bit exhausted from being so early in the season. We left the winter TH around 7:30am. We hiked the snow-packed trail in boots to the summer TH and bridge crossing in 1.5 hours. We needed snowshoes shortly after this point as there was no trench. Given the already abundant snow this year, I believe the area got around 3-6 inches the night before and this required snowshoes all the way to summit at 11:30am. Lounged on the summit as there was no wind and took in the views. When time to descend, the snow softened up a bit. Snowshoes helped and we were back at the car around 3:30pm. It sounds like another round of snow is expected so who knows how long the trench will be there.
|2014-03-29||Route: East Ridge
Info: Snowshoes would be very useful above treeline. Wished I had brought some, because it‘s basically postholing all the way to the summit. Below treeline snowshoes weren‘t needed, there is a well established ski/snowshoe/boot trail after today.
|2014-03-14||Route: East Ridge
Info: There is a nice trench in all the way from the 2wd parking lot to the summit. We did not need snowshoes or any traction, only bare boots. Things were a little slushy and warm in the afternoon but post holing was minimal. Was an easy winter summit grab in blue bird conditions.
|2014-01-19||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started at the paved TH and snow was packed all the way up to tree line! We used microspikes, but ditched our snow shoes not long after tree line. The trail was clear in a lot of areas above tree line, and it has been very well traveled over the past couple of days. Great winter conditions with blue skies and not too much wind made for a great day on the mountain!
|2014-01-11||Route: East Ridge
Info: Climbed Mt Elbert on Saturday. Packed trail from the 2wd to the 4wd trailhead, but nobody had been past the 4wd trailhead in awhile. Snowshoes were required up to treeline, some stretches of very deep snow. In some areas there were indications of an old trail under the snow, but in many areas the new/wind-drifted snow had covered up any signs of the old trail. There‘s now a good trench the whole way as 2 people came up after me; it‘s probably not the shortest possible trail, but it works well enough. Once on the ridge, it was a mix of windswept rock and patches of hard snow all the way to the summit. Crampons not really needed as the slope angle was never that steep and the runouts in case you fell were good. Amazing views from the summit.
|2013-11-24||Route: East Ridge
Info: Climbed the East Ridge today. There is at least a couple feet of snow below tree line and up to the ridge itself. The trail to the ridge is packed down and was easy to follow, even with 6-8" of new snow on it. Once on the ridge, the snow and wind erased my up track by the time I hiked back down. I put on snowshoes at the 4WD trailhead and just kept them on to the summit. You could walk parts of the ridge in boots by staying on the rocks, but would likely post hole in a few places. I couldn‘t drive to the 4WD TH due to a downed tree about .75 miles past the 2WD TH.
|2013-11-18||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Probably not the greatest of pictures but taken from flight from Denver to San Diego this morning.
|2013-11-10||Route: East Ridge
Info: 2-6 inches of snow on N and E facing aspects. You might want spikes if you‘re not using poles. Especially going down. I carried mine but never used them. Poles were a big help to prevent slipping going down. Beautiful day. Maybe 25-30 mph winds on the summit. 50 degrees at TH. Probably around 30 at the summit. Doesn‘t get much better in November on Elbert.
|2013-11-02||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Below the treeline trail is covered in about 2-3 inches of snow, with slick ice below the snow in the morning and slushy in the afternoon. Above the treeline snow was 1-2 feet deep for a few hundred feet, the back to a few inches. Pretty slick hard packed snow, wouldn‘t do it without micro-spikes. 40mph winds at the summit. Most of the switchbacks are still visible. Big storm due 11/5 so this may change.