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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2013-09-29||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Trail from Black Cloud was in excellent condition. Some very small patches of snow and mud up to ridgeline at 13,500 feet. The ridgeline from South Elbert to Mt. Elbert had a decent amount of snow! I post-holed a few times, but traction was not needed. Others had already packed down some of the snowy trail so it‘s easy to follow. Hello autumn!
|2013-09-16||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Perfect trail conditions! No mud, no snow
|2013-09-01||Route: East Ridge
Info: East Ridge trail in nearly perfect condition all the way to the top. A few muddy spots that we jumped over while still below tree line due to the recent rain showers. No snow at all.
|2013-07-06||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: The conditions were great. We started the hike at 6:30 and went at a slow pace. Only a bit of wind going up and down but hardly any at the top. Great hike.
|2013-06-12||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Did this route this morning. There aren‘t any spots that you have to touch snow anymore if you don‘t want to.
|2013-06-08||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Did NE ridge route today. Snow is not an issue, no gaiters, traction or flotation needed. There are a few minor and shallow patches of snow to cross but they pose no problems.
|2013-06-07||Route: East Ridge
Info: 4wd road is clear and easy to get through. The stream crossing was no problem. Large snow field almost all the way to the summit from ~13,200 - but it is very manageable and firm. Did not encounter any postholing, and didn‘t need crampons, spikes, or snowshoes. Box Creek couloirs appear to be in prime shape as well.
|2013-06-02||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: As of yesterday, there is little snow on the Northeast ridge of Elbert. Encountered snow drifts as we neared tree line, however did not posthole whatsoever and snowshoes were not required. Other snow fields encountered between timberline and the summit did not melt much throughout the day, again with minimal postholing. At this point snowshoes are not required. However, snow is good for glissading!
|2013-06-02||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Went up Mt Elbert from the Halfoom Creek TH then via the standard route on the NE Ridge on Sunday 6/2/13. No snow at all until around 11500 where there are patches in the trees, all with packed down boot tracks though. Once above treeline the trail is completely clear until around 12500ft where there is some snow on the ridge, but its thin and easily passable either by walking on top or skirting around the side. Overall the NE ridge is mostly clear and easy going, we all did it in trail runners, and there were quite a few other runners/hikers out Sunday as well. Lots of snow abounds in the Sawatch though, so pick your route wisely (see panorama). SW slope of Mt Massive is clearing, but still holding snow in the gulleys. Temps were mild on top, 40s with a light breeze and really warm down lower (high 60s). Image #1, looking down to treeline from 12k on the NE ridge. Image #2, looking toward the false summit from around 13k, all snow is thin. Image #3, Panorama looking South, Laplata dead center. Image #4, Aspen Mts, Bells on the left, Snowmass center, Capitol to the right.
|2013-05-25||Route: Box Creek Couloirs
Info: Climbed and skied Box Creek couloirs (2 lines). Given warms temps, early start is mandatory - snow in the couloirs was "baked" as early as 10am, but the remaining line from the top of the couloirs to the summit was still hard pack. Couloirs are in, but snow is melting fast (no snow coverage on the East eidge route up to. 12.5k) Saw people hiking Elbert from 2 other approaches - Black Cloud and Halfmoon. Not sure about snow coverage on those routes though.
|2013-05-24||Route: East Ridge
Info: Climbed the East ridge from the top of the the 4WD road this morning, starting at 9:15 and down by 2:00. The 4WD road was dry to the TH and overall conditions were great today. Snow was a bit soft with some postholing up to about 13k ft but never bothersome enough to motivate me to put on the snowshoes so I ditched ‘em. The snow up above 13k was good with a solid crust. The previously kicked steps had frozen over a bit and I found microspikes to be helpful.
|2013-05-04||Route: East Ridge
Info: 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!
|2013-05-03||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: 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.
|2013-04-28||Route: East Ridge
Info: 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
|2013-03-16||Route: East Ridge
Info: 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!
|2013-03-15||Route: East Ridge
Info: 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!
|2013-02-05||Route: East Ridge
Info: 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.
|2013-02-02||Route: East Ridge
Info: 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.
|2013-01-27||Route: East Ridge
Info: 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
|2013-01-10||Route: East Ridge
Info: 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.