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Mt. Elbert  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2012-06-09  Box Creek Couloirs  My friends and I decdided to climb the Box Creek Couloirs June 9. The snow started off pretty nice, good footholds for crampons and the axe, about halfway up the couliour the snow turned pretty much into ice and it was very difficult for us to make any major headway safely. About the last 30 ft of the couliour we climbed we hit sheet ice so hard we couldnt break it with our axes or clear a footpath. We started three avalanches as small rock broke loose and had one avalanche shoot down as a rock brock loose from the other side, all due to tons of melting snow. As three fairly experienced climbers, I think we would all agree that the Boxwood Couloirs are probably no longer safe for ascent or descent at this point in the season. I realize this is a hybrid trip/conditions report and I apologize, I just dont want anyone going up this way this season and getting caught in what we did, it was pretty dangerous. Brushviper   2012-06-10  0     Edit Delete 
2012-05-29  East Ridge  Road was totally dry to the upper trail head, except for the stream crossing. Trail was clear with only minor stretches of puddles/mud (less than 20 feet total for the whole route). Perfect conditions. Jeremya   2012-05-29  0     Edit Delete 
2012-05-28  Northeast Ridge  the best dirt road ever is completely clear all the way up to the trailhead. the trail, for the most part, is completely clear. that said, there are some sections towards the top in which hard packed snow and slick ice prevail. combining that with a strong wind can lead to some pretty slippery conditions on the ridge and at the summit. i‘d say until a newer peak conditions report is posted, at the very least make sure you have hiking boots and poles with you. if you‘re not so sure footed, microspikes wouldn‘t be a bad thing. once again, keep in mind that the vast majority of the trail is completely snow-free, so you don‘t want to go too crazy with equipment, but probably have a bit more on hand than i did. lafutura   2012-05-28  0  1  Edit Delete 
2012-05-27  Southeast Ridge  No snow until after passing over Little Elbert and heading to the main summit. Even then, you can stay on the west side of the ridge and avoid touching snow till the summit. The day I was there, the snow was solid until after I was headed down around 10:30, although temps were in the 20 that day, which prob helped. The 1000 ft. or so right below the ridge, however, is already very loose, steep, sandy and starting to get torn up a bit. Not too bad going up, but a little sketchy on the way down. snapppel   2012-05-31  0     Edit Delete 
2012-04-27  East Ridge  Made it all the way up the 4wd road without a hitch Thursday night. Fresh dusting of snow overnight, very windy above treeline but didn‘t use snowshoes at all (would recommend gaiters for the slushy stuff). Trail was much drier on the way down even with the new snow. Trip Report coming soon but if you need pics sooner, pm me. dfrizzle   2012-04-27  0     Edit Delete 
2012-04-14  Northeast Ridge  Starting off at 7am the trail was a bit icy, microspikes are recommended. Hit a little bit of dry trail for a while, then back to some icy packed snow. Was able to walk on top of most of the harder packed snow on the way up, but could see lots of post holeing and went down a few times ourselves. Just before tree line, the trail disappears into the trees and couldn‘t find where it went. Traversed just to the east of the trail, went around and found the trail once again just above tree line and easily visible with the rocks lining both sides. Pretty windy and blowing snow at times, then would let up and was pretty nice. Final push to the top after the false summits was very windy. On way back down in the trees we did go through the snowpack quite a bit as it had softened up quite a bit, but still glad we didn‘t pack any snowshoes. Both dogs did really well all the way to the top. Even with the blowing snow at times, never had my heavy coat on, just two long sleeved shirts and an insulated flannel. Just recommend good gloves above tree line. mikeegan40   2012-04-16  0  2    Edit Delete 
2012-04-05  East Ridge  The 4WD road is mostly dry but gets quite muddy towards the top, especially in the afternoon. It is really not as rugged as "4WD" suggests, but be aware of the mud in the last 1/4 mile or so. Hiking was mostly on snow with one decent stretch (just after treeline) that was dry. We wore only hiking boots. I would not recommend snowshoes, although we did have to cross one slippery snowfield (12,400‘). The snow stayed mostly firm in the morning and we only a few post-holing issues on the descent below treeline. We left the upper TH around 6:30am and reached the summit at 10:15 (3 hr 45 min). Left the summit at 11:00. Great hike overall, the snow kept things interesting. My advice would be to start earlier than us if possible, the lower trail was very wet by the time we were back down. parsonne   2012-04-06  0     Edit Delete 
2012-03-21  East Ridge  Started around lunch time I walked up the 4WD road the road which was Icy and muddy my Subaru would have gotten stuck. I put my snowshoes on at the bridge at the start of the trail south Elbert Trail head. The trail had its dry spots but it was easier to just wear snow shoes than keep taking them off. I emerged out of the tree line after about 2 hours and decided to camp at 11600 feet which is below the tree line in the field. The snow was very heavy below the tree line and snow shoes are a good idea. The next day I made it to the summit the trail alternates from dry spots to thick snow until 13000 feet after 13000 snow shoes are useful there is quite allot of snow and a little ice. It took me 2.5 hours to summit after leaving my camp and it took a little less than 4 hours to make it back to my car. Overall the weather was great not a cloud in the sky the snow was melting heavily in some areas and thick in others and it is very cold at night. But I would highly recommend this route. bphughes1   2012-03-26 4  3    Edit Delete 
2012-02-18  East Ridge  East Ridge route is a fantastic route for Elbert! The 4WD road was not driveable but very compacted snow and great for hiking. We put on snowshoes at the bridge for the 4WD TH. They were not likely necessary yet but easier to wear than carry at this point. The trench was very compacted and made for great hiking up to the ridge proper. At 11700 on the ridge, in a small meadow, the trench inexplicably went two directions. We were unsure of which choice to make and went right. Ended up following someones fresh tracks ahead of us up to 11800. At 12500 we stashed snowshoes. Wished wed kept them for another 200 feet as the slope above 12500 had some minor-postholing. Above 12700 no need for snowshoes. From 13400 up to about 13800 was the steepest portion of the ascent and we were able to follow faint switchbacks from the summer trail to help. Above 13800 mostly wind-blown snow and just made a bee-line to the summit. Markwise   2012-02-19 4     Edit Delete 
2012-02-11  East Ridge  Mostly packed trail/ trough from 2WD TH all the way to ridge except for the clearing just before treeline-- test for the packed trail somewhere to your right! It was obscured by fresh snow so we missed it on the way up, but its there somewhere... Dont venture into the left/middle as we did--> sank in hip-deep pow despite snowshoes = exhausting. Found the packed trail on the way back. Id recommend keeping snowshoes on until after passing the "small point" on your left above treeline (12,500~+ ). Not much snow on the ridge so Microspikes or bareboot thereafter ok. j-dub   2012-02-15 3  4    Edit Delete 
2012-01-29  East Ridge  Trail is well-packed to treeline. Expect to encounter a relatively small section of waist-deep powdery crap around treeline. Once past this section, there‘s very little snow. Flotation useful below treeline and to the ridge but bootable on the ridgeline. Used microspikes on the descent as there are patches of hard-packed snow and spikes make the descent go quickly, but you could easily get by without them. Road past the 2wd TH is well-packed and doesn‘t require flotation. I parked at the 2wd TH, but decent clearance will get you a little ways up the road (less than 0.5 miles). Didn‘t seem worth it to me since it‘s a quick walk. Beyond that, it would be very difficult to find a place to park, let alone turn around. anna   2012-01-30  0     Edit Delete 
2012-01-11  Northeast Ridge  Road to trailhead is passable with a Subaru/trailer. Good tracks all the way to tree line. The last snow storm put soft sastrugi on hard snow. Other than the lees and the trail there is no other accumulation. It‘s a great weather window for the tallest peak in co. 54coldones   2012-01-10  0  1    Edit Delete 
2012-01-05  Northeast Ridge  Climbed on January 5. Good trail the whole way. There was no need for snowshoes, ax or crampons. Nelson   2012-01-06  0     Edit Delete 
2011-12-26  East Ridge  Able to drive within .3 of a mile to the upper 4wd TH in a honda crv with no issues today. Trail is well boot packed to tree line. After tree line route finding is easy, but there are no tracks to speak of after todays high wind. Under tree line max snow depth was 2 feet. Above tree line there was anywhere between 6in-18 in of cover. Most snow was windslab and did you did not sink in much. Andymcp1   2011-12-26  0     Edit Delete 
2011-11-29  Northeast Ridge  Mount Elbert Northeast Ridge Route via North Elbert TH (Standard) The road going to the trailhead was mostly covered with snow but it was pretty well packed in place. We were able to make it with a 4WD car (Subaru) with a little bit of slipping around. No avy danger at all and most of the mountain above treeline was so windblown that the trail had little snow or ice on it. We all brought our snowshoes but they were not needed - we ended up stashing them about an hour or two into our hike. There weren‘t that many places where we had to posthole. We all brought microspikes as well but never put them on. I think it is wise to bring them anyway, because you never know when you‘re going to need them. Trekking poles certainly helped on the steeper sections. The weather was absolutely perfect - still and calm, clear blue sky, little to no wind for most of the hike. Not too cold. silverlynx   2011-11-30  0     Edit Delete 
2011-11-20  East Ridge  We made it in our cars with 4 wheel drive to within .3 miles of the summer trailhead before some ice on a steep hill stopped us in our tracks. Be very careful if you make it this far because it is extremely sketchy backing down this. If you tapped your brakes too hard you could go skidding down backward in your car with no way to stop. Tire cables or chains would have been very helpful even for our SUV‘s. Your welcome to anyone heading up to Mt. Elbert via this route before the next big snow. Once on the route we plowed trail the entire way up through tree line and it was exhausting. Marie123 and I unfortunately didnt have snowshoes but I would highly recommend them for anyone going up this route. The other two in our group who had them found them extremely beneficial. Once above tree line the snow was mostly windblown and not very deep at all. We wore microspikes the rest of the way up which was all you really needed but you could probably get by without them as well. However, we encountered horrible winds blowing straight at us the whole way to the summit which drastically slowed us down. Some great views on the way up in between the wind but we couldnt see anything on the summit. Photo: Marie123 and I on the summit kushrocks   2011-11-22 1     Edit Delete 
2011-11-17  Southeast Ridge  We lost the trail on the way up after the two river crossings. We also lost it on the way down just below treeline. Both cases were due to snow on the trail. Snowshoes would be good especially above treeline. On the way up after we lost trail we changed course and went up the SW ridge of Mt Cosgriff. There was much less snow on this route but its very steep and covered with scree in many spots. After summiting Cosgriff we traversed to the summit of S Elbert. The wind was very strong but manageable. Next we traversed to Mt Elbert. Approaching the first false summit on the SE ridge we bailed due to fear of being blown off the mountain. The forecast called for 25-35 at 14196 on Mt Massive. Id say the constant winds were closer to 50 at similar elevation on Elbert. As I said if we had ascended the SE ridge snowshoes would have been preferred above treeline. Ice Axes were highly beneficial for the whole route and weather/snow conditions. Im very thankful we had them. masonkimble   2011-11-18  0  2    Edit Delete 
2011-11-05  Northeast Ridge  Anyone looking at heading up the Elbert/Massive Trailhead . . . . it sucked!!! We didnt even get a chance to attempt the hike. I have a small SUV so I was in 4 wheel drive the whole time going to the trailhead. It started out just a little icy then the snow got deeper and deeper and we got stuck on the way up there. Looked like they had gotten at least 6 inches of fresh new snow on the road from the storm that came in Friday night and lasted all day Saturday. After searching around where we were stuck looking for tree branches to jam under my tires about 30 yards in front of us there was a spot that only a monster suv or big lifted truck would get through so we knew we couldnt go forward. At this point we were only about .5 miles from the trailhead but the last 2.5 miles up that road was incredibly risky for my car. We got really lucky just getting as far as we did and with heavy snow coming down last night we bailed and went home. We were going to car camp but didnt want to risk getting stuck there for a long time. We actually barley even made it out of there so it was probably a good thing we turned around when we did because it was coming down when we left and snowed heavy until we got back to around Silverplume. The hike would be for sure doable the snow on the road was where it was bad. If you go I would be prepared to add several miles round trip to your hike at this point because its going to take a pretty big suv or truck to get up that road right now kushrocks   2011-11-06  0  1    Edit Delete 
2011-10-22  East Ridge  Few inches of snow in spots on the upper trail, went up with 5 others today. Low hikers for boots, no traction devices, occasional minor and not very deep postholing, more or less avoidable with some effort. Warm day so some areas were melting, when it sets up it might be nice to have yaktrax or similar in the pack. Almost no snow in the trees and on the lower areas. 4WD road to upper th is good, not much water in the stream crossing, we had a 4Runner and a Tacoma so no issues at all. ursidae   2011-10-22  0     Edit Delete 
2011-10-09  Northeast Ridge  Just returned from an Elbert attempt via the NE ridge. Below treeline the snow is packed and there is maybe 4-5 inches on the ground, no traction needed. Above treeline, the steeper aspects and the pitches below each of the false summits are holding waste deep snow, walking in this over loose scree and talus that is underneath and not frozen yet is very difficult and somewhat dangerous as breaking an ankle would not be too difficult. Plan on slow going unless things change. PM me if you have any other questions. I‘ll try to upload a few pictures later. RJansen77   2011-10-09  0     Edit Delete 

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