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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-07-17||Route: East Ridge
Info: Drove to the upper TH in a Jeep Grand Cherokee with no issues. Trail in good condition with one very small snow crossing up high that wasn‘t an issue.
|2015-07-11||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Summer conditions all the way up, and completely dry on the trail. A few snow patches are left off trail. Enjoy!
|2015-07-10||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: GEAR (to bring): GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat (didn‘t use, but could have), day pack with water sack, food, sunscreen, lip balm. Great all the way up! Windy and cold, but the trail is straight forward. Make sure you don‘t go on the continental divide. This is my 11th peak this summer and I plan to climb them all. Check out my blog at sunshineof1985.com for more details.
|2015-07-03||Route: East Ridge
Info: Was able to drive all the way to the upper trail head in a Toyota Tacoma. There was one place where a stream is flowing through the road but was able to drive through it. Trail was dry. About three places where we had to walk through snow, but was not a problem. We made the entire hike with just hiking boots. About 3/4 of the way up, most of the hikers lost the trail. To stay on trail, you have to cut across a snow field that is about 30-40 yards long that takes you around to the south.
|2015-07-03||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Route is almost completely snow free and largely free of water at this time. You can take trail shoes at this time- the only snow is on the summit ridge and is easily avoided by walking on the rocks. The route is in great shape- the steep and dusty section at the crux is dry.
|2015-06-30||Route: East Ridge
Info: Snow patches beginning at the top off the ridge, around 13,500. I thought more were avoided by staying on the north side, by Box Creek/Canyon side, not following the true east ridge trail. Some postholing on the way down at 10am.
|2015-06-20||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: https://everythingoutdoorscolorado.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/mt-elbert/ In summary, the trail was dry until about 13,000 ft. At this point, there was light snow that could be crossed on the path without any equipment. However, my friends and I brought microspikes and walked beside the path in the snow field where a few other tracks were seen. We ascended this field around 8:30a and descended around 11:45a with no post-holing. Any later than noon and you probably would have been post holing. But you definitely could stay on the trail and not post hole or need any gear. See blog page for pics of my hike.
|2015-06-20||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Conditions are excellent, no snow on the trail until well above tree line, at that point you just have to pass through patches of shallow snow that are very easy to traverse. No micro-spikes, gaiters, or other equipment needed. Snow was well packed enough that there was no post holing.
|2015-06-20||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Still some snow on upper slopes but it is melting fast. Recommend a pole but no flotation or spikes needed.
|2015-06-17||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Dirt road from Leadville in great condition. Fine for 2WD low clearance. Started the Northeast Ridge route at 4:45 am. Trail dry and clear until above tree line. Can navigate around snow until the last 1000 feet. Summit is snow covered and beautiful. There were a large number of people ascending both the northeast ridge and east ridge. Northeast trail is in excellent condition. Snow shoes, micro spikes, etc were not necessary. Majority of surrounding mountains still snow covered making for breathtaking views.
|2015-06-14||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: We camped at one of the free base camps down Halfmoon Road past the Mt. Massive/CT Trailhead the night before. We drove the five minutes back to the Mt. Elbert trailhead and started our hike at 6AM. Right at treeline is where there are a few 3-5ft. snow piles, but there are paths through them and you are just stepping over them essentially - nothing that couldn‘t be handled in boots. We didn‘t really get into snow until we crested the false summit around 13,500 (more or less). We brought microspikes with us which were helpful on the way down (we didn‘t use them to get up to the summit). You could get down without them if you took your time and paid particular attention to your footing. Snowshoes would not be helpful at all anymore - there isn‘t enough snow for them. Post holing wasn‘t too bad on the way down but we made it back to the car at noon. I would recommend hiking pants & gaitors (for the snow up top), rain jacket in case you can‘t get down before the thunderstorms roll in or it‘s super windy, microspikes, and some kind of thermal layer/light hat for the summit. It was still quite chilly up there. We had our dog with us too (Australian Shepherd). We brought her coat and booties, but she ended up not using either and did not have any issues with the altitude (she was running laps in the snow at 14,000ft). We also did not run into any larger animals like mountain goats, just a few marmots/mice. She did try to chase one mouse around treeline and a rock at one point. We had her off-leash almost the whole time (she is friendly with people and other dogs, and we have voice control over her 90% of the time). Unfortunately, some people on the summit had their dogs off-leash and one of them snapped at our dog and snapped at my fiancé. Anyone that reads this should keep an eye out for these unfortunate situations if they have their dog with them and people that have dogs that do not like people or other dogs should NOT have their dogs off-leash!
|2015-06-14||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: We left camp and began hiking at 6:15. Some snow patches were present along the trail below the treeline, but nothing substantial. In the early morning they were packed enough to walk through. Returning the same patches were slush, but really present no issue whatsoever. Snow on the final 1000 vertical feet was a bit of a challenge. The closer to the summit, the more packed the snow becomes. Trekking poles looked really helpful, but I got by fine without them. Descending through the slushy steeper portions was the most difficult part, but everyone was faring well. Microspikes were a big help, even more-so on the way down, but the majority of people were without them and getting by ok. All in all it was a great day with crystal blue skies and lots of sunshine.
|2015-06-11||Route: East Ridge
Info: My brother and I made it up no problem. This was my younger brother‘s first 14er. The drive to the trail head was clear. There was very little snow until the tree-line. Sometimes you‘ll be in some thigh-high post holes. Very minor. After the treeline you‘ll have patches of snow that‘ll you‘ll post-hole off and on. No need to crampons or snowshoes. If you don‘t have gaiters you‘ll be alright. My brother got a little nervous about 200 yards from summit. There was snow and loose rock at the top. An avid hiker will trek this no problem. There were about 7 people hiking that day. I saw 3 people summit but the rest of us turned around about 300-500 yards from summit.
|2015-06-07||Route: East Ridge
Info: Great day! On trail at 530am and on the summit at 9am. Good idea to start early to avoid sinking in snow that was above tree line. Clear trail otherwise. Started at higher trailhead. EXTREMELY windy above 13000ft. Estimate 40+mph with higher gusts. Sunny all the way. No crampons Although did bring snowshoes, but were not needed, again starting early counts! Would highly encourage people please don‘t be wearing shorts and tennis shoes to climb this as we saw people doing. Thx
|2015-06-06||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Conditions were good this morning. Trailhead at 0630 summit at 1100. Completely snow free until 11400 then some post holing on the way up (but 100x worse on the way down) until you break through the treeline. Above treeline snow was mostly avoidable until 13000ish at which point micro spikes would have been nice but we did it in boots with no problems, just slow and steady. Summit ridge was brutally windy but snow was fine. Descent snow had softened everywhere and slowed us down especially below treeline. We brought snow shoes but they were not at all helpful on the descent and would have been best left at the car... And traded for spikes... Missed the ball on that one. Overall in great condition! Get out and climb and do so nice and early. I‘ll add some pictures from my home computer later.
|2015-06-03||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Trail is snow free until about half a mile from the tree line. The snow here is soft and loose and probably the worst on the whole trail. Above tree line is mostly covered with better packed snow with some patches of rock. I used snowshoes, but probably should have used spikes instead as other hikers with spikes seemed to fare better. Ran into one other hiker with just boots. He got up just fine, but was having problems on the descent.
|2015-06-01||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Used snowshoes for a short section in the trees. Other than that we used no other traction. Snow softened in the afternoon as usual.
|2015-05-25||Route: Box Creek Couloirs
Info: Taken from the East Ridge before total whiteout. Can‘t really see it in the photo, but there‘s been recent avalanche activity. Should be sweet once it stabilizes.
|2015-05-23||Route: East Ridge
Info: Trail snow free until around 11,500‘ (or the second open meadow area) and then needed the snowshoes to treeline. Probably could have got by without snowshoes above treeline, but was easier to just leave them on all the way to the summit. Tracks re-covered pretty quickly with the incoming snow and wind above treeline, so doubt any remain to follow. More snow than my last January ascent a couple years back.
|2015-05-17||Route: East Ridge
Info: The East Ridge of Mt. Elbert is in great shape for skiing and riding. The trail from the upper SME TH along the Colorado Trail is clear. When you turn up the hill on the SME Trail, there are some patches of snow in the trees, but the path is in good shape. From 11,400‘ to all the way up the East Ridge is covered with snow. I skinned from this point up the ridge, and even made it through a wind scoured rocky section at ~12,750‘. For the ride down, the upper part of the route is hard snow from the prevailing strong winds that were hitting the peak today. At about 13,200‘, the snow got better. Walked through the wind scoured section at ~12,750‘ to avoid board damage (a careful skier could ‘billygoat‘ through this section; I chose to walk it). The snow from 12,600‘ down to 11,400‘, where the snow stops at the trees, was smooth and soft. .....and if you were wondering about the Box Creek Couloirs, they are full of snow.