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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|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.
|2015-05-07||Route: Box Creek Couloirs
Info: Didn‘t climb Elbert but took the following shot from the summit of Mt. Sherman. Plenty of snow on Elbert.
|2015-05-02||Route: East Ridge
Info: Nice conditions in the early morning giving way to soft, wet and mash potatoes by noon. Didn‘t use snowshoes at all on the way up but would be helpful on the soft conditions once the sun gets up and post holing can be a problem. All in all great day with just a bit of wind at the top but generally great!
|2015-04-28||Route: East Ridge
Info: Went up the East Ridge today. Didn‘t have 4wd available, so I parked at the lower trailhead and walked the road. Road is clear until very close to the upper trailhead, then it gets pretty soggy with a few spots of snow before being more or less impassable a few hundred yards from the trailhead. On the way up, microspikes were helpful, but not mandatory to the meadows, and from there on it was pretty much snow shoe or bust. Snow shoes (or skis) definitely were needed on the way down once everything started warming up and getting sloshy. The entire ridge was snow covered from the recent snow, but I don‘t expect a lot of the newer stuff to stick around too long. By the time I was coming down, a lot more rocks were already peaking through.
|2015-04-12||Route: East Ridge
Info: East ridge is still pretty much covered by snow at 80%. Wore my microspikes all day as it is very slippery below treeline on the way up and down. Trail can be easily followed until above treeline then it‘s getting complicated. Snow is melting progressively above treeline and some dry patches appear but I recommend traction as you basically walk on snow all the time. The area just above treeline is becoming a postholing nightmare after noon, I got stuck multiple times.
|2015-03-28||Route: East Ridge
Info: Great day to hike Elbert. About a dozen or so people up on the mountain. The East Ridge was mostly snow covered up to the summit, but you can follow the trail in certain areas. Snow was solid and easy to hike on. Microspikes were good enough for me, but I started postholing a little once I got below treeline on the descent. Snowshoes would be good to have later in the day.
|2015-03-22||Route: East Ridge
Info: most of the ridge is still snow-covered but with decent snow. only two sections where it‘s bare for more than a few feet. trench is really solid, though quite windblown above 13k. HIGHLY recommend skiing or boarding, I was wishing I was on AT gear. snow hasn‘t yet gotten wet/icy enough for glissading. saw some runners who managed just fine with minimal postholing...and they got from the TH to the summit and back down to 12.4 in a little over 4 hours, wouldn‘t be surprised if their total time was in the realm of 5 hours.
|2015-03-14||Route: East Ridge
Info: About as good of a day as it gets in the winter. Great trench the whole way, still mostly firm (but not icy) snow, just about perfect weather (zero wind at the summit!). Carried snowshoes, but didn‘t really need them - there were only a couple of areas of postholing along the entire way, even in the afternoon. Of course, this could change with even warmer weather forecasted for the next few days. Microspikes were useful on the final snow slope from about 13,400‘ to the summit, and also for the steeper parts through the forest just past the upper trailhead, which were hard-packed both on the way up and down. Saw a few skiers - coverage is still pretty good, the only bare spots being along the lower part of the road, and the rock band ~13K (mostly avoidable). Conditions weren‘t really good for skiing below about 11.5, though - sun crust and mush underneath. Definitely feels like spring out there!
|2015-02-20||Route: East Ridge
Info: The mountain Gods were smiling on me today. Pending storm held off long enough for me to summit. Parked at the 2wd trail head and was able to skin all the way to 13,000‘. There was only two spots on the 4wd road that are bare. The rest is packed and sun baked. Trail from the 4wd trailhead to treeline is well established. While it is packed I would recommend some type of flotation to avoid post holing. Snow is 3‘ deep in spots. Above 13,000‘ the East ridge is wind blown and you can pretty much follow the summer trail. No flotation or traction required, only will power and the desire to summit. Overall all it was an excellent day even though the cloud cover limited visibility from summit. Car to car took 7hr 21min, and I was super thankful to have skis for the descent. Even though it was survival skiing at its best. With the new snow falling it should be prime after the storm passes.
|2015-02-15||Route: East Ridge
Info: Conditions on this date required only microspikes/no snowshoes necessary. I started from the 2wd lot off of Rd 24 near Twin Lakes Village. Began hiking up the 4wd road by 0530 hrs. Very little post holing, as trail was broken and packed from weekend prior, and very little new snow had fallen. Snow was soft and slushy on descent, especially last three miles through the trees and on the 4wd road, but no issues.