| Mt Elbert – NE & NNE Ridges Loop
Date of Climb : 6/19/11
Peaks Climbed :
1) Mt Elbert – 14433’
Distance : 9.0 miles
Elev Gain : 4539’
Time : ~10 hrs, 7am - 5pm, Ascent 5hrs, Descent 5 hrs
Ascent Party : John B. & Allison B.
I spent the day climbing Colorado’s highest mountain with my youngest daughter on Father’s Day. We drove out that morning leaving home at 4a. The forecast called for snow & rain by 3p and strong winds for the day. Fortunately the weather held beautifully for us all day!
The plan was to climb the NNE ridge per Roach’s NE ridge Class 2 variation & descend the standard NE route. However, given the weather forecast & no real beta (pics) about the non-std route, we opted to ascend the std route, and then check out the new route for descent if the weather was good.
Alli negotiating the only real stream of the day.
Mt Elbert trail turn-off from the CO trail at 10560’.
Winds started gusting near 13000’.
Finally getting around that big bump at 13700’ we’d been staring at for so long. Can see all the way to Turquoise Lake & Leadville.
Stunning views of Massive, Oklahoma, Deer, & K49 at 13850’.
Alli climbing the final ridgeline to the summit.
A look at the NNE ridge. I knew the 1st 1000’ would be the toughest. Would we face scree slides?
Allison on the summit of Colorado. Her 5th 14er and 10th State Highpoint.
Alli & her dad on Mt Elbert’s summit. What a great Father’s Day!
Starting the descent of the NNE ridge. A giant cairn marks the start near 14360’. The slope is somewhat steep, but the scree holds firm, and there seems to be a faint trail mostly here & there.
Looking down the NNE ridge.
Looking up the NNE ridge. Some spots rockier than others. Easy Class 2 if stay on the E side. We ended up on the W side to avoid some snow and got into a little Class 3 section.
At the 13380’ N ridge / NNE ridge saddle. We could now see the storm coming in from the NW.
We decided to traverse the same contour level rather than climb all the bumps along the ridgeline.
Of course we came across a few snow fields we could not avoid – knee deep in most cases (no wonder not melted yet).
Full view of NE, N, & NNE ridges.
Not only did this NNE route provide a bit of off-trail adventure, but also stunning views.
Then there were some fun sections (not like that beautiful CO Trail).
Alli resting & viewing Mt Elbert’s std NE ridge route.
We could see Emerald Lake and the TH from 11800’.
We kept to the NNE ridgeline very well. We came across a lot of old & faint trails, so the travel through the forest was unexpectedly nice.
Topo Plan & Route. The yellow is actual 9 mi & 4539’ elev gain. The green was the plan (not including switchbacks) and only predicted 6.6 mi.
GE view. Red is actual path, Black plan. The CO Trail really takes you way S.
Overall, a fantastic day! Don’t trust the weather forecast (unless >60%).
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):