| Elbert - East Ridge - S. Mt. Elbert Trail - #58!
Date: Saturday, August 19, 2006
Team: TalusMonkey (FlavaDave), Skasgaard, Meteor, Scanner, Fred, Leslie
In Absentia: CODave, USAKeller, Piper, panicneil, swturner, Wyo_MtnMan, Roozers42
TH: S. Mt. Elbert Trail
I was anxious as this weekend approached. Althougth the summer had gone well, my failure to bag Capitol Peak last Sunday put pressure on me to return for it on Friday, Aug 18th. With a marginal forecast, I reluctantly invited friends to join me for the finisher on Elbert. swturner and I were lucky to have great weather for Capitol on Thursday and Friday.
As I drove from Aspen to Leadville to stage for Elbert on Friday afternoon, it began to rain... And it rained for 4 or 5 hours Friday evening in Leadville. Despite the rain, Skasgaard and USAKeller met me in Leadville to hang out. Skasgaard planned to hike Elbert with me. USAKeller had a previous engagement to hike Missouri Mtn with some friends Saturday morning.
When we woke up at 0530 Saturday, the outlook was not positive. The sky was mostly overcast and many peaks were shrouded in low clouds. Humm...what to do? Friends coming to hike with me were already on the road from the Front Range. I could call them and try to intercept them, but then what? Try to reschedule Elbert for Sunday or next week? We decided to go for it.
Skasgaard and I arrived at the S. Mt. Elbert TH a few minutes before 0700. As we waited for Fred and Leslie, Scanner and Meteor called and said they were parked just below the TH and they would be right up. They soon joined Skasgaard and I. We waited until 0720 for Fred and Leslie and then started. (Fred and Leslie are trail runners and said that we should not wait for them - they would catch us).
FlavaDave at the trailhead:
The sky was brighter in the East, but Elbert and most of the Collegiates to the south were fogged in. However, we hiked above timberline and it was still dry. Shortly above timberline, Fred and Leslie came running up the trail to join us.
Leslie, Fred, TalusMonkey, Skasgaard, Scanner, and Meteor on the trail somewhere around 12,000:
As we continued to climb the trail, conditions deteriorated. It got colder, and somewhere around 12,500 it began to rain and then snow. It was a light snow shower, so we continued onward. Then, we heard one single roll of thunder somewhere several miles to the south. Still we continued...
Amazingly, as we got to 14,000 the precipitation subsided and it began to get brighter. As we summited at about 1020, the sun came out and a hole several miles wide appeared over the summit of Elbert. Let the celebration begin!
FlavaDave on the summit:
An old "Superfly Mack Daddy":
Pimpin' ain't complete without the OE800:
TalusMonkey and Leslie:
TalusMonkey with Meteor (Keith) and Scanner (Kelsey):
FlavaDave celebrating with champagne:
FlavaDave with friends on the summit:
Pimpin' ain't EZ - trotting down the trail toward the TH:
As we descended, the clouds closed up over Elbert and the sun and blue skies vanished. When we returned to the TH we decided to meet at Wild Bill's in Leadville for burgers and other nutritional abuse. There, we enjoyed good food and friendship together.
Thanks Skasgaard, Meteor, Scanner and Leslie and Fred for joining me for my finisher. And thanks to those of you who phoned or messaged with good wishes. It was a tough summer with 34 14ers in 11 weeks and it feels good to have finished. But having my friends along to share the final summit with me was the best of all!
Now I can start repeating with my great hiking friends here at 14ers.com.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):