| Mount Elbert Winter Snowboard Descent
Peak: Mount Elbert, Sawatch Range
Date Climbed: March 11, 2007
Group: Chris Buck (from colorado54.com) and Myself
Route: East Ridge w/ descent of the Box Creek Cirque
After talking with Chris the previous night, we decided to give Elbert a shot. I left Boulder at 3:30am and arrived at the South Elbert TH parking lot at 5:30. Chris pulled up fifteen minutes later and we drove about two miles up the road and woke up Will from 14ers.com, he had camped for the night. Chris and I packed up and left around 6:15am. We hiked 1.8 miles to the Elbert TH and continued on for an hour or so, the trail was nicely packed from the dozens of people who had tread before us the previous weekend, thanks guys!
The sun poking through the trees an hour into the hike
Around 11,700ft. the East Ridge rose steadily in front of us. At this point we ran into Will again, he had caught up with us and ended up continuing with us to the summit.
Chris hiking around 11,500ft.
The temperature was perfect, not a cloud in the sky either and only a slight breeze. The day was amazing. For a while Chris and I were able to shed down to our base layer.
Taking a break on the East Ridge
We hiked our way up to around 12,500ft. and got our first look at the Box Creek Chutes. They appeared pretty daunting at first glance (to me at least).
The Box Creek Chutes
After discussing possible lines we continued on and reached the summit around 12:30pm. Along the way we also ran into Carlisle from 14ers.com who tagged along with us.
Carlisle, Will, and Chris arriving at the top of the Rockies
The four of us spent about 35 minutes on the summit, taking photos and talking about mountains (imagine that) and other fun stuff. The entire Elk range could be seen to the west very clearly as well as many Sawatch fourteeners and most of the Front, Mosquito, and Tenmile ranges.
The four of us on the summit, La Plata Peak can be seen back left
After taking a picture of Chris with his Oxia Bottled Oxygen (he wanted a promotional shot for the product) we said goodbye to Will and Carlisle and strapped on our snowboards. We boarded off the exact summit to the top of the Box Creek Cirque (about 600 feet below the summit) and assessed the avy danger. After agreeing that it seemed fine we picked our lines. I chose a chute to skiers right and took it. The top of the chute was very steep for about fifty feet and then the slope eased up a bit. Chris managed to snap one shot of me from up top.
Me near the bottom of my line
Once I was down Chris took his line, he started towards the middle of the chutes and ended up taking a more narrow line than he would have preffered but he still loved it.
Chris in the chute
Chris coming out of the chute near the bottom of his run
The snow was perfect, not hard at all but not soft enough to give too much. Both lines descended roughly 1000 feet from 13,900ft. to 12,900ft.
Looking up at my line from the bottom
Both lines from the bottom, mine is in red and Chris' is in blue
After we regrouped at the bottom of the chutes we had to ascend 800 feet to regain the East Ridge. Chris and I then were able to snowboard virtually the entire way back to the car which was very nice. We arrived back at the car around 4:00pm and met up with Will and Carlisle who were just leaving. The entire round trip took about ten hours for Chris and I.
One last look at Elbert from Leadville
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):