Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Post Date:  01/17/2009
Date Climbed:   01/16/2009
Posted By:  Paul


 Buena Vista Blue  

Spectacular January weather to climb some Colorado 14ers. Coming from sea level (North Carolina) on Thursday, I wasn't quite sure whether I could summit a 14 on each of the next two days...

Friday, 1/16/09 featured Elbert via the Northeast Ridge. Road to Halfmoon Creek Trailhead was closed 4 miles before TH, but the 7 AM start helped. Our calculation was that 17 miles RT would get us to the summit and back.

The gentle giant at first daylight (and last moonlight)....
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The hike featured 3 distinct segments: 1) Halfmoon Creek Road, 2) steep trek through trees and unconsolidated snow, 3) steep rocky section above treeline


A shot of Denver Paul on the start of the section above treeline
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A forced smile on my face. The tough part is above. The jet lag and altitude are starting to kick in!
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Looking back towards Leadville on the climb
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Time was going by fast. We were able to climb a couple false summits and get to the true one around 1:45. Paul approaching the top:
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The weather was spectacular at the summit: 30 degrees, no wind, and blue as far as the eye could see:
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Another shot from the top:
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Going down went faster. A cool shot of Paul in front of a steep gully on the NE side of the summit:
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The hike out was pretty quick in comparison to going up. The Halfmoon Creek Road 4 miles took a long time but the weather could not have been better for a Friday afternoon walk off the highest peak in the Rocky Mountain State.


Saturday brought a new day with the same great weather. My new hiking partner was Dan from Denver. We wanted to try Huron but the road was closed a long way from the TH. So we opted for Yale from Dennys Creek TH. Conditions were perfect for a snowshoe up towards Yale. Dan on perfect snow below treeline:
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and then climbing a steep powdery section close to treeline
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Later in the day, and still climbing, we navigated the boulder field to the S of the summit:
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We finally got to the top around 1 PM. Me at the top;
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Dan's short sleeve (or no sleeve) shirt speaks to the unbelievable weather
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Me and the Southern Sawatch in the background:
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A nice view to the W on the way back downhill:
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Dan approaching the treeline on the descent:
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The ascent and descent featured this area seemingly burned many years ago. Nice foreground to the powder blue sky:
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The hike out went fast. Gravity was working. Shortly above the TH I snapped an image of a nearby mountain still wrapped in sunlight:
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In summary, just a spectacular weekend for hiking in central Colorado. The Sawatch is a beautiful range to explore.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
jmg6429


nice weather
01/18/2009 19:39
I climbed Quandry day before, weather dosen‘t get any better. Nice trip, congrats.


5314ers

da summit
01/19/2009 04:48
Nice accomplishment for an ocean elevation guy


triggereast

Closing in on Nepal...
01/20/2009 13:49
Sweet. Didn‘t see any zinc-ox on the pate... Hope you wore a hat!


PaulPaulMan

Great hiking with you
01/24/2009 19:47
That was such a great day, let‘s do some more soon. I‘m going to shoot for doing 5 in March sometime. It would be over 3 days, Friday - Sunday. I‘m planning bringing skis to move faster. I thought you did Quandary on Sunday too? You should put your check list up. Thanks for posting the pics!



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