| A windy day on Mt. Elbert
This is my first trip report on 14er's. I hope it works out, I have done many 14ers when I was a Coloradan and never did trip reports. I have been away from Colorado for a few years and go back often. I talk about it so much at work that I talked my friends into trying a couple and I think I have them hooked.
Started off trying Mt. Elbert by camping at the camping just past the Lakeview campground, right next to the South Elbert trail 4wd road. We took my buddy Dan's truck which is not 4wd so we hiked up the road to the trail. The road wasnt too bad, just a little muddy. When we got closer to the actual trail we saw that the snow was getting a little deeper. After going over the bridge and posing for pictures (my friends Dan and Shawn) we started up the switchbacks. The snow was pretty firm with some occasional post holeing and when it started to get steep Dan and I decided on crampons while Shawn wanted to use his new snowshoes. The day had started off kind of gray with some light snow and we had decided to keep going unless it got bad, but the higher we went the better the day looked. As we went up the switchbacks and up though the trees, I did not have any trouble with crampons only, but Shawn caught up and passed me while I was taking a break and Dan and I caught up to him in an open section of the pine trees just prior to timberline. As we started through the pine trees, some thigh deep postholeing made Dan and I decide that snow shoes might be a good idea. After we got to about timberline I switched back to crampons.
Above timberline the sky turned blue and it was beautiful. The wind was really kicking up and the balaclavas were put on. We continued on to a big stone cairn where we decided that since it was taking us a long time, we could save time by leaving the packs there and taking the essentials with to the summit (camera, gps, snacks and water for me)
I got my usual summit fever and with my "I can almost taste the summit" attitude, put it in high gear and made it to the area where I could see the false summit ahead of Dan and Shawn. I was yelling down that I could see the begining of the summit but it was drowned out by the howling wind. I waited until they got close and could tell them but Shawn had been feeling ill (barfing out of your tent flap will do that) and he decided to turn around. I hated to see him turn around but Dan was still coming and with the fever in full bloom I pushed on to the top. I got to the rocky portion and saw the little saddle and saw it went up a little further and practically ran to the top. Once I was on the top it was a GREAT feeling to be standing on the top of the tallest 14er! I used to live in Colo Springs and had done other 14ers but Elbert was my highest and most satisfying one yet! I took some self summit (party pics) photos and when my hands were were numb I decided it was time to head back and check on Dan. I got some pictures of him in his white face mask (photos not submited to save embarassment) and we headed back down. The best part of the summit was we had it to ourselves!
The trip down was interesting as the snow had warmed up and made for a long trip down with some waist deep postholeing.
We had some Pizza Hut pizza as a celebration and went to sleep in the tents to wake up with about 1-2 inches of snow.
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