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Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Post Date:  07/26/2010
Date Climbed:   07/26/2010
Posted By:  srhoades28

 Elbert North East Ridge-Redemption   

Well, well, well...Mt. Elbert...We meet again. A couple weeks ago I tried to do Elbert as a night hike. The plan stemmed from a youthful excitement and naivete about hiking at night. We were going to bring up a bunch of blankets and a bunch of food and have a big breakfast while watching the sun rise over the eastern mountains. Romantic, No? However, about two thirds of the way up things went terribly wrong. A brooding electrical storm started swooping in from the south, group members stated shivering uncontrollably, and then after spooning( yes 5 people spooning) on the mountainside under some scant blankets for warmth I realized-We have to go down. That was not the proudest moment of my life. However, I decided yesterday to conquer the mountain that had proved so elusive.
I drove up on the 26th and camped overnight. If I was going to show this mountain who was boss, it was going to be very early in the morning. After a yummy veggie burrito washed down with some light summer ale, I called it a night. I woke up at 4:30 and started hiking by 4:59.
After huffing it up through the trees awhile I hit the Colorado/Elbert trail junction.
At exactly 1 hour and 12 minutes into the hike I hit tree line. I tooke some pictures of the beautiful sunrise looking back upon Mt. Sherman and the Mosquito Range at a small treeless patch 10 minutes before you hit tree line. This area is actually visible from highway 24.
After trekking along some switchbacks and passing the spot of the infamous spooning session, I swiftly passed along the discouraging false summit to the real summit. I arrived at the top at exactly 7:33 AM. Unfortunately my camera died at the top due to the cold, brisk wind sapping the batteries, but not before I snapped off a couple summit shots and one of La Plata Peak-next week's mountain.
After two pb&j sandwiches(made with freshly baked home white bread) and one delectable butterfinger candybar I started my descent.I had thirty refreshing minutes to myself before I stated down. What a exhilirating feeling knowing that you are higher than anyone in Colorado! On the way down I saw way too many people. I felt like I was nodding my head saying,"hey there.." or ,"howdy" way too often. It was a monday morning for crying out loud. The summit must have been like a parking lot at just around 11:30 or 12:00. Anyway I raced down the mountain and made it to my car by about 10:00. I estimate total hiking time at around 4 hours and 20 minutes with the 30 minutes at top for a break and 2 5 minute breaks( one at tree line, one before the false summit) Anyways it was a beautiful day that I'll never forget and I think I did pretty well for my first solo 14er. Thanks for reading and Have fun Hiking!

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