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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.
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After huffing it up through the trees awhile I hit the Colorado/Elbert trail junction.
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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.
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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.
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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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