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 Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
 Post Date:  08/30/2010 Modified: 08/31/2010
 Date Climbed:   08/27/2010
 Posted By:  EZSide

 A Classic Western (Pt. 3) - Elbert Northeast Ridge   

From A Classic Western - Quandary (Pt. 2)
Quandary

Link to this Elbert Route Detail


On Thursday we packed up and headed for Leadville. It was nice to be close, and we stopped at the Ranger Station killing abundant time. They were very helpful, and recommended the Elbert Creek campground (Why is the Elbert Creek campground on Half Moon Creek???) for the NE ridge route. Image
View of Elbert from road near trailhead
We navigated an OK road and chose a spot on the creek. There was time for a bit of fishing. Image
Fishing in Halfmoon Creek

Friday would bring a 1:30 AM start at the trailhead. Image
At Trailhead - 1:30 AM
This would be the moonlight hike envisioned when planning this trip. The day was clear and calm.
We had a moment of hesitation when we didn't find the branch from the Colorado Trail as/when expected. We took a break and consulted the maps. We were on course, and a decision to continue on brought us to the junction which was just out of sight when we paused.Image
At Colorado trail split - 2:35 AM

The route is a steady climb up through the trees. We alternated between moonlight and headlights, but there was no partly moony unlike the weather at Quandary. We would discover stunning views in the past-full moon in every direction this morning.Image
All of us in the trees yet
Image
Above the trees - 4:30 AM
Image
Moonlight - 4:30 AM
Image
Moon over false summit - 5:40 AM

As we worked our way up, the pre-dawn orange gave way to the first rays of sunlight. We would welcome the first rays to take away the nighttime chill. Image
Pre-dawn 5:40 AM
Image
Sunrise about 6:30 AM
Image
Sunrise about 6:30 AM

It's a long steady climb, but the early morning views were just breathtaking. The choice of an 'easy' climb during an off time was paying off!Image
Mt. Massive - 7:00 AM

At 7:10 – 7:15 AM, we would have our second summit to ourselves as well. As we reached the summit ridge, my boys kicked my butt this time, as it should be. Image
No one to help with photo on summit
Image
USGS Arrow marker - Mascot Navigator Duck joins in.
Our mascot, Navigator Duck, even joined in the summit pics. Image
The morning shadow of Elbert - 7:25 AM
We took a little longer and thought about the pictures more, as well as sending out messages to my wife (thank you does not begin to express what your support of this trip has meant) and other family members. (Remainder of summit 360 pics are below)
We had seen headlamps below us on the way up, and encountered the first of the morning parade on the false summit bumps as we were on our way down.
The trip down was tough in that I emphasized keeping control at all times. I'm trying to instill and practice good habbits, and knowing your footing is #1. The trail is steep and loose at times, and I wondered to myself how some make it back down.
A stop at the fork for a duplicate of the picture from earlier, Image
Colorado Trail branch on return trip (Img. #4 earlier)
then on to the trailhead. Image
Back at trailhead after a great summit

We decided that the trip was over and it was time to go home. We napped, packed up and were back at the Mint for another round of summit steaks. Then eastbound I-70 and I-76, where we were blessed with a final spectacular view of a sunset over RMNP. Image
Along I-76 on the way home.
We arrived home the next day after 3,200 miles, 3 summits and 11 days. We would discover that good friends were somewhere in the final sunset picture, having summited Longs while we were in Silverthorne on Thursday. (Congratulations, guys!)
To my boys, WOW, what a trip. Thanks and I hope we have many more outings like this ahead.
A final thanks to this online community, without which the trip of a lifetime with my two sons would not have taken shape.

For more adventures of Navigator Duck on this trip, see
Navigator Duck Heads West

Thanks for reading.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
ohiohiker

great trip!     2010-08-30 06:53:41
I plan on being in the area in 2 weeks and was curious how the fishing is in halfmoon creek? I'll have a day or so to to spend fishing and was contemplating spending time at halfmoon creek or heading to the Arkansas.


EZSide


half moon creek fishing     2010-08-30 11:53:16
Hi, im his older son, and did most of the fishing. I had a couple of smaller fish on, but didn't land/know what either were in half moon creek. The fish didn't seem to be too picky on half moon creek or on the colorado river.



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