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Mt Elbert - East Ridge

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby wrchad23 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:53 pm

Hello everyone. My friend and I plan on taking on Mt Elbert Monday Oct. 1st and I'll also be bringing my 7 year old black lab. My biggest concern is poor weather. I know it's ridiculous for me to ask but from your experience would you say it's doable for novices? Obviously we will need to be geared up properly. I have a Jeep Wrangler so I'll be able to get to the upper trailhead no problem so it should only be about 8 miles RT. I figure if we are starting at 4-5am that should get us off the mountain 11am-noon'ish or at minimum back to the treeline which should help avoid storms.

I just want to make sure it's not completely inadvisable for the time of year for some brand new hikers. Poor weather is my biggest fear since we are novices.

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby CaptPenner » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:59 pm

I do not know the dog factor, but you should be in good shape with that plan. I have never done Elbert, but a Class 1 should be easily doable in that time frame. I always start in the 4-5 am window and am always back down before the convective activity starts with no problem.

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby Kiefer » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:01 pm

You pretty much already hit it on the head. Fall brings some 'squirrley' weather to the highcountry.
Weather is gonna be your only concern. Even thunderstorms come late Sept/Oct are diminishing. You stand an almost
equal chance of encountering a snow squall vs. a rain shower.
The East Ridge is cairned well and the hikers path is well established.
For novices, even in early October, you'll be fine on Elbert.
Just turn around when you feel uncomfortable if the weather isn't cooperating.
The trail is class-1 so your dog is a non-issue.
"Wisdom comes from making mistakes.
Experience, is the knowledge of knowing what to do when one makes a mistake and wisdom,
stems from the changes we go through while learning from those mistakes."

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby Tortoise1 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:23 pm

Sleep in for a while. Nobody needs to start at 4-5 am for that hike in early October. It's going to be cold and dark and spooky in those woods at that hour and you've got an important junction to catch a few hundred yards from the trailhead. I'd shoot for 6:30 or 7:00. Certainly watch the weather but your chances of lightning that time of year are very low.

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby rijaca » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:42 pm

Tortoise1 wrote:Sleep in for a while. Nobody needs to start at 4-5 am for that hike in early October. It's going to be cold and dark...


I agree. Start 6-7 am and watch the weather.
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Spent a little time on the hill"

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby JJJR » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:32 pm

You should be fine. I did Elbert hitting the trail at 5:30. Mostly because I love the early morning without some of the crowds.

Just keep an eye out for the trail junction. The weather should not be an issue if the day starts clear. You just have to watch anything developing.

RELAX, ENJOY AND HAVE FUN!

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby wrchad23 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:29 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I will plan on hitting the trail at 6-7am.

One question I ask is I've read lots of trail reports and I hear talk of the false summits. I can see these being a little deflating mentally but that is not my concern. Is the path to the summit going to be self explanatory? That's a concern of getting to a certain point and not quite hitting the correct path to the summit. If that makes sense.

Also a couple of you guys mentioned the junction. Is this the one you're speaking about starting shortly into the trail? (see link below, image was too big to post)

Thanks again!

http://www.14ers.com/images/trips/elbe/1_201204281153563_l.jpg

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby mtnkub » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:52 pm

wrchad23 wrote:
Also a couple of you guys mentioned the junction. Is this the one you're speaking about starting shortly into the trail? (see link below, image was too big to post)

Yep, this is the only junction i remember. If you are camping at the trailhead, take some time on the day before to follow the Colorado trail just a little further. There are some really cool beaver ponds just a couple of 100 yards further down. Don't know about Oct, but in June we also saw some actual beavers.
The road is in really good condition (seems to have been graded recently). At the first tough spot, you may want to consider to stop: the trail head is only 50 yards away, and there is no good camp spot further up.

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby jsdratm » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:21 pm

Elbert was my second 14er and I found the trail really easy to follow, especially once you get above treeline. Like others have said, there are a lot of cairns and the trail is well-traveled. Just make sure you get onto the correct trail at the beginning and you should have no problems.

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Re: Mt Elbert - East Ridge

Postby wrchad23 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:44 pm

Thanks for all the info. I'm getting really excited for this and I really hope the weather cooperates. I will drive to the 4wd trail head the night before and camp at 10k feet which should help aclimate to a little higher elevation.

I have some basic gear:

Water proof hiking boots
2L camel back
telescoping poles
I'm going to order a shell next one I see on steepandcheap.com
15 degree down jacket but not sure if I'll need that or not?

This will be my 29th birthday and I can't think of a better place to spend it then a few days in the mountains.

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