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Elbert trails

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Elbert trails

Postby roether » Sat May 04, 2013 10:11 am

Hiking Elbert this summer. How much more difficult is the Black Cloud trail? It sure has an easy access from that lodge about 200 feet away.

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Re: Elbert trails

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sat May 04, 2013 10:23 am

More rugged and more elevation gain than the northeast and east ridge routes. There's a trail up to 13,500' and then it's a rock-hop/walk over "South Elbert" and up Elbert's south ridge to reach the summit.
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Re: Elbert trails

Postby Bill Cummings » Sat May 04, 2013 11:45 am

I'm a big fan of the Black Cloud Trail. The views it gives you to the south are really fantastic (be sure to stop briefly just above treeline and turn around to the south and enjoy the view of La Plata and the valley). It is definitely a bit more elevation gain than the standard route. The long time you'll spend on Elbert's south ridge (about 2 miles each way) gives you a lot of beautiful views but also a lot of weather exposure--be sure to watch for storms.

Also, in the fall, the aspens in the lower section can really be nice.

I miss the olden days (1980's) when the trail played out at the old cabin (now burned down) right around treeline. You had to improvise/scramble up the big slope, which was a lot of work but also lots of fun--an enjoyable challenge. Are there any other old f**ts out there who remember that?
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Re: Elbert trails

Postby screeman57 » Sat May 04, 2013 12:27 pm

Bill Cummings wrote:I'm a big fan of the Black Cloud Trail. The views it gives you to the south are really fantastic (be sure to stop briefly just above treeline and turn around to the south and enjoy the view of La Plata and the valley). It is definitely a bit more elevation gain than the standard route. The long time you'll spend on Elbert's south ridge (about 2 miles each way) gives you a lot of beautiful views but also a lot of weather exposure--be sure to watch for storms.


A big +1 to that, sir. Splendid way to experience the mountain.
"Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was." -Dag Hammarskjold

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Re: Elbert trails

Postby druid2112 » Sun May 05, 2013 6:43 pm

Here's a report I just added, it might help. To be honest, the climb up from the basin to gain the southeast ridge looks pretty tough. I came down that way, all the while thinking I'm glad I went up via Bull Hill. Of course, conditions will be different on another day.

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=13457
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Re: Elbert trails

Postby jet » Mon May 06, 2013 4:56 am

My wife and I used the Black Cloud route when we did Elbert. We camped near the mine close to treeline so we could get a better start because of weather concerns. We went around South Elbert on the way up but back over it on the way down. After that we basically just started heading toward our campsite. We were back at our campsite by 10.am. and the clouds were already moving in. We quickly packed up but still got caught in a storm on the hike out. This is a good route as long as the weather gave you time to return along the long ridge.

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