Peak:  Mt. Elbert (14er)
 Route:  East Ridge
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  Eli Watson
 Date of Info:  02/20/2021
 Date Posted:  02/21/2021

Summited Elbert via East Ridge from 2WD TH. Bluebird, albeit windy, day until about 2 PM. Cold, cloudy, and very windy on the summit. Flurries on my way down.

4WD road is well packed for skinning / hiking. There are a couple camping spots available up the road given proper vehicle and tire capabilities.

Put on snowshoes at the sign that I believe is the 4WD TH, there is an excellent trench from there to treeline. Wore them until 12,800', but you can leave them at the usual stash spot at 12,500' without issue. Wore traction from there to summit.

10:53 AM - 2WD TH (0:00)
11:31 AM - 4WD TH (0:38)
1:42 PM - Snowshoes stash (2:11)
3:16 PM - Summit (1:34)
4:16 PM - Snowshoes retrieval (1:00)
5:25 PM - 4WD TH (1:09)
6:05 PM - 2WD TH (0:40)
7:12 RT

Photos (click for slideshow):

Comments or Questions

You’re faster than that Eli
02/21/2021 07:23
Jk nice job dawg

Eli Watson

Off the pace
02/21/2021 09:56
Still getting my winter legs under me, bit of a slow start to the season!

02/21/2021 10:15
Nice job! How easy was it to spot and follow the trail above the tree line? I'm thinking about doing Elbert tomorrow but want to be sure I wouldn't get lost and wander into avy territory.

Eli Watson

Re: Trail
02/21/2021 10:53
The wind is hard-packing the snow between treeline and gaining the ridge, so tracks from a previous day probably won't be obvious. I personally did not worry about sticking to the trail on the ascent. Once I got above treeline I just aimed for the bump at 12,500' (can be seen on topo maps) and gained the ridge which is avy safe. From there I just stayed the ridge to the summit rock-hopping and looking for hard bits of snow to bite into without wallowing (Photos 1, 2 & 4). On the descent I actually found the real trail that is fairly obvious from the summit (Photo 3), and from there you have to decide how to cut across (skier's left) back to the ridge. If CalTopo is to be trusted, there's a pretty wide berth of < 30 degree slopes from treeline to the summit, but in winter I usually just shoot for the ridge crest and take that without worrying about where the official trail is.

Re: Trail
02/21/2021 15:20
Thanks for the tips, and congrats again!

03/01/2021 12:56
Hi Eli,
Do you recall how long the mileage was for the route you took? Thanks.

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