Mt. Elbert  
Condition Updates  
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-10-09, By: RJansen77
Info: Just returned from an Elbert attempt via the NE ridge. Below treeline the snow is packed and there is maybe 4-5 inches on the ground, no traction needed. Above treeline, the steeper aspects and the pitches below each of the false summits are holding waste deep snow, walking in this over loose scree and talus that is underneath and not frozen yet is very difficult and somewhat dangerous as breaking an ankle would not be too difficult. Plan on slow going unless things change. PM me if you have any other questions. I‘ll try to upload a few pictures later. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2011-10-01, By: Jules246
Info: Perfect weather, no snow on trail all the way to summit. Aspens are GORGEOUS and not many people on the trail. 
Route: Southeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-09-26, By: pklotzbach
Info: Trail is clear of snow to the summit. Aspens are in full fall glory below treeline. Definitely hike this route if you can in the next few days! 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-09-26, By: vintner19
Info: Elbert from the NE was a great hike on a great day. 2WD to the North Elbert trailhead was easily accomplished with only a few potholes to avoid. No major snow on the trail, mostly just a few patches here and there. Beautiful conditions all day, a couple tricky spots on the trail with snow/ice on the steeper ascending parts. Easily 50+ people on the top, though still a great day. Colorful aspen trees were the highlight of the descent. We took 11 up and all made the top and back down safely. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-08-14, By: EzeeE 1983
Info: PERFECT DAY. No snow, easy drive to the trailhead in my 2WD Accord. Crowds were decent but no more then 20 on the summit when we got there at around 11:30. Some steep inclines/declines stopped a few elderly people from making it, and it will worry some others that aren‘t in very good shape. Managed to bring my dog, but I probably wouldn‘t bring him again as it was a little rough on him the day after. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-08-01, By: tmccormack
Info: Great trail the entire way; no snow at all; trail is a little steep in places and definitely need to be careful on the loose dirt coming down; crowded at the summit; clouds rolled in around 11ish, but luckily no rain or storms 
Route: Southeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-07-07, By: sjpwarsaw
Info: Great conditions at the Black Cloud trail head. The trail was muddy in a few areas but not bad. The creek was very full but both log bridges and both streams were easily passable. One small snow field toward the top before So Elbert. It was overcast most of the day and we got some sleet at the top of So Elbert. With overcast skies surrounding the area we decided not to summit Mt Elbert and headed down. Got a few sprinkles on the way down. Could hear thunder and see both the northeast and east routes up Mt Elbert were getting rain. Could see La Plata getting rain all the way down. Started at 8am and finished at 4pm. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2011-07-05, By: cjwert
Info: First 14er of the year and the entire trail was completely clear of snow. Hit the trail at 8 and took 3.5 hours up. Weather was awesome as I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts almost the entire time. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-06-27, By: BPandM
Info: You may stomp through a few yards of snowy patches, but otherwise the route is clear. We wore hiking boots as usual, but did see quite a few people in trail runners. Very windy at the top so some kind of shell is recommended. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2011-06-27, By: Tony1
Info: Almost clear of snow for the entire route. There are some small snowfields near the top (starting at maybe 13,500 or so) of the route where one may lose the trail, but at that point one can just hike to the top around the snowfields as desired anyway. On the descent, I just followed the trail down from the top (found it and tried not to lose it this time) and it went through only one or two small snowfields, and was easy to pick up again. One should only need regular hiking shoes for this route. Below the snowfield-prone area, there are no obstacles with the exception of one tiny area of snow about 10 feet across that will probably be gone very soon. The snow was very sturdy through noon when I had descenced down past it; I only post-holed once. Pictures show the scattered shallow snowfields near the summit. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-06-26, By: winmag4582001
Info: Trailhead: I was there at 6:30am and the lot was full, I had to go down to the Mt. Massive overflow lot. Trail Condition: All clear to the summit. Recommend: Gaiters or ankle gaiters for the last mile to the summit and plenty of water and sunblock. This isn‘t a technical trail but it is very long and exhausting. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-06-22, By: iquack08
Info: The trail is pretty much snow-free, except for small patches of snow right below the treeline that can make it difficult to stick with the trail. Not a big deal if you lose the trail because it‘s 1-2 minutes away from the treeline, so keep hiking up and when you break the treeline the trail is obvious. Only boots are necessary for this hike. I did not see much or any new snow that could have come from Monday. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2011-06-20, By: harrise
Info: Started from a campsite in Lake View Campground below the actual trailhead. CDT/CT runs right through it so we picked it up just yards away from the tent for about 13.25 miles round trip. The 4x4 road was recently graded and dispersed sites abound along side it. The Elbert trail is nearly 100% snow free. There is about 15 yards across a three to four feet deep drift that was still solid around 2:00pm. We skirted a snow obstacle around 12,400 by going left. Then the only other snow encountered is just below 13,400‘ where the trail looks over the Box Creek area. We chose a path connecting a small bare spot to minimize the Malamute posting. Very straight forward hike, but a bit steeper than I had expected. Summit still has snow around it but the east ridge route got me there in trail runners sans gaiters. 
Route: Southeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-05-31, By: spaceman
Info: Was camping at Twin Lakes for Memorial day and was able to snap this picture of Mt. Elbert. You can see lots of snow. Below treeline there was still a lot of wind so I can only imagine what it was up high. On Independence pass it was blowing about 25 mph. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2011-05-21, By: Barb4rian
Info: Summited Elbert today and let me first say the wind was ferocious! There wasn‘t one direction, it randomly picked one and blew that way for 5 seconds then changed its mind. Otherwise, the snow below treeline is beginning to melt, especially below 11k. There is a well defined trail from the TH all the way to the beginning of the east ridge, after this point the wind has erased most traces of any human activity. While there isn‘t a trail, the recent snow dropped about 8" above 12,000‘; not the end of the world as far as post holing is concerned. By the end of the day most of the excess snow had been stripped away anyway, leaving maybe 4" of fresh powder. Anything above the Box Creek couloirs is pure snowfield with VERY patchy rock gardens. If you want a snow climb/spring ski go for it soon, just plan it on a day when the wind isn‘t blowing 50+ mph... P.S. Sorry there aren‘t any pictures. The wind and whiteout conditions made picture-taking a pointless activity past 12,500‘. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2011-02-22, By: fox_inthesnow
Info: Went up to about 12,000 ft yesterday in fantastic weather. Great trench all the way, but snowshoes/skis highly recommended. I wouldn‘t want to go without them, it would be a postholing nightmare, especially later in the day. 
Route: Southeast Ridge
Posted On: 2011-01-30, By: Barb4rian
Info: Clearly no one had taken this route in some time (no tracks to be seen, other than rabbit tracks). We were only able to keep trail via GPS and that wasn‘t always easy. The snow on this route changes drastically depending on where you are. At the trailhead the snow is knee deep powder, but once you reach the initial climb up Black Cloud Gulch it becomes hard and soft in an annoying and unpredictable pattern based solely on where the sun hits the ground. Conditions above the initial ascent improve and if you want to take this route I would do it soon to catch our trench/tracks to save you much effort. Unfortunately the approach took us about 6 hours (~2 miles) before we finally reached the ridge pitch and by then it was late (~1 pm) and we were far to tired to summit. If you make it this far you may consider finding a route on your own to the ridge because our tracks we somewhat worthless. The sun was beating down on the snow so hard that when we sat down water was squeezing out of the snow-pack like water from a sponge. The picture gives a good look at the South Elbert ridge above treeline. Possible Avy Danger: Yes, the snow seems very unstable on this side of the mountain. During the approach through the upper gulch the snow would frequently collapse within the snow-pack (not visibly) in a haunting sound. This was all on flat ground so we did not find it to be much of a worry but when it happened at treeline (where we turned around) it was too risky to continue. Conditions regarding this would greatly improve once out of the trees due to little snow above 12200‘. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2011-01-29, By: hollamby
Info: The snow in the morning was bullet proof, and then with the temperatures obviously loosed things up. There is a trench from the lower 2wd TH to treeline. If the temps are low you wouldn‘t need anything but trailrunners the trench is so cut (but wouldn‘t recommend it). Traction device was necessary above treeline this morning with the extremely hard snow. Skied off the summit for about 40 yards, then carried the skis for a bit further down. The skis were great for cutting time down on that last two miles from the 4wd to the 2wd. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2010-12-28, By: Dancesatmoonrise
Info: Conditions on Elbert are good right now. There is a well-trod lane through the trees. We carried, but didn‘t use, snowshoes. One member of the party did a ski descent. Not great snow conditions for skiing, but he was able to ski most of the route. From South Elbert we saw a recent natural release on a NE aspect at treeline. However, there was nothing on the east ridge route that suggested any current instability. CAIC dropped the "considerable" rating on N->E aspects in the Sawatch this morning, which was consistent with our observations today. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2010-11-28, By: mountainjam
Info: Started from about 1.2 miles up the 4WD road (see TH section for more info). There was 3 of us, we all brought snowshoes but didn‘t use them. There was a nice boot track all the way through the trees. The snow was really windblown above treeline and never very deep. Took us about 4 hours and 40 minutes to summit and about 2 hours down. It was very cold and windy above treeline but summit views were awesome. 

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