Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  01/26/2012
Date Climbed:   01/25/2012
Author:  John_Young
 South Mount Elbert Trail  

After a series of setbacks my partner and I hit the trail at 7:45 am. We made it about .25 miles down the 4wd road in a 2wd suburban before getting stuck in snow. One would need a serious 4wd truck with good tires to get all the way down the 4wd road after a good snowfall.

We broke trail the entire way. The trail was pretty easy to follow and essential to stay on top of. Snow on top of the trail was fairly packed with about 4-6 inches of powder on top. Deviating from the trail would result in much deeper snow.

We hit problems when the trail and trees opened up around 11,200. We easily spent an hour trudging through 2-3 feet of snow up to about 11,800. Picture 1. The scattered trees provided a brace for the gigantic snow sheets that would settle around us. DO NOT WANDER INTO THE OPEN IN THESE CONDITIONS.

Battling snow was very time consuming and tiring. We finally reached the ridge at 12,400 feet around 12:00pm and decided to call it a day. The winds were really starting to pick up at that point as well. But, the ridge looked accessible. Picture 2.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

01/27/2012 04:46
appreciate the specific advice about treeline area dangers...


re: skiable?
02/07/2012 01:14
I returned to Elbert on 2/4 and ski conditions seemed okay. The temperature was well below freezing all day, so there was minimal snow melt/ice pack. There were no slides, but I would be more cautious on warmer days. I was snowshoeing, but there were a few areas above tree line where I wish I had skis.

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