Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  03/30/2012
Date Climbed:   03/21/2012
Author:  bphughes1
 Elbert Summit  

I decided earlier this year that I wanted to do a winter ascent of Mt Elbert. A few of my friends I climb/mountaineer with were all busy or tied up in other trips so It was looking like I was going solo. I go to college at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas and spring break was coming up quick and that meant I was finally going to be able to climb it! Its always nice to get off school cause being down here you have good rock climbing but not great Mts. I spent the week before climbing and enjoying that all my professors were canceling class and moving there test dates forward, and just counting the days till I was free.

I drove to Oklahoma City where my parents are living at the moment I slept, packed and got everything ready to leave the next morning. As I left my parents house I glanced down at my watch and noticed it was 770 feet I then realized if everything went as planned I would gain over 13000 feet in the next few days. I drove all day and made it to the area around Breckenridge that night and decided to get some sleep. The next day I arrived at the Lake View Camp Ground but it was closed so I parked in the small parking lot up the road, which was actually closer to the 4WD road. I decided to walk up the 4WD road rather than risk getting my car stuck. I made it to the South Elbert trail head with ease the snow at the Trail Head was not bad but I could see some people were post holing and put my snow shoes on.
It was a very enjoyable hike some sections of the trail would be clear of snow and a bit muddy and it made snowshoes unnecessary until the trail would become thick with snow again (which was the only annoying part). I was above the tree line 2 hours after I left my car and decided to camp farther down below the tree line and enjoy the rest of the day on the Mt. I camped at 11500 feet. The area was flat and there is a large field, the snow was the thickest around this area and snowshoes are a great help. It was a clear night and the stars were beautiful but, the cold made me retreat to my tent to get some sleep.

I woke up late at about 10 A.M, which is very weird for me, I was mad at myself because I really wanted to summit at noon. It was a very beautiful day there was not a cloud in the sky and I had been waiting for this day for months and decided to make my way to the top. The trail had heavy snow on it until you get a ways above the tree line where the trail distinct and clear for sections. It was easier from 12000-13000 feet to not wear snowshoes. The last 1000 feet of elevation gain the trail is not very clear due to the heavy winds covering it up and you can make out routes people have taken in multiple directions. I made it to the top in about 2 and half hours after packing up and leaving camp. I did not like the time it took me but between a pack full of all of my camping gear and gaining over 13000 feet in 2 days I was content.

The view I received for all of my planning, waiting, and travel was Incredible. Its just amazing the amount of beauty Colorado contains.

I would tell anyone to climb Mt. Elbert it is not difficult and it is just as beautiful as other 14ers I have had the pleasure of climbing or seeing in Colorado. I cannot wait for the next one! (And Sorry I'm not a photographer and I always forget to take pictures so I only had couples that were decent)

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