Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  07/23/2012
Date Climbed:   07/17/2012
Author:  droidly
 This..One’s..For..ELBERT! (Northeast Ridge)  

Yes! July finally rolled around and it was time for my yearly pilgrimage to Colorado to bag some peaks. This year, however, I was not planning on multiples (as I struggled a bit last year). I set my sights on Elbert, for the obvious reason. I don't reckon that I will summit all 54 peaks, but there are peaks that you HAVE to do and Elbert is one of those. You cannot have a respectable bag list without it, so this year I felt compelled to check it off my list!
To my elation, my wife, who has not climbed a peak with me since 2008, agreed to come along. This is the year of her 50th birthday and we thought this would memorialize the occasion! What a great time we had!

We flew into DIA Sunday and took a detour to Central City before arriving in Leadville late Sunday afternoon. We checked into the Super 8 and discovered that the Leadville Silver Rush 50-mile trail run was just finishing. We shagged over to the event and watched the last runners come in. WOW! 50-miles! We were relieved we only had 9-miles ahead of us.. temporarily anyway...

Monday morning we drove up to the trailhead to check it out. The weather was great despite an ominous forecast from NOAA. We did a casual 3-mile acclimatization hike. The trail seemed pretty easy because of the -mile patch of flat after the creek-crossing. Little did we know what was ahead..! We met a lot of backpackers on the trail. Since the weather looked like it was going to be stable, we planned on heading up the next day for the summit. As it turned out, we timed it perfectly!

Trailhead at 5:30am...

Heading up...

The sun is coming up...

Here's the cutoff..

The sun is peering thru the trees..

The light on the forest floor was incredible!

The trail has one direction: UP!

OOPS! There it is!

The view NE from the ridge..

Yup! The tallest couple in the Rocky Mtns!

We had a great time, but Elbert proved to be more exhausting than I thought. The last two miles were challenging, but we toughed it out. The next day we did the Hwy82 corridor tour: Twin Lakes, Independence Pass, Aspen and Glenwood. We spent the day soaking our pain away at the hot springs(after visiting the new 'Adventure Park'..cheesey fun!).. Thursday we hit Red Rocks on the way to DIA and met some friends for lunch in Morrison.

Really a great sad to leave Colorado.. but looking forward to Grays/Torreys next year!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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