Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  09/26/2013
Date Climbed:   09/25/2013
Author:  PalmofGranite
 Elbert - Northeast  

This was our first 14er (me and my husband). I have run several half-marathons and am training for my first marathon, so I thought I'd do a 14er on one of my cross-training days. My husband, however, only exercises sporadically and gets out of breath when he runs with me when I go at a moderate pace, so I knew hiking at high altitude would be a little tougher for him. We live in Denver and spent the night near the trailhead (~10,000ft), so I thought we'd be okay. My husband had a little bit of altitude sickness above the tree line, so I made him sip water and eat until it went away, but other than that, we just took it slow and made it. I thought the trail was fairly easy, though we did take it pretty slow. I didn't find out until later that my husband was trying to be macho about it, but he thought it was tough from the very beginning. If you're thinking of doing Elbert and failure is not an option, I'd definitely make sure you're in the proper physical condition, even though the trail is mostly easy. We did pass several people who were turning back, though for at least one group it was because of the wind and not the difficulty.

What made it a little more difficult for us, and even exhausting to me, was the wind and the snow. I checked the weather history, and there were recorded gusts of 60mph at 12,000ft, so you can imagine it was probably a little more higher up. I got knocked on my bum a couple of times until I learned to brace myself at the first hint of a gust, and hunker down when it was too strong. We took longer than I expected, even with having to stop a lot for my husband to catch his breath, because there were times when the wind was just too strong to move forward safely. Above 13,000 ft, there were snow drifts on the trails, and up near the very steep portion, I was in snow up to my knees. I ended up sliding back down on my bum using my feet and pole to slow me down. It was a little terrifying.

The views were beautiful, and I'm definitely going to do this one again, though perhaps not on such a windy day.

There were several people with dogs, and one guy had three dogs, so this is one you could do with your pet. The three dogs had a blast playing in the snow at the top.

I also recommend camping along the Halfmoon road. There are several designated campgrounds, but they're all closed for the season. We found plenty of good spots for dispersed camping, and it was wonderful sleeping under the stars with Halfmoon creek drowning out my husband's snores. ;)

 Comments or Questions

We'll Dress for Wind!
12/30/2013 12:46
We're headed up there this was helpful. We'll dress warm!

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