Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  06/27/2006
Date Climbed:   06/24/2006
Author:  ousooner919
 Elbert‘s East Ridge On a Beautiful Day  

We arrived at the trailhead at the end of the 4x4 road at about 11 pm on Friday night the 23rd. Camped at a pulloff just short of the trailhead...TOTAL seclusion. I doubt there was another human within a mile of us that night; we didn‘t see any other campers anywhere near the road on our way up. The 4x4 road isn‘t bad, by the way; only one rough spot with some sizeable rocks that could be trouble for some stock 4x4s, and only one shallow stream to ford right before you get to the trailhead. There are other rough spots, but only lower-clearance 4x4s would be at risk. My 98 LR Discovery made it with no trouble.

Up at 5 for a nice early start, with a light breakfast, then off we went. The brief description in the Roach guide, as well as the description on this site, were very good. Of course, with the clear trail the whole way up, there really was no trouble. I took my wife for her first 14er.

The weather was AWESOME and the trail was in great shape. I was a bit astonished at how steep it was, though I guess I shouldn‘t have been; 4,000 vertical ft in just under 4 miles is pretty steep, and there aren‘t that many flat areas where you can get your second wind as you hike. Lots of pikas, and a few marmots playing along the low sections near the trail and in the rocks. Snow was visible near the summit, but there was none at all on the trail. Since my wife was new to this, we took it easy; 5-1/2 hours up for us, with frequent breaks. Spent about an hour on the summit, then headed down. Very crowded, perhaps 40-50 people consistently the entire time. Oh, and for all you dog lovers, there are at least 10-12 dogs that had ascended as well.

Now, down was much easier than up...only took about an hour and 45 or 50 to get down. As a testament to the excellent weather, there were minimal clouds in the sky even after we got all the way back down, and there were many parties still ascending the entire way down (and this was around 1pm or so).

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