Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  03/14/2007
Modified:  05/13/2013
Date Climbed:   03/11/2007
Author:  benners
 Mount Elbert Winter Snowboard Descent   

Peak: Mount Elbert, Sawatch Range
Date Climbed: March 11, 2007
Group: Chris Buck (from and Myself
Route: East Ridge w/ descent of the Box Creek Cirque

After talking with Chris the previous night, we decided to give Elbert a shot. I left Boulder at 3:30am and arrived at the South Elbert TH parking lot at 5:30. Chris pulled up fifteen minutes later and we drove about two miles up the road and woke up Will from, he had camped for the night. Chris and I packed up and left around 6:15am. We hiked 1.8 miles to the Elbert TH and continued on for an hour or so, the trail was nicely packed from the dozens of people who had tread before us the previous weekend, thanks guys!

The sun poking through the trees an hour into the hike

Around 11,700ft. the East Ridge rose steadily in front of us. At this point we ran into Will again, he had caught up with us and ended up continuing with us to the summit.

Chris hiking around 11,500ft.

The temperature was perfect, not a cloud in the sky either and only a slight breeze. The day was amazing. For a while Chris and I were able to shed down to our base layer.

Taking a break on the East Ridge

We hiked our way up to around 12,500ft. and got our first look at the Box Creek Chutes. They appeared pretty daunting at first glance (to me at least).

The Box Creek Chutes

After discussing possible lines we continued on and reached the summit around 12:30pm. Along the way we also ran into Carlisle from who tagged along with us.

Carlisle, Will, and Chris arriving at the top of the Rockies

The four of us spent about 35 minutes on the summit, taking photos and talking about mountains (imagine that) and other fun stuff. The entire Elk range could be seen to the west very clearly as well as many Sawatch fourteeners and most of the Front, Mosquito, and Tenmile ranges.

The four of us on the summit, La Plata Peak can be seen back left

After taking a picture of Chris with his Oxia Bottled Oxygen (he wanted a promotional shot for the product) we said goodbye to Will and Carlisle and strapped on our snowboards. We boarded off the exact summit to the top of the Box Creek Cirque (about 600 feet below the summit) and assessed the avy danger. After agreeing that it seemed fine we picked our lines. I chose a chute to skiers right and took it. The top of the chute was very steep for about fifty feet and then the slope eased up a bit. Chris managed to snap one shot of me from up top.

Me near the bottom of my line

Once I was down Chris took his line, he started towards the middle of the chutes and ended up taking a more narrow line than he would have preffered but he still loved it.

Chris in the chute

Chris coming out of the chute near the bottom of his run

The snow was perfect, not hard at all but not soft enough to give too much. Both lines descended roughly 1000 feet from 13,900ft. to 12,900ft.

Looking up at my line from the bottom

Both lines from the bottom, mine is in red and Chris' is in blue

After we regrouped at the bottom of the chutes we had to ascend 800 feet to regain the East Ridge. Chris and I then were able to snowboard virtually the entire way back to the car which was very nice. We arrived back at the car around 4:00pm and met up with Will and Carlisle who were just leaving. The entire round trip took about ten hours for Chris and I.

One last look at Elbert from Leadville

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Avy Danger
02/05/2011 00:22
You mentioned that the avy conditions seemed fine. What exactly did you do to assess the danger? Did you look at the snow layers? We are thinking of hitting the same line and were wondering how stable the snow is right now.

Great report and congrats on an awesome line.


RE: Avy Danger
11/30/2010 17:28
Thanks! It was a lot of fun, Chris was very knowledgeable about avy danger too which was nice. Overall we found the snow pack to be fairly consolidated. On this day we decided that to try to hit shaded lines (although Chris missed the line he was shooting for so he ended up riding in the sun) as the day had heated up rapidly. We also knew there had not been much new snow in the area the past week (thanks to Carlisle's report) and there was little evidence of wind loading (although we did note some on other slopes on adjacent mountains that day). We also looked at how the snow behaved above the chutes by making several hard stops with our boards, noting that this caused sluffing but not much else. We also made sure to take different lines just in case. I would say watch out for new snowfall and consistent below freezing temperatures in the area before your trip, and maybe try to hit the chutes earlier in the day rather than later. I think that about covers it.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.