Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  11/02/2008
Modified:  11/16/2008
Date Climbed:   11/01/2008
Author:  unclegar
 Nice November day on Elbert (NE Ridge Route)  

Mt. Elbert – Standard Route (NE Ridge )
November 01, 2008 – unclegar

I was thinking of climbing Harvard/Columbia on Saturday when another member sent me a PM saying he was thinking he was done for the year but since the weather was predicted to be so nice he was ready to go again! He wanted to keep the hike down to 10 miles or less so we decided to go for Mt. Elbert. When approaching the NE ridge trailhead our goal of the day was in view.

Mt. Elbert from the road to the trailhead.

When we arrived at the TH, there were no other cars which kind of surprised me since it was Saturday. I typically hike during the week and expect less people on weekdays.

We started from the sign at the trailhead at 7:40am.

Looking back at the bridge. The area before it was a sheet of ice!

We crossed the bridge and soon we were into the switchbacks. The snow was on and then off and then on the trail the entire time.

The early switchbacks had some snow.

The pitch turned steep in a hurry. Of course, with elevation gain of 4700 ft. in about 5 miles I thought it might look something like this.

Another shot of the steep trail pitch.

The broken Elbert trail sign. Stay right. Notice the trail was clear of snow again.

Looking ahead - the false summits hide the real summit.

There was a break in the woods after a while.

Back in the woods and back in the snow.

It was a beautiful day and we did find the wildlife to be pretty friendly too.

Above treeline the recurring pitch was back along with the recurring snow. Don't get a false sense of accomplishment with the false summits. There is still a lot of work beyond this!

Looking up the trail - the snow on the trail was usually avoidable.

The steep trail continues toward a false summit.

Almost there! Not.

There was a large cairn on a flat area just before the true summit (in the background).

The graffiti covered pole on the summit with impressive looking La Plata just to the right of it.

I don't usually include summit pics of myself but decided to allow my true identity to be revealed! This is, by the way, the high point of my climbing career. The highest person in Colorado; possibly in the 48 states!

View from the summit. Massive was...well, massive.

Another summit view.

Old familiar pitch on the way down. Ouch!

This hike really took it out on my knees! I was almost down to a crawl toward the bottom due to my left knee. We finished in 9 hours exactly. We stayed on the summit quite a while and due to my knee we came down much slower than expected. Couldn't ask for a better day in November though!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Friendly Bird
11/07/2008 16:04
I can‘t believe the bird landed on your hands I‘ve never seen something like that before. Awesome pictures!!


11/08/2008 21:49
There was a pair of these birds that followed us through the woods because I was eating nuts the entire time. If you want one of these guys to land on your hand, it helps to have them first coveting your snack, then having a macadamia nut in your hand doesn‘t hurt either!


Beautiful pictures
11/09/2008 15:32
I really like the snow covered peaks in the distance.


11/17/2008 03:32
They don‘t do it justice. It was beautiful in every direction. We met a guy from Louisville and his dog. They were just out ”getting some exercise”. He had done all 14ers and knew what every peak we asked about was named. Pretty impressive. The dog scarfed a cliff bar and they were off!

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