Peak(s):  Mt. Elbert  -  14,433 feet
Date Posted:  07/15/2010
Modified:  08/24/2010
Date Climbed:   07/13/2010
Author:  nomadelmundo
 Bring BUG SPRAY (east ridge standard)  

It was a beautiful summer day, took my 64 year old mother from Louisiana and my pumped up wife. I figured it was the easiest of all the 14ers that my mom could have a shot at it making it.

We were suppose to leave at 4am from Colorado Springs, but due to my wife being on-call and had to go in the hospital from 1-4am, we did not leave until 545 am and got to Twin Lakes right about 830am.

Even though I have a pretty bad arss 2001 4WD 4Runner, I could not cross the pile of boulders right before the small river, about .7 miles to the kiosk / trial head in the description. Had to park just next to the rocks. (After reading on Yotatech, I realized I am just a suburbia idiot who didn't know how to operate by truck, not putting into 2L and locking the differentials or is it unlocking? so confusing...)

We hit the trail ~ 930am, it was wonderful hiking through the aspens, but no one every mentioned biting flies! Not wearing sleeves and having shorts on I was stung, bitten and being eaten alive while waiting for my mom to take breaths every 100 steps. So either be hot in the woods or bring some BUG SPRAYS!

About 1130 am, we barely made through the tree line, realizing we were way past our schedule as my poor mom spent 5 mins hiking and 10 mins resting. So we (my husky, wife and I) had agreed to ditch her at my mom's own request at a nice clearing about 11,500 where there weren't too many flies buzzing around ~ 2 miles into the trail with plenty of water, food, and clothing.

My wife picked up speed quickly and I was trailing her most of the time taking video clips and photos.

We were averaging 2 miles / hr and hit about 13,000 feet and only 2 miles to go & < 1500 feet of elevation to gain, but she got spooked out by some ugly clouds & psyching herself out looking at some sharp bluffs, which we weren't headed to. I think she was just mentally exhausted after not sleeping the night and wanting to make sure my mom was okay hanging out by herself. She turned back around 1230pm. I pressed on and made to the peak with my trusted husky, Maximus, named after The Gladiator ~ 130pm as the cloud thinned out and the view became stunning...

I took about 20 minutes to enjoy the view and started running down to catch up to the 2 most important women in my life. Now my husky was no longer leading the pack but trailing me. Saw lots of marmots going down, did you know they chirped like little birds?

~ 230 pm I caught up with my wife and mom around 1.5 mile trail mark and we got back to the car just before 4pm. My mom was a tough cookie for trying it and my wife was just hard core and a gem in helping my mom. Max the husky now has three 14ers under his collar

PS. If anyone who lives along the Front Ranges especially near Colorado Springs / Castle Rock area and share similar ambition of completing all the 14ers and want to share a ride / overnight trip to conquer some of the Elks and San Juans, PM me!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Doctor No

02/05/2011 00:22
What a gorgeous Husky!


11/30/2010 17:28
so many people commented on how pretty he is... yes, I am proud of him... he's actually, I am guessing his DNA make up: by his demeanor and phenotype, he's 1/2 Siberian husky and 1/2 white shepard, otherwise forget about letting him off-leash.

Here's another pic of Maximus on summit of Mt Elbert


Oh bug off!
07/24/2010 21:37
Thanks for the bug warning! Nice to know before getting there.


Beautiful photos!
07/29/2010 06:51
What type of camera were you using? How busy was it on a Tuesday?


11/30/2010 17:28
thanks! I use "Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1" a point & shoot camera with awesome zoom LEICA lens, then post processed in iPhoto. I set all my pocket cameras on ISO 80-100 under manual setting. The Marmot photos were on fully zoomed in at 12X. My old Canon Powershots did not achieve such a good resolution.
( I also carry a Canon HF100 camcorder to film some of the panoramic scenes at the summit.)
Portability to me is the more important to me than carrying a hulking but superior quality SLR which I never could quite permit to buy. Guess, I still prefer a minimalist approach to photography started during my back-packing days across Europe and Latin America.

I believe we did go there on a weekday, no traffic at all and took the the south trail head approach. There were only ~ 10-12 vehicles parked near the trail head (only 2-3 actually made it past the large boulders) and I pretty much saw everyone return from the peak along the trail because we started so late and went so slowly, I say there were perhaps ~20 total on this approach, perhaps another 20-30 from the other standard approach, and most people scattered quickly when the ugly clouds came in... I met a priest at the summit who took some of the photos for me. On the way back we met like 30 people from Austin Texas part of some outdoor outreach program with huge backpacks full of camping equipments, and they were exhausted at mile marker 1, I shouted to them Hook'em Horns!

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