Date: August 30, 2006
Climbers: Jody (solo)
Info: I started out before first light, because I was anxious to get on the trail. The trail was steep right from the trailhead sign, and stayed that way pretty much all the way to the top. It was a long way through the trees, but as soon as I was above treeline I ran into about 10 guys who had camped the night before and were making the trek up Elbert on the NorthEast ridge just like I was. From this point I could see what I thought was the summit. I found out later that this route up Mt. Elbert has about 3 false summits; nothing like building up your hope then realizing, “crap I still have a mile and a half to go.” There was lots of fresh snow on the mountain, and I had the “pleasure” of being the first to cross some of the new snowfields. I’ll bet people in Leadville could hear my sigh of relief when I reached the “actual” summit, but the long climb (4700 feet of elevation gain in 4.5 miles) was well worth it. From the top I had a fantastic view of the Twin Lakes, Leadville, the 10 guys that I had passed earlier (still 45 mins from the top), and lots of other 14ers. The trip down was quick and uneventful, but upon getting back to the trailhead I had the pleasure of meeting a nice guy named Dan who worked for CFI (Colorado Fourteeners Initiative), an organization made up of mostly volunteers that maintain 14er trails. After thanking Dan and his colleagues for their hard work on the mountains, I headed back home for a well-earned nap.