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  1. #1
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    Default Quickest route up Mt. Elbert?

    Hoping to summit and catch a 6:00 pm flight out of Denver...hoping to finish collegiate loop by mid day on 9th day hitch back to Leadville and get my rental by 4:00(closing time). Stay night at hostel or campground near trail head for a Elbert morning summit....any advice? Thx


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    This report says the NE Ridge is easy. However, that still seems like a pretty ambitious schedule.

    Years ago a friend and I did it via the Black Cloud Trail, with zero altitude acclimatization and it was definitely more than a dayhike. We camped at 12600 ft along the trail. Afternoon thunderstorms are the main worry. However, it sounds like you should be fairly well acclimated after doing the loop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    This report says the NE Ridge is easy. However, that still seems like a pretty ambitious schedule.

    Years ago a friend and I did it via the Black Cloud Trail, with zero altitude acclimatization and it was definitely more than a dayhike. We camped at 12600 ft along the trail. Afternoon thunderstorms are the main worry. However, it sounds like you should be fairly well acclimated after doing the loop.
    Am I misinformed? Only 4.5 miles to summit? I'm just checking but might not be realistic given the schedule...thx


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    Wouldnt quickest thing to do be to hit it while you were hiking the loop? Instead of after? Trails are shorter from CT than from a trailhead. Just make a longer day when cruising thru there. Or a couple longer days to make a window. Unless timing simply dont work for morning summit time. But if your already in trail shape and acclimated, it shouldnt be that big of a deal to knock out a 9 mile RT . Can be done by lunch with an early morning start. Just start conservatively early by headlamp and you definitely can do it. You can even be on top for sunrise if you want. Like a mt whitney thing.

    Im averse to running thru airports personally.

    Im a big believer in frequent flyer ticket for return. On united, I can get any available seat on plane , one way, with ff miles, with no lead time. Same day one way ticket might cost $500 on a flight, but still only 25k ff miles. Sometimes 12.5k No advance planning or fixed schedule needed. No stress. does cost $86 inside of 21 days though now. + baggage fee. This is really good flying from small airports and multiple connections, where cost is really prohibitive to pay for a ticket.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 07-09-2016 at 14:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    Am I misinformed? Only 4.5 miles to summit?
    Don't let mileage fool you. The vertical gain, the altitude, the weather...they'll all decide how long your hike's going to take. Start early, hike steady-fast and pray for minimal traffic on I-70 on the way back to the sprawl.

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    There are campgrounds right on Halfmoon Creek Road. Get a pre-dawn (as in 3 or 4 am) start. Summit (or turn around) by ten am, down by 1 pm, and you might make DIA by 3:30. One little problem past 10 am (including I-70 traffic, a slow descent, or TSA delays) and you won't make your flight--the risk is up to you to decide.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Wouldnt quickest thing to do be to hit it while you were hiking the loop? Instead of after? Trails are shorter from CT than from a trailhead. Just make a longer day when cruising thru there. Or a couple longer days to make a window.
    Agree. you walk right by a turnoff up the east ridge route, easily my favorite easy-peasy route. The NE ridge route is about the same effort, but not as scenic, less healthy forest, darker, etc (I've done the east ridge route about 20 times, the NE ridge, maybe 5).

    Trying to climb Elbert the day you fly home is asking for trouble, unless you start at about 3am or so, allowing a realistic 8 hours roundtrip. You also don't say what day of the week you're talking about. If it's a weekend, forget about it, your drive to Denver airport will be 5 hours, maybe more, maybe much more if on a Sunday. If a weekday, allow 3.5-4 hour drive.

    Here are 370 trip reports on Mt. Elbert. Keep in mind, most of these reports were written by 14er baggers, mostly Coloradans who climb all the time. Yes, you should be in good shape from your CW loop, but still, peak baggers can really crank. This 14ers.com website has all the info you ever wanted to know about climbing any 14er in Colorado.

    http://14ers.com/php14ers/tripmain.p...eak=Mt.+Elbert

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    Thx all for helpful info...ill be flying back on a Tuesday evening....i haven't got the data book yet only the Guthooks app so I need to check out MW and CR recs, I didn't realize Elbert wasn't that far above the loop and that the east ridge route intersects to loop.


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    Woops! Sorry, Salty, I forgot you were talking about the CW-E loop and wouldn't be walking right by the south Elbert trail.

    Since you're talking about a Tuesday, you might pull this off. As has already been said, start NLT about 4am, head up the east ridge route, figure 8 hours r/t, back to car at noon, Denver airport by 4, pushing it, but possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Woops! Sorry, Salty, I forgot you were talking about the CW-E loop and wouldn't be walking right by the south Elbert trail.

    Since you're talking about a Tuesday, you might pull this off. As has already been said, start NLT about 4am, head up the east ridge route, figure 8 hours r/t, back to car at noon, Denver airport by 4, pushing it, but possible.
    That's what I get in trusting the 2.5 drive time via google maps......


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    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    It took us 8 hrs round trip at a somewhat leisurely pace and 30 min at the summit.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

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    Are there any non-technical climbs on your hiking route?
    Wayne


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    Are there any good camp spots on the northern route? Depending on timing finishing collegiate loop (day 10)if I can get back to Leadville to pick up my rental before 4pm I could drive to the trail head and begin that evening and maybe catch sunrise at summit....downside would be carrying a loaded pack less food weight...


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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    Are there any good camp spots on the northern route? Depending on timing finishing collegiate loop (day 10)if I can get back to Leadville to pick up my rental before 4pm I could drive to the trail head and begin that evening and maybe catch sunrise at summit....downside would be carrying a loaded pack less food weight...


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    Good plan! Hike up to treeline, camp, summit and descend, easy to make before noon using this scheme.

    Excellent campsites along the east ridge route. None that I can think of along the NE ridge (what you call the northern route, I think), but there have to be some.

    I can provide you an exact camp spot position and elevation on the East ridge; we use this every winter for our annual CO mountain club Elbert climb (25+ years running, I've led it for about 12 years now). Please consider doing the east ridge vs. the NE ridge, it's a much nicer route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Good plan! Hike up to treeline, camp, summit and descend, easy to make before noon using this scheme.

    Excellent campsites along the east ridge route. None that I can think of along the NE ridge (what you call the northern route, I think), but there have to be some.

    I can provide you an exact camp spot position and elevation on the East ridge; we use this every winter for our annual CO mountain club Elbert climb (25+ years running, I've led it for about 12 years now). Please consider doing the east ridge vs. the NE ridge, it's a much nicer route.
    Sounds like plan.......CR you mind sending me trailhead location info. Is the TH at the Lakeview campground?...I'm getting mixed directions on a few sites..


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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    Sounds like plan.......CR you mind sending me trailhead location info. Is the TH at the Lakeview campground?...I'm getting mixed directions on a few sites..


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    The t/h is just past the Lakeview CG. Here are the directions from 14ers.com:

    "From U.S. 24 south of Leadville, take Colorado 82 west toward Twin Lakes. Drive about 4 miles and turn right onto the 24 road. Drive 1.2 miles up a hill to the main trailhead parking area (paved) on the left. This is the lower trailhead and 2WD vehicles should park here. Continue 50 feet past the lower TH and turn left on Forest Service road 125.1B (4WD). From here it's 1.8 miles to the upper trailhead. Walk or drive up the 4WD road to reach the start of the trail."

    I assume you'll be in a regular 2WD vehicle, meaning park at the main trailhead and walk the 1.8 miles extra, sorry.

    Get the hiking route info from 14ers.com:

    http://14ers.com/route.php?route=elbe2&peak=Mt.+Elbert

    The camp I'm talking about is about 1/4 mile before you leave the trees, at about 11,500. Lots of flat spots to your right. I have a waypoint at: 39.11519 N, 106.40816 W

    We use this camp in winter, when of course there is an infinite supply of snow for water. You will have to carry from your last small creek crossing at about 10,800, OR there is a creek (the same creek) about 0.2 miles down a steep hill from this camp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    The t/h is just past the Lakeview CG. Here are the directions from 14ers.com:

    "From U.S. 24 south of Leadville, take Colorado 82 west toward Twin Lakes. Drive about 4 miles and turn right onto the 24 road. Drive 1.2 miles up a hill to the main trailhead parking area (paved) on the left. This is the lower trailhead and 2WD vehicles should park here. Continue 50 feet past the lower TH and turn left on Forest Service road 125.1B (4WD). From here it's 1.8 miles to the upper trailhead. Walk or drive up the 4WD road to reach the start of the trail."

    I assume you'll be in a regular 2WD vehicle, meaning park at the main trailhead and walk the 1.8 miles extra, sorry.

    Get the hiking route info from 14ers.com:

    http://14ers.com/route.php?route=elbe2&peak=Mt.+Elbert

    The camp I'm talking about is about 1/4 mile before you leave the trees, at about 11,500. Lots of flat spots to your right. I have a waypoint at: 39.11519 N, 106.40816 W

    We use this camp in winter, when of course there is an infinite supply of snow for water. You will have to carry from your last small creek crossing at about 10,800, OR there is a creek (the same creek) about 0.2 miles down a steep hill from this camp.
    Don't doubt the capabilities of a 2WD RENTAL CAR!!!. Thx for all the great info!!!


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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    The t/h is just past the Lakeview CG. Here are the directions from 14ers.com:

    "From U.S. 24 south of Leadville, take Colorado 82 west toward Twin Lakes. Drive about 4 miles and turn right onto the 24 road. Drive 1.2 miles up a hill to the main trailhead parking area (paved) on the left. This is the lower trailhead and 2WD vehicles should park here. Continue 50 feet past the lower TH and turn left on Forest Service road 125.1B (4WD). From here it's 1.8 miles to the upper trailhead. Walk or drive up the 4WD road to reach the start of the trail."

    I assume you'll be in a regular 2WD vehicle, meaning park at the main trailhead and walk the 1.8 miles extra, sorry.

    Get the hiking route info from 14ers.com:

    http://14ers.com/route.php?route=elbe2&peak=Mt.+Elbert

    The camp I'm talking about is about 1/4 mile before you leave the trees, at about 11,500. Lots of flat spots to your right. I have a waypoint at: 39.11519 N, 106.40816 W

    We use this camp in winter, when of course there is an infinite supply of snow for water. You will have to carry from your last small creek crossing at about 10,800, OR there is a creek (the same creek) about 0.2 miles down a steep hill from this camp.
    Rob
    How far is this camp spot from the trailhead off the 4wd road? I'll try to get a 4x4 for return leg to Denver.


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    Rob
    How far is this camp spot from the trailhead off the 4wd road? I'll try to get a 4x4 for return leg to Denver.


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    OK, so what is your new itinerary the day you want to climb Elbert? I suggested camping at treeline earlier because you had a flight out of Denver airport that afternoon. If this is no longer the case, you could just dayhike it. But it is fun to camp up at treeline as well.

    In any case, driving the 4WD road saves at most a little less than 2 miles (each way). IIRC, the first half of that road is pretty easy, then there are big dip/drainage crossings that are much rougher; I probably wouldn't drive my 4WD F150 past about half way.

    It has been quite a few years since I climbed this in the summer (my wife and I lead a CMC winter climb up this route every January), so my recollection of summer conditions is rather vague, sorry. I think we drove maybe a mile up the road last time, parked and climbed from there.

    In the winter, walking the entire road, it takes about 2.5-3 hours to reach the treeline-area camp. This is of course on snowshoes about half of the way; we can usually walk the road w/o them, and put them on usually at the "summer t/h" at the end of the road, a big Kiosk. some years the powder from there is d-e-e-p.

    So in summer, starting from about a mile up the road I'm guessing about 1:45 or so to treeline camp, perhaps a bit less. From there (treeline camp), we summit and return to camp in about 5 hours, so in summer, figure about 4.

    You'll cross a seasonal drainage at about 11K where you might find water. If there is no water there, you can find it SW of camp, down into a drainage. If there is water, I'd tank up at that 11K creek, rather than schlep down into that drainage from treeline camp.

    All being said, if your new itinerary allows you to just dayhike it, that's probably my new recommendation. Figure 7.5-8 hours r/t to be safe, again, from maybe a mile up the dirt road.

    Is all this vague enough?

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    I fly out September 18th head to Leadville start hiking the 19th and plan on finishing midday the 10th day pick up the rental car by 4 in Leadville and drive back to Elbert trailhead, then hike that evening up the tree line camp. Next morning summit then return to car. If time permits I'll stop back by the Leadville hostel or campground for shower then drive to Denver. Plan to be driving to Denver by 12:30 for 6pm flight Thursday evening flight.......what are your thoughts on leaving some gear at tree line campsite while I summitt? I.e. Tent, quilt sleepwear etc??



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