Locate the Saint Vrain Glacier Trail, and measure from this point. This trail is single-track and is fairly easy to follow. The Saint Vrain Glacier Trail gradually meanders through grassy meadows, beautiful wildflowers and plenty of marshy tributaries. This stretch of trail is alive with wilderness ambiance, allowing for a very eye-appealing hike. After about 2 miles from the wilderness boundary, the trail drops down to the Middle Saint Vrain Creek and crosses to the south side. Your views of the amazing Elk Tooth Peak get better the closer you get. At 3 miles the trail runs into a beautiful, glassy, shallow lake. At about 3.5 miles you can finally see the steep, loose, 1,100 ft. gully that delivers you to Elk Tooth’s East Ridge.
Leave the trail and start the ascent from hell. This gully retains snow for most of June. There are two branches of this gully you can choose from. Either one is Class 3 and will challenge your route-finding skills. Gully #1 is steep loose scree with snow. Gully #2 is steep rocky ledges intermixed with some grass. I personally selected the gully #2 for the ascent and gully #1 for the descent. After picking your way up to the East Ridge, start the climb up large talus blocks towards the ridge crest, Class 2+. Once on the crest, follow the path of least resistance along the Class 3 ridge. This is a long ridge, so be sure the weather is holding up before heading out toward the summit. You can also bypass any difficulties on this ridge by dropping down to the left or right. Exposure on this ridge is minimal. Climb easy talus to the summit. Elk Tooth’s summit is quite an airy place. The drop-offs are considerable almost all the way around. This is one of those spots to get that one glory photo of you standing on a tiny ledge with 1000 ft. drop-offs below.
The view from the summit includes Mount Audubon, Navajo, and Apache Peaks in the distant south. You also get a good visual of the continuing Class 4, East Ridge that connects to Ogalalla Peak (13,138 ft.). By the way, that Class 4 ridge is the standard route up Ogalalla Peak. Descend the standard route.
If attempting in early June you will need an ice axe and crampons.
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