After my discouraging failure to summit Mt. of the Holy Cross via Angelica Couloir, I decided to come back in force and summit Colorado's Highest peak. All signs pointed to a gorgeous day, so I wasn't overly concerned about starting time. I figured the 9-mile round trip Northeast trail would take 6 hours.
View to the East emerging from treeline
First glimpse of the summit, I thought
Another view to the East, now well above treeline
The first part of the ascent meanders through the forest, seemingly with little concern for going up. HEY! I'm trying to climb a mountain here.. Well, I got my wish. Above treeline, and particularly the last 1000 ft. or so, the trail goes up. The loose, knee-deep snow augmented the fun. Still, with trekking poles it was not unmanageable.
View to the West
View to the South
View to the North
View to the Northeast
Overall I made excellent time and was greeted by the welcome sight of summit markers shortly after 10 am. I shared the peak with a Swede who had passed me on the way up. As expected the day was perfect. Cloudless skies offered unmatched visibility to the sea of peaks all vying for the top spot on this blue canvas. Despite the cold I frolicked on the summit for an hour eating my Pringles and futilely attempting to capture the magnitude of the views with my camera. Finally, when I could no longer feel my toes I begrudgingly left the summit.
Mt. Elbert seen from CO 11
Mt. Massive seen from CO 11
Mt. Elbert & Mt. Massive
I reached the trailhead again at 12:45 focused intently on a beer and enormous burger. Still, I was awestruck by the mountains on my way out and had to take a few more photos. This wasn't the most exciting 14er I've hiked, or the greatest accomplishment, or the most visually appealing, but damned if it wasn't the perfect day to admire creation from the top of the Rockies.