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Mount Elbert Tips

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Mount Elbert Tips

Postby beaudittl » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:43 pm

Hey all. I'm doing a cross country roadtrip this summer, and while in Colorado want to take a shot at Elbert. I'm from NY and have a lot of experience hiking in the Adirondacks, have lots of gear, and consider myself in good hiking shape. The only worry I have is how I will react to the altitude and the fact that I have limited time to acclimate. My question is, when should I try to climb? I know it can take 6 months to fully acclimate, but I mean after a day would it be reasonable? Or should I just wait until the last day (4)? Any other info would be greatly appreciated as well. Thanks a lot and happy trails!
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby Jow » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:07 pm

I live in NYC and I flew out and stayed in Denver for a couple days doing things which is like 5K feet, then the night before I stayed in Leadville which is closest town to base of mountain and thats at 10K feet, the next day climbed with no ill effects, just stay very hydrated and we took it kinda slow. I was nervous as well since i've never been that high but it was fine.
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby SarahThompson » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:15 pm

I definately wouldn't try it after just a single day in Colorado if you've never done something like that before. What is your schedule going to be like for those 4 days? Do you have the option of driving a paved, high road (like Mount Evans Road, Loveland Pass, etc) and getting out to stroll around/hang out for a while? Could you do a lower elevation hike first to help? Do you have the option of sleeping high (this can be very valuable)? If you had a day or two to do those things you'd probably then be in good shape to give Elbert a try. You might not feel great but you could most likely pull it off.

I've had flatlanders come visit me here and after staying at about 8,000 feet for several days and making a couple driving trips up high all 3 of them made the summit of Mount Sneffels, but two of them were feeling crappy by the time we got back to the car.
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby Bark Eater » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:16 pm

Spend a couple of nights at 10K ft. in Leadville before you do any heavy climbing and you should be fine. Poke around up Mosquito Pass the day before for added acclimation. Stay hydrated. Get an early start - Colorado is notorious for summer afternoon thunderstorms. Save the beer for afterwards.
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby SurfNTurf » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:35 pm

Turquoise Lake is right outside of Leadville and offers some beautiful car camping. Spend a night or two there, do some lower hikes around the area, and chug water. You should be fine.
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby PrairieDog » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:10 pm

I think everyone is affected differently by elevation. I live in Bismarck, North Dakota (~1700 ft.). Every summer I make a trip to Colorado. I drive to Breckenridge, Co (a bit over 9000 ft.) and spend the night with a friend. We get up early the next morning and summit something at or above 14000 ft. I have never experienced any altitude related issues. That doesn't mean that anyone else won't be affected - and it doesn't mean that I won't be affected on a future trip. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's hard to predict how you may react to that elevation until you've tried it. Just be prepared to turn around if you start to have altitude realted troubles.
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby MarkDidier » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:07 am

This subject comes up often on SP and in all the threads I have read the answer is always the same - everyone seems to respond differently to altitude. I wish I had a better answer for you than that but that seems to be the bottom line. On my half dozen trips to the Rockies I fortunately have had little trouble with altitude sickness - and I live in Indiana (< 1000 ft above sea level).

Based upon your OP it sounds like you will have 4 days in the area. If that is the case, I personally would recommend pushing Elbert back until day 3 to give you more time to acclimate (and you'll have a shot at it on day 4 if you get stormed out on day 3). There are plenty of great hikes in the Independence Pass area that will take you well above 12,000 ft, and easily to 13,000 ft. If you are that close, I would also recommend a short trip to the Maroon Bells Wilderness. There is plenty of hiking you can do (Buckskin Pass, West Maroon Pass) and the scenery is much more stunning than the Sawatch in summertime (IMHO).
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby jeffh25 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:15 am

If you're looking for a place to stay I've stayed at (winmarcabins.com‎) twice. Nothing fancy but they're nice, 20 min or less from all the trailheads and about 9,100 ft. Do make sure you get an early enough start to be coming down by noon though. If it's summer you're going to have thunderstorms.
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby CSUMarmot » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:26 am

Elbert Creek campground is a stones throw away from the standard trailhead and pretty good IMO
It would probably be best if you did it on the 3rd or 4th day, make sure to take it slow, stay hydrated ect.
Dammit kid get off mah lawn!!!
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby chicagotransplant » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:18 pm

Before I moved here full time I visited from Chicago to climb Grays and Torreys. My routine was to fly into Denver, hang out at 5000' that day (actually went to Six Flags and a Rockies game). Then the next day hiked around Red Rocks park and drove up to Silverthorne (9000') where I stayed the night. Then did a 2 day hike of Grays and Torreys via Chihuahua Gulch, where I packed in to 11k and camped and summited the next day, stayed that night in Silverthorne again before driving back to Denver and flying home.

That routine worked well for me, I did feel the altitude a bit going up Torreys, but felt great on Grays and was fully recovered back at 9k, but if I had it to do over, I would have just day hiked the mountains, avoiding the heavier pack. Sounds like a similar routine could work for you, spend a day in Denver, drive up to Leadville, and make the attempt on Elbert on Day 3 as a day hike.
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby beaudittl » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:36 pm

Hey guys, all of this info is great. I really appreciate all the feedback. Best of luck on your upcoming adventures. Thanks again and happy trails!
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Re: Mount Elbert Tips

Postby Bark Eater » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:15 pm

If it's still there, incredible place for steak or prime rib in Leadville called Winston's...as long as you like steak or prime rib because that's all they serve. Good pre- or post-climb dinner.
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