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Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

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Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby StumblingBear » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:49 pm

I plan on making my 3rd attempt on Elbert in a couple of weeks. Last 2 tries were the North rt but am considering the Black Cloud this time. This will be an over night trip and was wondering if there are camp sites just before the trail climbs the ridge at about11,750? A contributing factor on my failed attempt was running out of water, camping at this area should mean a water source and as I'm coming from sea level a good break to get acclimated. The climb the next day would start right off with the serious elevation gain while I'm fresh. Any suggestions, observations or advice, greatly appreciated. Stumblingbear
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby Kiefer » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:24 pm

There's no real camping spots below the ridge. I suppose you could throw up a small bivy tent and camp on the trail since it's basically just an old mining cart grade. But for something a bit larger, camp at the TH. There's some firepits and near the creek, a few good spots.
Hike high, to the ridge the first day, scope things out, descend and climb the next day. Climb high, sleep low mantra.
Parking is VERY limited at Black Cloud and the turn off from hwy. 82 is easily missed.

G'luck! It's a nice route that doesn't see people.
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby coldfoot » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:06 am

Coming from sea level, acclimatize before any major elevation gain, esp. with a full pack. Sleeping near the TH is a good way to do this. (Lack of) acclimatization may be why you ran out of water on the standard route.
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby mconnell » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:39 am

I was up there today and there are places to camp where you are talking although they are a bit of work to get to. Before the trail heads up to the ridge, you go continue to follow the stream towards the base of Bull Hill. There are several places between the trail and the tarns that would make nice camping spots. Downside is that you need to go a ways from the trail for the nicer spots, and the terrain is pretty rugged with lots of loose rocks and low bushes.

Edit: As Kiefer said, there are not many people on that route. Today, there were a total of 6 people on that route although the top of Elbert had over 30 people. Easy to miss the trailhead: Go about 10.4 miles from highway 24 and then watch very carefully. It is a small road that looks like many of the driveways around there.
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby displacedchzhead » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:07 am

A good reference point for the Black Cloud TH is Mount Elbert Lodge, which is maybe 100 yards W of this TH. So, if you're coming from Leadville/Twin Lakes and you see the lodge, you've gone too far. I agree, it is easy to miss this trail from Hwy 82.
The TH is an awesome place to car camp. We were there on a Wednesday night, late June, and fortunately had the place all to ourselves.
My son and I (both flatlanders) climbed Mt Elbert from this TH four years ago, but it was after several days of hiking and climbing at lower altitudes. I doubt we could've summited with only one day of acclimating.
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby LadySapphira » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:38 pm

I love Black Cloud!

Personally, I would just camp down the road, and leave the tent in your car the day you hike. I stayed at Twin Peaks Campground before another hike and loved it... its super close to the Black Cloud and to some other peaks too. But I agree there seemed to be a lot of flat areas before the climb up the ridge... you should be able to find something. Not sure what the rules are on the hike though.
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby highlandvillager » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:54 am

I really enjoyed the Black Cloud route and recommend it. You'll have far less company on the trail than on the north side. You could camp near the old cabin site (and next to a stream) around 11k, but unless you have some acclimation prior, it seems like it would be better to sleep at or near the trailhead. That way you would avoid carrying a heavy pack halfway up the mountain, and would probably sleep better. Do avoid the alternate descent route unless you enjoy hiking under unstable talus and negotiating lots of water obstacles.
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby mconnell » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:01 pm

I don't know what the "alternative descent route" is, but I would agree with highlandvlillager. I climbed Bull Hill on the way down and headed straight down towards the trail from the top of Bull Hill. It would have been easier and faster to climb back up to the trail, go over South Elbert and follow the trail.
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby StumblingBear » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:14 pm

I thought by now I would be on Elbert but life gets in the way....had an uncle pass so made a mad dash to PA and returned yesterday. Back to the climb: THANKS! to all for the info on the Black Cloud Route I am going try for around the 17 Aug, I will spend 3 days driving from sea level to 10,000 ft then make for the summit. I no longer can do the dash from trail to summit and back in one day hence the over night and I want to enjoy it. I've got my base pack wt to 16 lbs so if I decide to go the old Northern route I would add 16 lbs of water, that should do it. Last time I got to tree line(approx12,000ft) and felt the altitude but ate, hydrated and slept and felt great the next morning. Its not only the altitude its acclimating to a dry climate from a humid one, the 3 day trip will help there too. As you may have seen, on that first attempt there was a white out and vis was about 15 feet. I think I got to about 200 feet from the summit, I want to clase that gap this time. Thanks again!!
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby spiderman » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:20 am

Hi StumblingBear,

How many state HPs will Elbert be for you? The Black Cloud Trail is pretty and infinitely better than the North IMHO. We did it as a two day trip and had a perfect campsite that made the summit day quite reasonable. If you are going on August 17/18 and plan to go on this trail, send us a PM. We are not quite sure our plans for that weekend, but have a decent chance of being available.

Cheers, Doug and Arthur
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby displacedchzhead » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:01 am

StumblingBear, I just noticed your location is Kiln...any recent Brett Favre sightings??
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby rockymtnjim » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:08 am

gonna do this route sunday, weather permitting. we'll camp near the trailhead and get an early start. I live in Estes Park and have only done one other 14er, last week at Mt Bierstadt. hot tub will be required sunday night... :)

good luck!
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby StumblingBear » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:17 am

displacedchzhead wrote:StumblingBear, I just noticed your location is Kiln...any recent Brett Favre sightings??

NOPE, I think he has a place west of Hattiesburg, MS now. In the 2.5 years I've been here I've not seen him, of course I don't know where I would as there isn't much here.
I did a phone order once and the person asked if the was a BIG monument to Brett here, I said the same thing, there is NOTHING big here.
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Re: Elbert-Black Cloud Rt

Postby StumblingBear » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:22 am

It was today I finally got a plan together. I can't leave til the 17th which puts me at the Mt Monday(slim chance for Sunday). Still haven't made up my mind but Black Cloud looks good. Once again thanks to all you SPers, its what makes the site GREAT!
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