I came up from the deserts of Az this year resolved to make this my first of hopefully four or five mountains in a short trip. As excuses, list no acclimatization and with that, I hope my slow speed on this trek will be excused:
Rise ahead of my alarm and elect to go with “cold rations”, just a Cliff and water and then off from the TH
0517—Start Elbert TH, not the first up on the North Trail. The first part of the trail is an easy walk through the forest in the morning twilight. This is a “chunk” of the Colorado Trail.
0550—Reached the Elbert Fork and the uphill climb begins. Still in the trees.
0650—Treeline. It is a bright and clear morning at this height but the valleys below are completely covered in clouds or fog.
0820—Just below what I thought was the last big climb to the summit. Hands are cold.
0905—A long steep climb frustrated by the topping of a false summit. The cloud cover in the valley is blowing out of the valleys and Crystal Lakes are visible.
0945—Summit! Half or so of the little plateau is snow bound and I cannot locate the actual GS marker. Cumulus clouds are seen sailing in on a wind from the West and I am alone up here. It is a glorious view.
1005—Starting down. I meet people on the way.
1120—Treeline. My knees and hips ache.
1219—The fork in the trail (where the summit trail meets the Colorado). I am sort of zombie-fied.
1236—Trailhead and ready for relocation to the next kickoff point but first, some coffee!
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