Weekend on Colorado's highest.

Weekend on Colorado's highest.

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 24, 2004
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Fall

Denver to Leadville

Mount Elbert, ColoradoElbert as seen from timberline.
Mount Elbert is the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains of North America. It is also the highest of the Colorado's 14ers, and the second highest mountain in the contiguous United States, after Mount Whitney in California.

I got off from work at night and drove on I-70 West. Got to the town of Leadville and then headed to the South Halfmoon trailhead. I spend the night in my truck, waiting for the first morning light to come.

It was a nice quiet night. I could see shooting stars and their visible path left from them as they enter the atmosphere. A beautiful and amazing scenery during the whole morning. I felt so lucky of being there and having that kind of entertainment from the rear window of my truck.


Mount Elbert, ColoradoElbert's snow fields.
Mount Elbert, Summit Ridge.Summit ridge.
I started hiking up at 5:00 am. from the TH. It was an easy hike through a pretty well maintained trail. Signals showing the way up to the mountain were well posted at every corner along the trail. It started getting clear and the first sunrays hit the northwestern slopes of the mountain. I reached timberline after an hour of hiking.

There was a nice view from up there. The sun illuminating the whole Sawatch Range and western Colorado.

I continued climbing up, on rocky terrain and the on a trail that switch backed from time to time. I reached the first season's snow fields which softened as the sun was rising behind the Front Range Mountains.


Mount Elbert, ColoradoSummit (4,401 m/14,440 ft)
The views from up there were getting even better as I was gaining altitude. Shortly, I was hiking on very soft snow, but just for a short time 'cause there were very good marked foot prints from prior ascensions.

Three and a half hours later, after leaving the trailhead I reached the summit ridge, fully covered by soft snow. I kept climbing up towards the summit, until finally made it at 9:30 am.

There was an amazing view from the summit (4,401 m/14,440 ft). I was on Colorado's highest point. Maroon Bells were at sight at the distance as well as the snow covered La Plata Peak (my next goal) to the south.

A thunderstorm was approaching pretty fast, so I rushed myself down towards timberline. I felt a bit safer there, but continued hiking down the trail until I got to the trailhead 2 hours later.


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