Start Elevation: 10,040 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,433 ft.
Elevation Gain: 4393 ft.
Round-trip Mileage: 9.00 mi (by the books)
TRIP REPORT:There are two things that stand out about a hike of Mt. Elbert. First is of course the reality of standing atop the highest point in the state of Colorado which is an admirable feat. Second is the reality of false summits. On Mt. Elbert - they are a bummer and they are great.
For us this hike began from the standard Mt. Elbert trailhead. We had our good friends Jim and Karen Laatsch with us for this hike. The first section of this trial meanders up through the forest. It begins on the Colorado Trail as did Mt. Massive. After the first mile of hiknig we hit the junction where left puts you on the Colorado Trail and right takes you up Mt. Elbert.
Its about another 1.3 miles till you begin to reach clearings and near the end of treeline. This is at just below 12000 feet. From here it is a long stroll up the northeast ridge of Elbert. This makes for a very straightforward hike after this point. Aside from the disappointments of the false summits, its all right in front of you.
The great crux of this route is the elevation. Even hitting 14000 feet, which is quite an accomplishment on most 14ers, still leaves you with another 400+ to go. The challenge of the terrain never went above class 1 for us. We took our time well, resting as necessary, on this stroll up Elbert. For Denny this was his second summit of Elbert. He had done it previously as his first 14er in 1989 with his brother Bob. For the rest of us, it was a happy first up this top-ranked summit and an enjoyable one to return to. The views were just amazing with Massive nearby and shots of the whole of the Sawatch range.