Route Description: Climbed up the South trailhead. Skied from the summit to the bottom of the Box Creek Cirque.
Data: Began hiking from the road at 6:30 am, just below the Mt. Elbert South trailhead (10,440 ft). The estimated starting elevation is 10,400 ft. Reached the summit (14,433 ft) at 10:30 am. Skied from summit to the bottom of the cirque which is at about 12,800' or lower. Hiked back up from Cirque to reach the trial. Hiked trail rest of the way down. Returned to car around 1:30 pm. Total vert climbed: 4,200 ft. Total vert skied: 1,600'. Total time: 7 hours.
Relevant Links: TGR Trip Report
Frank and I camped near the Mt. Elbert trailhead the night before our hike. We were rudely woken up in the middle of the night to music playing... Pink Floyd to be exact. The Pink Floyd groupies had arrived quite late and had decided to set up camp next to us. When the sun rose the music was still playing. It's ashame that Pink Floyd had to be used to disturb my sleep. We were to start our day with only 2 hours of sleep. I told myself that if our Pink Floyd camping neighbors were asleep when we returned I'd sing the Brady Bunch song at the top of my lungs :)
We began our hike around 6:30 in the morning. We took Mt. Elbert trail to the summit. Near the bottom the trail was quite steep and passed through a section of forest where hundreds of trees had recently fallen. It was also full of mosquitos.... and we weren't even in the Mosquito Range!:)
we made good time with our hike at first, but the lack of sleep caught up with us near the top, where we felt sluggish. We boot packed the entire way up the mountain, and we were able to follow the summer trail most of the way.
We reached the summit around 10:30 am, where the views were spectacular, especially of La Plata. La Plata was screaming my name... and that became the fourteener I wished to tackle next.
We skied fromt he summit and then made our way over to the Box Creek Cirque. The skiing was pretty fun down the Box Creek Cirque, but it was pretty short. We were able to ski to the bottom of the cirque.
From the bottom of the cirque we had to hike our way back up to the ridge to meet up with the summer trail. We hiked the trail the rest of the way down. The hike down was pretty quick and relatively easy, and we were back to our campsite by 1:30 pm. It was hot, so we sat in the shade drinking beer for awhile before parting ways to go home. While sitting in the shade, a Texan chatted with us for awhile, and bragged to us that he's climbed Mt. Elbert 40+ times, the SAME way each time. Wow, I wish I was him :) :)
On my way back to the Front Range, I stopped along HWY 24 to take a picture of Mt. Elbert. A horse came to say hello as I was taking my picture. Hence, the photo of Elbert with the horse in it. I pet the horse for awhile, but eventually, like all things, I had to say goodbye.
Click for a larger view.
Looking back up at our ski route down the Box Creek Cirque
View of our ski route. Red marks the line we skied. Green marks our hike out of the Box Creek Cirque.
Photos of me skiing taken by Frank Konsella using my camera.
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