Mount Elbert is definitely a very interesting option for climbers of all skills an interests. It is the highest of all the Lake County mountains, the highest in the Rockies and in Colorado. It is also the second highest of contiguous US. The problem is that when you ask someone that lives outside of Colorado, nobody really knows Mount Elbert. This is a huge loss since there is a spectacular view that you are missing. You have moderate terrain taking you to the summit so we should also mention that almost any person with a reasonable fitness level can enjoy what the mountain offers.
Mount Elbert Facts
Mount Elbert is located in the Colorado Rockies Sawatch Range. It was named after Samuel Elbert, a controversial Colorado governor in 1873. The very first peak summit was done by H.W. Stuckle in the year 1874. Ever since that time, thousands of climbers enjoyed Elbert.
During the seventies, some people thought that Mt. Massive was seen as better than Mt Elbert, even questioning height. The people actually stacked rocks in order to raise Massive’s summit. Even so, Mt. Elbert was proven to be higher. According to a recalculation done in 2002, Mount Elbert was proven to stand up at 14,440 feet. Even so, the old survey recorded elevations are used by hikers.
Main Summit Routes
Mount Elbert brings in 5 main routes that take you to the summit. The two most popular and easy to access ones are highlighted below. Just like with any other peak, it is important that you think about personal ability, altitude and weather when you decide what route to take.
- South Mount Elbert Trailhead
- North Mount Elbert Trailhead
Other Facts Of Interest About Mount Elbert
There are no fees or permits that are necessary to hike, climb or park in Mount Elbert. Just as with most of the high peaks in Colorado, the best time to visit is between June and September. This is the official summer climbing season. However, during winter, the experienced mountaineers can also enjoy a wonderful experience. You will appreciate the fact that this is also a great ski mountaineering destination as the dangers of avalanches are really low.
During winter, it is a really good idea to consider the south or north routes. You will have to start early and have around 6 to 8 hours in order to both climb and then descent. The afternoon thunderstorms are not a huge problem but it is always a great idea to be sure that you prepare for all possible weather conditions.
The East Ridge route is a great winter route as there is zero avalanche danger. Even so, you should never underestimate the winter mountain. You would have an 11 miles round trip and in many cases you will have to spend the night. The day will be really long. In many parts of the route, you will not be able to see the trail because of the snow. However, there are different ways to know exactly where to go.