Lake County Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Elbert

Date: September 1, 2006
Author: John Birrer

At 0500, I began the ascent of Elbert in Colorado from the north and almost immediately got off the trail in the dark. I was supposed to have crossed a creek soon after departing from the parking lot but I did not cross over for quite some time. Knowing where the mountain was, I was not too concerned but I did have to eventually cross the creek and ascend a very steep 500 feet where I am sure the National Forest Service would have preferred I not travel. Many others had made the same mistake or purposely taken the same route that I did as evidenced by previous foot traffic.

I regained the right trail at the tree line after the short but difficult climb. Having taken altitude sickness medicine beginning the previous morning, I did quite well all the way to the top though the first false summit lowered my morale a bit. The second false summit was not bad as the actual summit was right behind it. I gained the high point in just under five hours and descended in three hours.

Again, going down proved hard on the old man. I followed the correct route all the way back and determined that getting "lost" that morning had actually taken about 1.5 miles off the ascent so I didn't feel too bad about my deficient navigating skills.