Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our Attempt to Hike Mt. Elbert

Last Saturday Kellyn and I flew to Denver for the weekend to visit Kyle and with a goal to get to the peak of the highest mountain in the Rockies and also the high point of Colorado. This mountain is about a 2 hour drive west of Denver, so we drove up Saturday night to get an early start on Sunday morning. We stayed in Twin Lakes, CO which is a small mountain town.

Our hotel was the Twin Lakes Inn, and it was originally constructed in 1879 as a stage shop/hotel on the dirt path to Independence Pass and Aspen.

Ironically, we were staying in the Mt. Elbert Room.
Once we arrived on Saturday, we decided to take a walk down by the lake.
 Kyle was nuts to actually get in the water.
 Some of the leaves were starting to was nice to see a little "fall."

This was the entire town.

They had a sheriff car parked by the side of the road...but it was just to get people to slow down. It worked for us as when we arrived I was making a u-turn and Kyle said to look out for the police car.

Having a little fun at the playground.
On Sunday morning we got up at 4am to get an early start on the mountain. We had been watching the weather all week, and it said partly cloudy for the morning, but then snow showers for the afternoon (at the peak). We figured it would take 6-8 hours round trip, so we wanted to be off the mountain by about noon or 1pm.
We made overnight oats for breakfast. They were so good and a perfect pre-hike breakfast.
Bundled up and ready to go. This was about 5:45am. It was 35 degrees when we started hiking, but a lot of these clothes came off within 10 minutes of getting going.
About a mile into the hike. You can slightly see the sunrise in the background.
Made it to the tree line. Notice the small amount of snow in the background. Also, that peak is the first false peak - it is not Elbert.

So far it was a pretty nice morning. It was probably around 8:30am here.
From the trailhead, it was about a 4,700 foot elevation gain and about 4.5 miles each way. This picture of Kellyn is at about 13,700 feet, so we had gone about 4,000 feet in elevation. This is as far as we got though. We talked to some guys who were on their way down, and they said it was really snowy at the top and slippery on the way down. There were a couple of groups ahead of us, but we watched the groups behind us turn around. Also, as you can see in this picture you can barely tell the path down as the snow was covering it fast. As much as we wanted to make it to the top, we (I) made the decision here to turn around as I didn't want to get stuck on the mountain. The weather reports were incorrect about timing of the storm, as we turned around sometime around 9:30am.

Almost back to the car after about 5 hours of hiking.
We didn't get to cross this 14er summit off the list, but it was still a nice trip and good to get away to a small town for 24 hours. Once we were finished hiking we drove back to Denver, took showers, went to dinner and then Kellyn and I slept on the plane ride back to Phoenix.

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