North Mt. Elbert Trail 8-4-04

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      [Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum]
      [By: Alan Southern on August 8 2004 at 5:38 PM]

      My brother and I tackled our first 14,000 peak today and the seventh high point in seven days. The day before we had climbed Wheeler Peak in New Mexico and our bodies were a little stiff. We spent the night before at the Sugar Loafin campground and were at the trail head by 6:30 in the morning. We did some stretching, readied our packs, and were on the way up at 6:50. There were lots of cars in the parking area, but we didn’t come across anyone until after at least 45 minutes. We kept a steady pace up through the trees As we approached the tree line, we began to catch up with hikers who had left earlier in the morning. There was even a large group of older teens who had camped out at tree line the night before, had already summited and were on their way down.

      After 90 minutes on the trail, we broke out of the trees. and saw a dozen or so people in front of us. The first false summit loomed in front of us and seemed a long ways away. The trail began to climb at a steeper grade now and we geared down and got into a nice slow steay pace stopping every once in awhile to catch our breath and take a drink of water. Slowly but surely we gained ground and after several more false summits gained the summit at 10:30.

      We shared the top with ten people and were pleased with the way our bodies had handled the high elevation. Neither of us experienced any smptoms of altitdue sickness. There were 20-30 people behind us and we knew it would soon get crowded on top so after 20 minutes we headed back down. The weather had been perfect, but there more and more cumulus clouds popping up and a few starting to build up. The trail down was tough on the knees and feet, but having been up and down Borah Peak in Idaho four times, I couldn’t complain too much as this was much less intense on the body.

      We met a bunch of people on the way down and were quite sure that some of them were not going to make the summit. The weather while not bad, was getting more “iffy” all the time. We were back in the parking lot at 12:50 for a total round trip of six hours. There was a dark cloud over Mt. Massive to the north that was dropping some rain, but Elbert still was holding out. We were just glad that we were down off the mountain as you never know how fast the weather can change.

      Feeling good chalking up our 8th highpoint and, we went into Leadville to have a beer at the Silver Dollar Saloon before heading out of town back towards Idaho.

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