Mt. Elbert is the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the highest point in the U.S. state of Colorado and the entire Mississippi River drainage basin. -Wikipedia
Bryan had already summited this peak back in 2011 as part of his ‘Climbing the highest peak of every state’ mission. He kindly accepted to do it again, for fun! We stayed overnight at BLM land right next to the parking lot for free so we could get started early.
We parked at the South Trailhead parking lot at 5am and started hiking at 515am. Why such an early start? Afternoon lightning storms are a threat and the earlier we got started, the earlier we’d be down below the tree line in case of a storm.
The hike was up, up and up. The first 2 miles was on the Colorado Trail & Continental Divide Trail (Dream Thru-hike FYI). After the 2 mile mark, we hit a 4×4 high clearance parking area for Mt. Elbert. We could of tried to make it there with our truck but didn’t want to risk it. The hike offered little to no flat grounds for resting. We managed to find a spot for our first break and snack. Within an hour we were above tree line and I was sucking wind. We ate lunch… at 8am. We met a group from Boulder who, I believed, were marathoners. It seemed they were climbing with no issue and were even chatting. I was too much out of breath for conversation. I only managed to make short sentences without being out of breath. We made it to the summit a few minutes after they had summited, hourray! The summit was packed with people who came from the different routes available to summit.
Our way down was so much better, I was smiling and actually talking to people. Although the descend was easy, it is much harder on your knees and toe box. I was glad to have my trekking poles with me. We answered many questions about the summit, distance and weather on our way day with hikers who were on their way up. It took us an overall time of 6 hrs and hiked 13.1 miles. Check out our stats below from our climb on 06/25/16.