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Mount Elbert, Colorado
July 11, 1992
14,433 feet

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Map of the route to Elbert from the Halfmoon trailhead
Rich Wendling
Rich on the summit of Elbert, the highest point in Colorado (14,433 feet). Mount Massive (14,421 feet) is in the background.
Mount Massive
Mount Massive from Elbert
Rich on Summit
Rich on the summit.  Mount Massive is in the background
Twin Lakes
Twin Lakes from the summit of Elbert
After the backpacking in New Mexico, the scouts headed back to Texas, but I went North into Colorado for a little more climbing. I decided that as long as I was going to climb, I might as well do the biggest, so I chose to ascend Mount Elbert. Mount Elbert is the highest point in Colorado, twelve feet taller than Mount Massive to the north, and thirteen feet taller than Mount Harvard. I camped at Halfmoon Campground. From my campsite, I hiked south along the Colorado Trail to the Mount Elbert Trail on the eastern slopes of Elbert. I hiked the trail toward the summit. 

At about 13,000 feet, it started to snow. It snowed fairly heavily for about a half-hour, then stopped. 

At about 14,200 feet, I was sitting on a rock sucking wind and trying to catch my breath when two guys in shorts and running shoes came running up the trail past me. About 10 minutes later, while I was still sitting on the same rock, they came running back the other way. When I finally arrived at the summit, some other people that were there explained that the two runners were trying to set some sort of record by climbing all of the 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado in something like 17 days. It was only 11 am, and they were already on their third mountain of the day! I never did hear if they broke the record. I went down the same way I had gone up, happy to have made it up one mountain that day and two over the course of a week.

Trailhead:   Mount Elbert / Mount Massive Trailhead.  From 3 miles southwest of Leadville on US 24, go west on Colorado 300.  Turn left onto unpaved County Road 11, and follow the signs for about 7 miles, past Halfmoon Campground and Elbert Creek Campground,  to the trailhead.
Route:  From the Mount Elbert / Mount Massive Trailhead, hike the Colorado Trail south for a about a mile and a half, with some pretty good climb, to an unmarked trail on the right.  Follow this trail all the way to the summit.
Distance:  4.5 miles each way
Climb:   4400 feet
Class:  Class 1 (trail) all of the way.  
Maps:  Mount Massive, San Isabel Forest
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