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The standard winter approach up Mt. Elbert.


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Map Key

6.4

Miles

10.3

KM

Ascent

14,424' 4,396 m

High

9,619' 2,932 m

Low

4,850' 1,478 m

Up

45' 14 m

Down

14%

Avg Slope (8°)

39%

Max Slope (21°)
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
For most ski descents (winter and early spring) parking is at the winter TH.

Description

This is the main winter hiking trail to the summit of Mt. Elbert. In most cases, except for immediately after a snowstorm, there should/will be a well-established trench or skintrack, and there is ample signage along the way (as this route intersects with the Colorado Trail, there are a few trail junctions) guiding you up the mountain.

The GPX here abandons the trail above treeline in order to maximize time spent on good skiable snow and to take a more direct line.

In the right conditions, one should be able to ski from the summit back to the TH. Note that there are 2 very distinctive shallow/flat portions of the ascent/descent that will require either an efficient line, some poling/skating, or both. This would likely be a more challenging descent for a splitboarder.

Option on the descent to ski slightly north while on the upper main snowfield, in order to link up this ascent with a descent of the "Box Creek Chutes," in which case, once below the couloirs, you would need to ski south back to the East Ridge Trail for the remainder of your descent (potentially adding additional transitions to your day).

Shared By:

Jake Albright

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#2

in Twin Lakes

#289

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Ascent Rankings

#2

in Twin Lakes

#79

in Colorado

#289

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Photos

Avoiding the exposed rock near the summit may just be the crux of this route.
May 17, 2021 near Leadvil…, CO
looking down the SE Couloirs on Elbert
Jun 5, 2023 near Leadvil…, CO
looking down from the top of the Box Creek Chutes in June 2023
Jun 5, 2023 near Leadvil…, CO
Looking back at most of the above-treeline portion of the route ... the route is incredibly obvious - follow the ridge (hikers can be seen on the trail at right center).
Feb 27, 2023 near Leadvil…, CO
Snow conditions on the summit in February ... skiing down this small snow strip gives access to the upper snowfield and a ski off the summit.
Feb 27, 2023 near Leadvil…, CO
Skintrack below treeline ... this is one of the flat portions of the downhill, though on the way up this clearing gives you the first peek at the rest of the day ahead of you.
Feb 27, 2023 near Leadvil…, CO

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Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 6 days ago
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