The Waffle House Chronicles...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mt Elbert

Photos to follow...

So Tuesday was the other big day of the trip, the day we climbed to the highest point in Colorado, Mt Elbert. 14433 feet of massive rock awaited us. My brother Eric (Larkin) was the only one who signed up for this. We left Breckenridge about 5:30 in the morning and headed towards Leadville. The trip there was uneventful. We took some photos of the mountain from Leadville. We then headed on a 5 mile gravel road until we reached the trailhead. Fortunately the trailhead started out at 10050 feet so we only had just over 4000 feet of vertical in about 4.5 miles, so an average grade over 20% and many around 25-30%. We started off just before 6am and it was 42F. We hiked about a mile of the Colorado Trail before we turned right and went up. And up. And up. It didn’t take long to clear the tree line at 12000 feet. We even met some idiots walking up with skis. There was basically no snow on the mountain except for this.We picked this route because it was the shortest, but it definitely wasn’t the easiest. We climbed and climbed and climbed and saw the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. We stopped a lot to take pictures and to rest. I had packed a 70oz camelback, a water bottle and a Gatorade in addition to tons of snacks. The climb to the first false summit (the one most visible to people) was the hardest part as the rocks were big and the trail was steep. From there it continued to be hard until just before the second false summit, were it started to level off. The accent to the high point was pretty easy and at this point it was beautiful out and we wanted to be on top. And then we were on top. Only 4 people were on top with us at the start and they all left and were replaced with 3 others. I can’t even describe the views from up there. Although Elbert itself isn’t the most attractive of mountains it is right in the middle of all that is beautiful and you could see forever (we could see Pikes Peak which is probably about 150 miles away.) Alas you can’t stay on top forever. The decent scared me, but descending wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. The trail was very firm so not having poles wasn’t too bad. We hauled ass down to the treeline but then I was starting to die. The altitude finally took it’s toll yet again. I had a terrible headache and felt a bit nauseous. It also was super hot (90’s with no shelter) and I ran out of water (crazy since I conserved water the whole way.) But what can you do, we kept chugging. Eric is like a machine and this didn’t affect him at all. We finally got back on the Colorado Trail and down to the parking lot. What a rush. I squeezed out just enough water from Eric’s camelback to put down a Goody’s Headache Powder. Just being done was nice but then having some Taco Bell and tons of water and a Coke and then going swimming in the pool was just the ticket…I felt great after that. What a rush that was, it was the most extreme thing I’ve done not on a bike. Jerry might even be proud although we didn’t need any ropes.

After swimming we headed to the Breckenridge Microbrewery. I tasted a couple beers which were excellent and all I could stomach was an app, which dominated! Chilled out the rest of the night and played Cranium Conga. I played once before and hated it but this time it was awesome so I might have to bust that out at future game nights.


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