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Springtime ascent of Mount Elbert


Lonely Planet: Hiking in the Rocky MountainsLonely Planet: Hiking in the USAInsight Guide to Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park Day Hikes Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park including Long's Peak Best Easy Day Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park Guide to National Parks: Rocky Mountain National Park Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners Hiking Colorado

Colorado Fourteeners Pocket Guide 100 Classic Hikes in Colorado 100 Classic Hikes in Colorado Rough Guide SW USA Colorado's FourteenersRocky Mountain National Park - Estes Park Valley - Climbers Guide Rocky Mountain National Park - The High Peaks - Climbers GuideColorado's Fourteeners - Maps Package


Driving through the small, backcountry town of Twin Lakes I pitched my tent in a deserted campsite on the windswept shore of a small lake ensconced in the snow-bound foothills of the mighty Sawatch Range of the Colorado Rockies.

Mountain Lake in the Sawatch Range of the Colorado Rockies

Mountain Lake

in the

Sawatch Range

of the

Colorado

Rockies

Dawn broke with clear blue skies and the dark waters of the now quiescent lake reflecting perfectly the shining masses of the enclosing peaks.

A short drive up the scenic road winding through dense pine forests gained the unsignposted trailhead for Mount Elbert at a cluster of cabins at the mouth of Echo Canyon. From the top of an old tramway the banks of a partially frozen stream led onwards to snow-drifted pathways zig-zagging up the steep, forested hillside. The firm snow enabled easy progress while its pure white contrasted picturesquely with the dark, bottle-green of the conifers and the azure blue of the sky.

Colorado Rockies at the start of ascent of Mt. Elbert

On the

start of

the ascent of

Mt. Elbert

Above the tree-line open, stony slopes were littered with abandoned pieces of machinery from the derelict Last Chance and Champion gold mines. Higher it was arduous going in deep soft snow before reaching the top of Bull Hill for a splendid view to the South of the rugged ridges of the nearby La Plata - another of Colorado's "fourteeners".

La Platta on ascent of Mt. Elbert

La Plata

on ascent of

Mt. Elbert

Skirting round the rim of a huge snow bowl I diverted out to claim the subsidiary summit of South Elbert ( 14,134ft ) and command a fine outlook over the forested foothills to the distant Arkansas River Valley.

Back-tracking to the main ridge I continued along to the principal summit - at 14,433ft the second highest in the contiguous states of the USA after California's 14,495ft Mount Whitney. From the top unfolded a vast panoply of ice-bound peaks - the Continental Divide - akin to the spines on the backbone of some gigantic dinosaur.

La Platta from summit ridge of Mt. Elbert

La Platta

from

summit ridge

of

Mt. Elbert

Surprisingly, on this fine spring day, I had had the mountain all to myself.


Location Map for Mount Elbert in the Sawatch Range of the Colorado Rockies

Location Map for Mount Elbert



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Colorado Rockies | Colorado National Monument | Canyonlands, Arches & Monument Valley | The Grand Canyon

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Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain National Park - Hiking Map Rocky Mountain National Park - Day Hiker's Guide Long's Peak - Climbing Guide Long's Peak

Colorado's FourteenersRocky Mountain National Park - Estes Park Valley - Climbers Guide Rocky Mountain National Park - The High Peaks - Climbers GuideColorado's Fourteeners - Maps Package 100 Classic Hikes in Colorado Hiking Colorado

Lonely Planet USA Independent Travellers USA 2003 Lets Go 2004 USA Road Trip USA Road Trip - California & the SW USA SW USA & Las VegasDenver - Insight Pocket Guide Rocky Mountain States - Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: Hiking in the Rocky MountainsLonely Planet: Hiking in the USA Insight Guide to Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park Day Hikes Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park including Long's PeakBest Easy Day Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park Guide to National Parks: Rocky Mountain National Park Bicycling America's National Parks: Canyonlands to Rocky Mountain National Park Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners

Lonely Planet USA Rough Guide USA Let's Go SW USA Let's Go USA Lonely Planet: Driving thru AmericaSW USA: Insight Flexi Map Lonely Planet SW States Rough Guide SW USA Rough Guide SW USA

Colorado Fourteeners Pocket Guide 100 Classic Hikes in Colorado 100 Classic Hikes in Colorado Rough Guide - SW USA Outside Magazine Winter Wilderness Companion Snowshoeing Backpacker MagazineBackcountry Skier - Guide to Ski Touring

Ascend Denali Snowshoe Handbook Into the Wild Climbing Magazine Backpackers HandbookBackpackers Field Manual Wilderness Training Wilderness Survival

The Lost Continent - Travels in Small-town America - Bill Bryson Notes from a Big Country - Bill Bryson Made in America - Bill BrysonA Walk in the Woods - Bill BrysonWalkabout - Bill BrysonLost Continent - Travels in Small-town America - Bill Bryson Hiking in the Rocky Mountains - Lonely Planet The Rocky Mountains - Rough Guide The Colorado Guide

Solo Hiking Essentials101 Hiking Tips Epic Stories of Survival on the World's Highest Peaks Complete Climbers Handbook Training for ClimbingClimbing in North America The High Peaks - Rock & Ice Climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park:











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