South Elbert - Elevation 14,134 Feet
Photos of My Hike to Mount Elbert's "Sister Peak" Via The Black Cloud Trail - June 22, 2009
The Black Cloud Trail is a lesser known trail in the Lake Creek /
Twin Lakes / Highway 82 canyon that leads to
I desired to access a trailhead from a paved road (Highway 82) that would cause no problems for my 2WD passenger vehicle.
Plus, the fact that I could ascend South Elbert, a 14er, was an enticing factor.
Now technically, in more sophisticated mountain climbing circles, South Elbert is not considered an official "fourteener."
This mountain is considered a "sister peak" of Mt. Elbert, because the saddle between the two mountains is less than 300 vertical feet.
While I generally respect that standard, I didn't care about it for this adventure. I had
already climbed Mt. Elbert via the standard route
last year and had no desire to reach it again. My ascent of South Elbert was on a trail I'd never climbed before, not to mention
the total vertical gain of 4,300+ feet and 9-10 round trip miles... So yes! I'm counting this!
South Elbert was my 15th 14er in my humble mountaineering career. :)
Note: My directory of all my 14er hikes is here: www.coloradoguy.com/14ers.htm.
Directions: From the junction of State Highway 24 and Highway 82 (south of
Leadville; north of
travel west on Highway 82 as
if you are traveling to Independence Pass. The trailhead parking area (which can hold about ten vehicles) is 10.5 miles on the right.
Slow down when you reach the 10 mile mark, because the entrance is easy to miss.
If you pass the Mt. Elbert Lodge, you have gone too far.
Enjoy the photos and hike report. -Steve G. in Buena Vista, CO. Twitter
- Facebook - YouTube
|The Summit - South Elbert (alt. 14,134 feet)
Arrival at the top. I was so happy!
|The view looking toward Mt. Elbert,
the highest point in Colorado.
Many climbers continue past South Elbert
and walk along the ridge to reach the summit of Mt. Elbert. I did notice many people standing on the top of the mountain.
Now I'm not necessarily against being around other people,
but I must say it was special to have South Elbert all to myself. :)
|The view to the south. I captured a closer-up photo of La Plata Peak.
I really love the shape of that mountain - it has character!
All of my 14er climbs so far:
Mt. Democrat - Mt. Lincoln - Mt. Bross
La Plata Peak
|The view of Turquoise Lake.
I know I could see Leadville with the naked eye, but I can't see it in the photo.
|Looking toward Twin Lakes, CO with the Buffalo Peaks on the right and
Pikes Peak way out there in the center foreground.
|So many mountains could be seen including the
San Juan Mountains in far southwest Colorado. I thought
the view of the Maroon Bells and Snowmass Mountain was worthy to show off.
|A self-portrait using the timer. This was my first serious climb of 2009 -
my body "shouted at me" about how out of shape I was,
but I look forward to improving next time. :)
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