A couple of days ago Luna and I went for a run up Mt Elbert from the N. Elbert Creek TH, the namesake creek looked like this:
|Amazing that the trees survive after living in ice for months and months!|
As we breached treeline, the footsteps were swept away and a beautiful, unbroken trail lay before us, my first split came at the first switchback above treeline. The split on my fastest time to date was right at 40 minutes, this time (likely due to the snowslogging and a month off of running) was about 1 hour 13 minutes. Pretty big difference there.
I did take it pretty casually. I came way overdressed, too. I quickly took off my hat, gloves, and jacket in the woods, and didn't don them again until I was up above 12,500 ft.
That kind of got me thinking: With the amount of snow we've been receiving, or lack thereof, it isn't unreasonable to think that a route up Elbert could be maintained all year. Yeah, its wicked cold and there are a lot of days where going up wouldn't be fun or safe, but there are still going to be days when its 30 degrees and sunny. I just need to seize those after the big snows and do a lap. I'll lug along some snowshoes and microspikes, if necessary. It would make the most sense to keep the South Elbert Trail packed. I figure I can ski up the road a couple of miles to the trailhead, if I don't feel like running it some days, ski the CT to the trailhead, and then run up the ridge.
Besides, its a beautiful mountain with beautiful views. Getting back up there and running around in the sky, glissading down pitches, and wearing myself out, made me remember that running brings me a lot of fulfillment and allows me to sleep completely awestruck at the beauty of our world.
|Massive in the distance from just above treeline.|
|Nearing the summit, looking at Massive, Oklahoma, and the Halfmoon Basin|
It took me 2 hours and 10 minutes to get to the top, thats exactly 1 minute slower than my fastest round-trip time. The descent was an hour, making the day about 9 miles in 3:10, with 4,500 ft of vertical.
If anyone wants to join me on a winter run up Elbert, just pick a warm day (25+)and let me know!