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Mount Elbert via Black Cloud Trail
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mini location map2017-08-31
8 by photographer avatarJuanJaimeiii
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Mount Elbert via Black Cloud TrailSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Aug 31 2017
Hiking10.69 Miles 5,187 AEG
Hiking10.69 Miles   6 Hrs      1.83 mph
5,187 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
When Sam and I went to Africa and hiked Kilimanjaro we met some great folks. There were nine in our group and we really bonded with all of them. Imagine spending 24 hours a day with people for 6 days and nobody can shower the whole time. Sounds bad but you really learn to appreciate each other. Two of the nine were from the United States in addition to us. It was Ellen (22) and her Grandfather (88) who is now officially the oldest verified person to ever summit Kilimanjaro. They happen to live in Vail Colorado so I was telling Ellen in Africa that I would love to come up and visit them sometime. She is getting ready to head off to Washington State to continue her education so we made a plan for me to come at the end of August. The plan was for me to stay with Grandpa and hike a 14er with Ellen and her dad Carl.

I have been wanting to do Longs Peak ever since reading Nick and Bob's triplogs a couple years ago. This was my first choice and Mount Holy Cross was second up. During the days leading up to my trip both Ellen and I watched the weather forecast. 80% chance of Rain and Thunderstorms on Longs. :o That and the long drive to get there from Vail made this one not very feasible. Holy Cross looked like a good option but then Ellen through out Mount Elbert. The highest Peak in Colorado. I told her I had heard it wasn't that difficult but that I would be down for whatever. She said her dad had been wanting to do it from the Black Cloud Trail. It is shorter and steeper than the other two primary routes. Sounds like a plan.

So I arrived late Wednesday night and we got up early and headed out at 5AM. After a quick breakfast in Leadville we were set to start hiking at 7AM. Up we went and it was indeed steep right from the start. Nothing unbearable but steep. Carl set a brisk pace. Once we crossed about 13,000 feet I began to get a little light headed. It was from pushing so hard and trying to keep up with Carl (her dad). This guy is a beast! He could literally run up the mountain if it weren't for us holding him back. I took a quick breather and then we were off again. This time I went at a more reasonable pace for the altitude and all was good. We reached the summit in about 3 hours. I'm pretty sure with some practice at these altitudes I could shave off a half hour. I am also pretty sure that I could never match Carl going up something like this. I should note that he is a tri-athlete and has swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco three times while doing the escape from Alcatraz event.

Up top we ran into several others that had come up the standard route. We hung out for a bit and took some photos and then headed back down the way we came. Then with about a mile to go the skies got real dark and started to thunder. Within seconds it was pouring down rain on us. We trotted along and got back to the truck just in a nick of time. Hail started to fall at a rapid rate. Their poor dog Wilbur was taking a beating in the back of the truck so Carl lowered the rear window and let him in.

That night I enjoyed some time with Grandpa back at the home watching the Broncos beat up on our Cardinals. This was a great quick getaway and it was awesome to see Ellen and her Granddad again!
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