The highest peak in the picture above is Mt. Elbert, located in the San Isablel National Forest, in Lake County, Colorado. Rising to 14,433 feet above sea level, it is the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains, the 2nd highest peak in the 48 contiguous United States (after Mt. Whitney in California, which is less than 100 feet higher), and the 14th highest peak overall in the United States. Obviously, it is also the highpoint of the State of Colorado. Hiking to it’s summit, although very strenuous, and involving a minimum 4,000 foot elevation gain, does not require any special mountaineering or rock climbing skills. Reaching the summit also happens to be a virtual cache on our website, Mt. Elbert Summit, and is our latest Sporadically featured OCNA cache on the blog.
We were very happy that we were able to contact the cache owner, kingbee, and the only two finders to date, kejdad and tripman1. Kingbee joined our website a little over a month after it was launched, and Mt. Elbert Summit is the 312th cache listed on our site. When asked why he made it a Virtual Cache on our website, said because “I enjoy climbing and hiking the mountains in Colorado, Most of the time it is so peaceful, quiet and serene”.
|The Colorado Trail|
You’ll notice on the cache page, Kingbee gives the location (but not coordinates) of 3 starting points for the hike. One of them listed as 2WD access, two others as 4WD access. Tripman1 was the latest to try to summit the peak, at least as an OCNA member logging the virtual cache! He made his attempt on August 31st, 2013, starting from the Colorado Trail trailhead, as shown. According to Wikipedia, this route is a 4,100 foot elevation gain. He was more than happy to share the details of his experience with us. “I have enjoyed being able to chose geocaches from several websites and the opportunity to grab two different caches on one difficult climb presented itself over the Labor Day weekend. I had my eye on Mt. Elbert’s Summit (OOU0138) for a while, and another climber was finishing his ascent of all 54 peaks with the Mt. Elbert Climb, so I used this as motivation”.
|Going up with Tripman1|
He went on to add: “The climb took about 3.5 hours up and 2.5 hours down. At the halfway point around 11,500 feet you pass the treeline and climb the rest of the way on bare rock. I was happy to have remembered sunscreen here. Since this was a holiday weekend there were many other hikers on the trail and if you did happen to run into trouble, you would have plenty of help. It was just a matter of pace and eventually I was on the summit. There were about 100 to 125 climbers on the summit to celebrate the accomplishments of the climber who had climbed all 54 peaks. The banner in the background commemorates the event and if you look closely you can see all the signatures of the participants. The view from the top is amazing and I really appreciate kingbee placing a virtual here and helping motivate my climb to the top”.
|Tripman1 at the top with the banner|
|View of some Lakes on the way up|
Kejdad, another of our users from Colorado, made the ascent a little over 3 years earlier, July 29th, 2010. He posted a somewhat brief log on our website, but referred us to his log on one of the many peak bagging websites on the internet for some detailed quotable material. He says “WOW! What a hike! I came up to Mt. Elbert with friends, who left me in the dust. I plugged along in the rain, hail and sunshine and finally made it up to the top! My friends got there and it was still raining, so I saw them as they were coming down. I made it to the top and the rain stopped and clouds cleared away and I was blown away by the amazing view! It was definitely worth the hike! I ran into a guy who was roadtripping around the country and happened to be on Mt. Elbert that day.”
|kejdad getting very close|
He went on to describe his descent: “I made my way back down and ran into a church men’s group from Omaha, all of whom were taking their time getting up there, just like I did. I didn’t use my rain gear going down and made it back to the car in under 4 hours (which all things considered is pretty good for me!) I spent 8 hours total on the mountain. What a great experience. The photos can’t even come close to doing justice what I saw up there.”
|kejdad atop Mt. Elbert|
Kejdad has also made a couple Colorado Mountain Summits into Virtual Caches on our website. Another of the 54 “Fourteeners” in Colorado (Mountains with an elevation exceeding 14,000 feet), Mt. Bierstadt, is featured as our OU059D. Additionally, he has made summiting 12,618 foot Lone Cone, in the Southwest corner of the State, a Virtual, our OU01F4.
Great cache, the Mt. Elbert Summit Virtual. We here at the blog would like to thank our three contributors to this post, all of whom are regular users of our site with many finds and hides apiece. (by our standards that is). Inspires you to go out and bag some peaks doesn’t it? Including the Blogger, who would now like to go bag a few Adirondack summits, which he hasn’t done this Century. 🙂