Leadville, Colorado: Climbing To 14,433′ On Mt. Elbert

10 07 2011

We’ve been pretty behind on the “Where we are and what we’re up to” posts, but in an effort to change that, here’s something that happened today. Over the past 24 hours, we…

  • Parked at the Mount Elbert trailhead near Leadville, CO last night. (Yes, we’re in Colorado. Surprise!)
  • Woke up at 1:30 AM to begin our summit bid
  • Hiked through the night, catching a gorgeous sunrise from 13,000′
  • Summitted Elbert, making us momentarily the highest things in Colorado and the second-highest things in the continental United States: 14,433′
Atop Mount Elbert

Atop Mount Elbert

From the top, Ay and I watched other climbers make their way up the mountain, including some not-so-clever folks who were starting their hike around 11:00 AM. (Rain and thunderstorms move in every afternoon like clockwork. You don’t want to be standing atop the second-highest peak in the United States during a thunderstorm.)

Thousands of Gorgeous Wildflowers Peppered the Fields of Mt. Elbert

Thousands of Gorgeous Wildflowers Peppered the Fields of Mt. Elbert

It was our first time really hiking through the night, and what a blessing it was. Because we couldn’t see anything beyond what our headlamps could illuminate, we weren’t intimidated by the HUGE peak in front of us. The hike was immensely rewarding, as it was by far Ayo’s longest and highest hike and was our first 14-er. Ayo pushed herself so hard, surprising herself with her willpower, commanding her legs to move and a few times literally crawling up the mountain.

We were the first people on Elbert that day, and a number of people later told us that they saw our headlamps from the bottom and wondered who was making it up the peak for sunrise. As day broke we were rewarded with views of snow-capped peaks and countless lakes below us, with wildflowers and wildlife surrounding us.

Our descent was magical in that we were hiking through what seemed like new terrain, seeing the beauty that we had headlamped our way through. Photos and views from the bottom can’t describe what it’s like to feel alive, high up in the clouds, and Elbert felt like a great and intense introduction to Colorado.

After our descent we crashed big-time, and later rewarded ourselves with a spectacular dinner at Quincy’s, a gem of a restaurant in Leadville.

Recovered (A Bit) And Out To Dinner

Recovered (A Bit) And Out To Dinner

Quincy's Has Awesome Food. And Two Items On Their Menu.

Quincy's Has Awesome Food. And Two Items On Their Menu.

Ayo learned today what her body can really do, finding her limits and pushing them. I was happy to have her as a partner in this climb, and loved seeing her perseverance and strength. 

posted by yair

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6 responses

11 07 2011
Barbara

Wow! Congratulations to you both! That is really quite an accomplishment. Just getting up at 1:30 would do me in. I see Quincy’s added a third location in Salida.

11 07 2011
Yair

Thanks! Getting up at 10am usually does me in, but when there’s something I’m excited about, an alarm clock isn’t a bother.

Have you been to Quincy’s before? Oh man, it’s good!

11 07 2011
Ross

Great job on the hike! Sounds like a great experience.

11 07 2011
gumo

Congratulations! I am envious of your hike, sitting here in hot and dry Texas, but wish you well on your next adventure. Thanks for sharing with us.

11 07 2011
Yair

Thanks! One of the main reasons that we beelined it from Utah to Colorado was to escape the 110 degree weather.

11 07 2011
Diana

Wow! You guys are something else! What a great experience.

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