Dawn broke with clear blue skies and the dark waters of the now quiescent lake
reflecting perfectly the shining masses of the enclosing peaks.
A short drive up the scenic road winding through dense pine forests gained the
unsignposted trailhead for Mt. Elbert at a cluster of cabins at the mouth of Echo
Canyon. From the top of an old tramway the banks of a partially frozen stream led
onwards to snow-drifted pathways zig-zagging up the steep, forested hillside. The
firm snow enabled easy progress while its pure white contrasted picturesquely with
the dark, bottle-green of the conifers and the azure blue of the sky.
Above the tree-line open, stony slopes were littered with abandoned pieces of
machinery from the derelict Last Chance and Champion gold mines. Higher it was
arduous going in deep soft snow before reaching the top of Bull Hill for a splendid
view to the South of the rugged ridges of the nearby La Platta - another of Colorado's
Skirting round the rim of a huge snow bowl I diverted out to claim the subsidiary
summit of South Elbert ( 14,134' ) and command a fine outlook over the forested
foothills to the distant Arkansas River Valley.
Back-tracking to the main ridge I continued along to the principal summit - at
14,433' the second highest in the contiguous states of the USA after California's
14,495' Mt.Whitney . From the top unfolded a vast panoply of ice-bound peaks - the
Continental Divide - akin to the spines on the backbone of some gigantic dinosaur.
Surprisingly, on this fine spring day, I had the mountain all to myself.
Reference"High Adventure around the World"
by Alan Ingram
August 12, 2001
From journal Journey down the Colorado River