Colorado 2008 trip pictures from the hike up Mount Elbert.
The trail up Mount Elbert is quite short - only about 4 miles long - but quite steep - rising about 4500 feet. About a mile of the ascent trail is at a slight downhill, making the ascent grades about 30% on average.
I started the hike before sunrise since the usual advice is to be back below tree-line before noon to avoid exposed slopes during frequent afternoon thunderstorms.  This day the weather was different. It rained/sleeted/hailed/snowed in the morning and cleared up in the afternoon.  So the hike up was quite wet and cold.  I turned around at about a 1/2 mile from the top since the snow and wind were so strong that I was concerned about finding my way back - the trail was completely drifted over with the snow 6 inches deep in places.  But after working my way back for about 15 minutes it started to clear and I resumed my way up.  Also, other hikers showed up so I was less concerned.  The final ridge approach was particularly difficult since the wind at the crest was so strong that at times it was impossible to stand.
Views from the top of Mount Elbert - towards Twin Lakes:
- towards Mount Massive:
- towards Torquoise Lake and Leadville:
- close-up of Turquoise Lake and Leadville:
- Hikers walking down:
View of the final ascent to Mount Elbert:
View of mount Elbert from my starting point (Emerald Lake):