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COUNTY: Lake County
LOCATION DETAILS: At 14,433 ft. (4409m) Mt. Elbert is the tallest peak in Colorado. Located in the Collegiate Peaks Range inside the San Isabel National Forest. Mt Elbert is surrounded by designated wilderness on the north, south and west. It is quite close to Mt. Massive and Twin Lakes. This part of Colorado's high country, which lies between Aspen and Leadville, has been one of the most consistent generators of sasquatch reports going back to the mining era of the 1880s. The Black Cloud Trailhead is accessed from CO 82 on Independence Pass.
NEAREST TOWN: Twin Lakes
NEAREST ROAD: CO 82
OBSERVED: I was determined to summit Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado. I had made 2 previous attempts in 2001 and 2000 and on both attempts I was turned back at 13,000 ft. by weather. I have always gone solo. On this day May 29th 2002 I left the Black Cloud Trailhead at 7:00am solo. I summited Mt. Elbert at 1:45pm. The weather was perfect and unseasonably warm. There must have been very little snow during the winter because there was very little snow left even at summit. I stayed on top for 10 minutes took pictures with my digital camera.
My sighting occured around 3:30pm at approximately. 11,500 feet. I was decending and very tired.The trail is not very popular because of its steepness and because it's very rugged in spots. I did not see anyone the whole day. I was traveling on the trail through the only level portion which is a high mountain plateau that lasts maybe 300 yards. The trail hugs an avalanche area to the left and to the right is a pine forest which is moderately dense.
As I was walking I heard a fairly high pitched but gutteral cross between a scream and a growl. It must have been heard for miles. I froze in my tracks and unsnapped my holster. I scanned in the direction I thought it originated from but it's hard to tell in the mountains because of echo. I looked to the right first into the forest and saw nothing, then slowly did a 360 scan and now I'm looking back to the forest. At 50 yards I spot the bigfoot. It is standing still facing me approx. 7 feet to 7 1/2 feet tall. I was wearing army camo and I think it had a hard time figuring me out for a few seconds. I was so scared and astonished at what I was looking at I could not move.Then suddenly it turned and ran with a huge stride and it was fast.
Its color was black and brown mixed and its fur or hair was thick and matted in spots. It ran like a man except with a slightly haunched upper back and a much bigger and more powerful gait. I lost sight of it in about 10 seconds after it began to run. At this point I pulled my pistol and immediately started cautiously down the trail. My heart was beating so hard I thought it was going to come out of my chest. I could actually hear it beating in my ears.I was no longer tired and the adrenaline was pumping. All the way down the trail I was doing looks over my shoulder and scanning everything. My camera was in my light backpack and I didn't even think about it till I got back to the cabin I rented.
I know what I saw and nobody can take that away from me but I didn't dare talk about it until I accidently stumbled upon this website. I hope this helps your research.
ALSO NOTICED: Nothing
OTHER WITNESSES: No witnesses, just me. By the way, I live in Duncanville, Texas, this was a vacation trip for me.
OTHER STORIES: No
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 3:30pm Weather was clear approx 60 degrees at 11,500 feet.
ENVIRONMENT: High mountain plateau on Black Cloud Trail. Facing downhill, the sighting occurred about 500 feet below an old miners cabin that had burned down.
A & G References: Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer, P 47
NW 39*07'00"lat. /-106*28'00" long.
SE 39*04'00"lat. /-106*25'00" long.
Follow-up investigation report:
The following is excerpted from an interview with witness, 46, who is employed as an industrial safety officer in Texas.
"On the descent I was tired, being a flatlander from Dallas, so I'm kind of dragging my feet on the trail. All of a sudden I hear this noise, it kind of sounded like a bear growl and a wolf howl.
It was very, very loud. It was amazing how loud it was and it seemed all the louder because the area where I was in was like a dead zone. I didn't even hear a bird chirping."
When the sighting occurred the witness was looking into a stand of pine to the right. To the left the trail fell off to a creek at the foot of an avalanche slide.
"I'm immediately doing a 360 because it sounded like it was right in front of me. At first, I'm thinking 'bear' and 'This is not good.' My adrenaline is immediately pumping. I come back around to where I was first looking facing down the trail and still I don't see anything for couple seconds.
When I finally saw it it was immediately clear it wasn't a bear. It was about a 7 foot tall man-looking creature with reddish brown hair and black patches mixed in. I could see the eyes and part of the mouth and the brow ridges over the eyes protruding like a Neanderthal you'd see in an encyclopedia.
The hair was thick, and pretty shaggy in spots. I don't think it saw me at first. When it looked at me I froze like a statue. I was scared ****less. I was thinking 'I have to go that way. I can't go back up.'
I figured the best defense is to freeze like a statue. Three seconds later it looked straight at me. I was 50 yards away, maybe 40. It was close -it was close enough. It looked at me for a couple seconds and kind of looked puzzled. It actually tilted its head a little bit, like I've seen dogs do when they heard a strange sound."
The witness said he doesn't hunt, but wears camouflage because it's inexpensive outdoor wear and he feels comfortable in it. "It's probably not too smart when you think about it. Mountain Rescue would have a hard time finding me."
The creature stared at him for "what seemed like eternity but it was probably only 5-10 seconds."
"Then it turned and took off fast into the pine forest. This thing had a stride on it. In another 5-10 seconds it was out of sight. The tree it was standing next to was probably a 200-year old pine. It looked as tall as a basketball player; they're usually running about 7 feet these days. The fur made it look even bigger."
The witness estimated its weight at 350 or 400 pounds. He was able to provide further details on the creature's appearance.
"The head was almost like it had a cone top to it. It sloped back and up. The arms hung way down, say to the knees. It looked like it had a hand just like a human, but it was hairy."
The witness was able to see knees and an elbow when it turned and ran "like a human."
He was upwind of the animal, which may have allowed him to approach so closely. The wind at that time was blowing from the valley to the peak.
After an anxious four-hour hike back to the cabins, the witness met the innkeeper, who was out looking for him.
"I started to tell the innkeeper what I saw but I thought if I say something like that, he's not likely to rent the cabin to me again."
Note: At several points the witness remarked on how little snow he saw above timberline on the day of his sighting. In 2002, Colorado endured one of the worst drought years in recent memory, with record low snows and an unusually early melt-out.