Getting thereThis is a Mt Evans ascent via the west ridge, from Guanella Pass. The Guanella pass road is in a state of complete chaos right now, with a major construction project under way that is set to last until October 2010. The road is closed for several hours at a time on weekdays, so if you are planning a weekday ascent, be sure to research in advance.
I headed up Thursday night, making it to the beginning of the construction scene at about 8:30pm, which is apparently 30 minutes before it closes for the evening. There are many spots to camp alongside the road.
I woke up at about 6am, ate breakfast, packed everything up, drove the remaining stretch of road up to the Guanella Pass parking area, and started the ascent at 7:15am.
Ascent7:15am... I begin the ascent.
One word: WILLOWS. The willows are out of control in this area, so plan your route carefully and constantly re-evaluate to see if you are on track. On the way in, it's quite a bit easier, because you can easily see the beginning of the trail and the nice wooden bridges. On the way back, it can be tricky.
Anyway, the idea is to follow the main Bierstadt trail as it crosses the Scott Gomer Creek, and then eventually break off and start heading towards the gully. You will spend some time willow-bashing no matter what. Eventually you will make it through the willows and approach the gully.
The gully still has quite a bit of snow this time of year. I dawned my snowshoes about halfway up, and kept them on for the rest of the ascent.
After ascending the gully, you will keep moving through a big open area, making your way towards the "hump" that is protruding the skyline. This is the west Evans ridge. Follow the ridgeline all the way to the Evans summit. I attained the summit at 10:45am.
DescentOn the descent, the main factor to keep in mind is the very end, where you have to re-cross the Scott Gomer creek and somehow connect with the main trail back up to the parking lot. I attempted to cross the creek a little too early, and boy did I pay the price. I spent an extra hour bushwacking through willows and sinking in mud and swamp water. So just take careful note of where you plan to cross, and constantly assess the situation to see if you are heading towards the main trail. I made it back to the parking lot at about 1:45pm.
Note: The road was closed until 3pm, which I didn't realize in advance. I had to sit at the road closure for an hour just waiting for them to open it. lame!