Melt off is accelerating... snow fields were still abundant.
Would STRONGLY recommend bringing snowshoes, poles and gaiters. We started hiking the normal Northwest route on Bierstadt... once we gained the first large shoulder on the mountain, we skirted right to the west ridge which was largely clear of snow. We hiked this ridge to the saddle at about 13,600ft. The summit was snowy, but weather was great (60 degrees and a 15-20mph wind). Be careful of cornices on the final approch to the summit from the saddle. Meltoff was swelling a stream crossing in the boggy/willow area, and I got my feet slightly wet on the way up, and soaked my boots on the way back. Prudent route finding across the stream is possible to assure dry feet. Car to Car time (the parking lot is open) took us from 9am to 6pm with a couple of good breaks and lunch. Once again - BRING SNOWSHOES... the hikers that didn't were suffering chronic postholing and didn't have much fun.
1st attempt: November 22, 2003: Dumb moves. My first winter acsent- only 2nd 14er ever. "We started the day in an all-out-snow-white-out.... couldn't see a thing, but it was calm & quiet, so we started thw ascent (4 of us). At approximately 200 feet from the top, negative 50 degree weather blew in, and my body began shutting down. I headed quickly into hypothermia and frost-bite of the hands, feet, nose, & other various splotches. I was lucky to get off the mountain alive- suffered 1st degree frostbite (no feeling for 2 months in my left toes, etc...). 2 of us made it back to the vehicle before dark, but the other 2 got lost in the willows, tramping around for an additional hour and a half. It was a rough day, but God decided that He could still use me in this world!:-) I WILL conquer it this summer!!!
July 3, 2003- "Yeah baby- I CONQUERED the mountain that almost conquered me back in November (read earlier entry). I felt great! Funny how truly easy this mountain really is when the weather cooperates with you!!!
Great Weather! Snow very deep made for a horrible hike back without snowshoes. I wish you great climbing!
Continued on to Evans via Sawtooth.
Nice Walk. Bring Water and Rain Gear. You never know.
I was another victum of the infamous "willows". What
a nightmare! Otherwise a pretty uneventful climb.
Great climb for winter. We had to pick our own line thru the willows. Summit has nice view of the Sawtooth and Evans
Cold and windy early December climb!
Good snow conditions existed by Mid-June
Got off to an early morning start at 5:30 to avoid the crowds. Trail was very easy to follow up to the scree, then you could pretty much pick your own route to the top. Wind was chilly but bearable. On the way down I passed 62 hikers! More were still in the parking lot. Fairly easy hike using the west slope, the sawtooth definately looks like an interesting route to hike.
With Brad and Scott, a fun coincidence meeting them at the TH.
I wasn't feeling well and was really dragging. After arriving at the trailhead after 11 PM and after a mostly sleepless night, Brandon, Jon Bradford and myself started at 4:30 for the summit (waking up at 3:30). Postholing the willows were pretty nasty because we missed the correct route in the dark (I found it on the return). Brandon and Jon completed the Sawtooth; I did not and turned back. That was a good thing because it took them 14 hours and I was moving slower than them.
On the plus side, the weather was great, and the summit view from Bierstadt was pretty impressive and a pleasent surprise. For some reason I thought Beirstadt would be just a pile of rocks like Bross or Elbert. There are actually quite a few rugged crags around making an impressive view.
Windy on the west slope. Sawtooth was a blast! Summitted w/ SP members Brandon and Scott Patterson. --14 hour climb, including Bierstadt and Evans (aided by the stupid willows).
This was my first 14er and it was a great hike. The air took a little getting used to for an Ohioian, but was fine. We hike Guanella Pass and then crossed Sawtooth Ridge. Then wandered through the swamp till we reached the Guanella Pass trail again. Great mountain for your first 14er!
A fun day hike, lots of people heading up there! Was a good social climb. Overhanging snow cornice on the south ridge near the summit was really neat! Will be back for the Sawtooth someday!
Nice climb for a first breath of 14er air.
Very easy hike, and little scrmbling near the summit.
I climbed it in 2:07 mins. It was great , had some snow dusting on the summit.
Absolutely Perfect Day! This is my 3rd summit of Bierstadt, but my first winter ascent of a 14er. I picked the right day, no wind and temps in the mid 20's. Neve made the climbing easy with snowshoes. I sat on the summit for 30 minutes taking in the clearest air I have ever seen in Colorado. Pikes peak looked like it was right next door, and I could easily make out the Sangre De Cristo's!
This was my first 14er after moving to CO in January 1983, and fifth overall. I did it with the CMC and have climbed it again in 1994 with my wife and two dogs and other friends. It's a great mountain, but is very crowded on the weekends now. The trail has improved over the years too, so the willows aren't as horrendous as they once were...thank you 14ers Initiative and all the trail building volunteers.
Did this one in the snow. It made it hard to follow a trail.
I enjoyed this hike and the great view of the sawtooth and mt evans. Fun easy 14er