awesome hike, but the willows still sucked. way more enjoyable and far less crowded than what you find during the summer months.
Beautiful day, incredible views of not only the nearby peaks but the entire Arkansas Valley and... could that be the Bells on the horizon? Trail was very muddy and wet; creek crossing is on some small tenuous logs, and above about 12,500' the trail devolves into random snowfields and muddy tundra. No need at all for snowshoes but good boots are still necessary. Not a cloud in the sky at our 8:40 summit, but just 90 minutes later as we looked back there was lightning on Evans. Start early!
Climbed this ridge from a descent of Evans/Epaulet saddle as recommended by Gerry Roach in his guide book. Some minor scrambling only, then traversed sawtooth to Evans. Fun scrambling, but would be better from Evans to Bierstadt in my opinion: Better views. For some reason I was very fatigued all day, so we hitched a ride from the summit of Evans down to the car at the saddle and didn't feel bad about it. Great route for avoiding the inevitable crowds, we only saw other people on the two summits. Don't believe the hype; a rope would have been serious overkill for this traverse.
Do the SE Ridge- flawless pink granite awaits.
Made it with no problem on June 5 (with cute but out-of-shape golden retriever). Were worried about the storm on June 4 and brought snowshoes, but decided to leave them in the car after looking at the peak. Good decision. We left the trailhead around 7 a.m. with most of the trail frozen and under a dusting of snow -- all melted on the return. Looks like the worst of the storm didn't hit this far south. Still some significant snowfields but mostly hard-packed. Punched through two or three times (thigh-deep) but nothing major. Snowshoes no longer necessary. Willows were fine on the boardwalk / trail but a mud put -- gaitors recommended. More crowded than I expected the day after the storm -- we probably saw about 30 people. Car-to-car time 5 1/2 hours.
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!