First CO 14'er, one week after moving to Colorado. Accompanied by my son, who has yet to do another 14'er with me. Next time, I'll go over the sawtooth from Bierstadt.
OK, so we got picked up in a car at the top of Mount Evans by a friend so we didn't get to descend, but summitting Bierstadt and then traversing the Sawtooth was still a pretty good challenge. Summitpost is right on about the route looking harder than it is. There were a couple challenging points just before you cross over to the other side of the ridge - but even these can be avoided if you don't mind downclimbing a bit more (you just have to make up that elevation in a trough-like couloir just before the rolling traverse to the other side). The ledges did get a little thin (2 feet in places) but I never felt uncomfortable or in any real danger. The hike to Evans from here was uneventful, but did offer some cool views of the Sawtooth from the 'other side'. Then a cloud descended upon us and robbed us of our summit view on Evans. Oh well, at least we made it! Fun trip, I'd highly recommend it for those looking for a nice taste of Class 3.
My friend Super Kent and I drove to the summit parking lot. There was an electrical storm nearby. A ranger advised us to stay in our truck. But we scrambled the fifty feet or so to the true summit anyway(It was not mandatory, only advised to stay in vehicle). Once I neared the summit, I touched my hair and heard a "zzzzz" sound! I quickly ducked down lower. I had come too far not to touch the summit rock so I reached up and touched the top of the summit rock, and once again, I felt and heard an minor "zzzzz" sound! My friend and I quickly scrambled back down the slope amidst a couple of lightning flashes in the distance. Even though this summit was a drive-up, it was one of my most dangerous summits because of this experience.
Hiked & scrambled up to Mt. Evans' summit with my dad, from Summit Lake. Missed the start of the trail early on, so we had to improvise, & scrambled up some class 3 ledges before gaining the mellow slope leading to the summit. Along the way a mountain goat posed majestically for us (he was probably just waiting for us to piss to get his salt intake for the day). Also encountered some German engineers testing the then pre-production Audi TT in high altitude conditions, which was sort of cool (one of the few uses of that road). Of course also encountered the expected lazy flat-lander tourists on the summit who'd driven up. Another great day in the Rockies with my Pops.
Did the Snave route, starting at Echo Lake TH. Left at 7.02, summited at 11.48. While the car crowds at Summit Lake, & of course the summit, were staggering on this pre-Labor Day Sunday, I encountered very few on the way up from Echo Lake, & no-one from Summit Lake until I ran into the summit ridge. Beautiful area- the glacial cirques & nice granite are stunning! Fun route- fun scrambling leading up to the final couloir, & ~50' or so of enjoyable, albeit mungy, 4th.
9.3.'14: from Guanella Pass
Left car ~9.20. Hiked down to Guanella Pass campground (10,800'; turned back from campground sign at 9.53) to get a full 3,000' for day, then hiked up to Evans. Trail avoiding (well, at least parts, if you can keep to it) swamp goes L directly at (before) stream crossing on standard trail to Bierstadt. Summited at 14.07, hung out for a bit, enjoying views. Left summit at 14.35. Felt like dog shit pretty much the whole way down- not enough sleep the night before, blasted from the sun, & not enough hydration during the day. Still nice to be in beautiful surroundings, & on a 14er, no less. Back at truck at 17.41, then off to hang with the Larks (& meet Grace!).
I HATE WILLOWS! I had a bad (translation- educational) experience with the neighborhood willows on a spring/snow climb on Bierstadt 2 years before from the same trailhead. But I must admit I would rather slog through the mud and the marsh than the snow and the postholing anyday. Lest I sound bitter- my thanks to those who built the bridges from the beginning of the trailhead. You were building them on a day when I first attempted an "easy" Bierstadt- only to be blown from my feet several times before I decided to try Bierstadt "another day"
Did Evans on a nice day and decided to bag Spalding also since I was "in the neighborhood." Evans was a fun climb. Had to get the tourists out of the way for the summit photo. Having fun now!
Parked the car on a switchback a few miles from the summit and slogged up the north slopes as an acclimatization hike for Longs. I saw a herd of mountain goats on the way. Choked on fumes as I crossed the parking lot for the last 30' to the summit, but otherwise a beautiful climb.
Fun day of sun and wind. Howling wind on the "Mile in the Sky" made the easy hike a little more exciting. Had fun talking to gasoline climbers.
A bit harder than it looks on paper, great way to spend a day.
Beautiful day. Developing dark clouds shortened our lunch break although they never did anything more than threaten. The route was exactly as described on this page.
Great climb as usual. My wife and I found as many goats as car driving tourist on the summit. No snow but plenty of bushwacking through the willows getting back to Guanella Pass.
Yes, we walked up the last bit of road. Nice day though.
Would have been a great climb if it wasnt for the hail and snow storm.
Skinned most of the way up Mt Spalding and then climbed to the summit of Spalding. Then hiked to the summit of evans and teleskied back to the car from the saddle of Evans and Spalding. This was quite a long day (about 11 hours) and an excellant workout.
Fun route from the lake and I got Mt. Spalding too.
A cold and windy day when we got out of the car, we got out of the wind for parts of the trip. It was a great way to start a long Labor day weekend. On the way down we saw some mountain goats which made the trip even more special. I would climb Evans again. I had made one attempt across the sawtooth from Bierstadt but didn't get there due to weather. Would like to try that route again.
Second summit, but didn't get caught in a lightning storm this time.
Awful day, see trip report.
You'll have to read the trip report. Today was quite the adventure.
Flew in from sea level last night. I meant to traverse some grassy ledges that I saw from Summit Lake traversing up to the left across a buttress to the right of the couloir, but got stuck on a ledge after climbing about 30 ft. of 60 degree slabs that seemed easy going up. Somebody was there before because there was a 20 ft. piece of twin rope jammed into the rocks, but not long enough to downclimb even if I did have any gear. After thinking a long time, I wrapped the rope around my wrist (better than no protection, but not much) and made a scary traverse across a gap with a low roof and awkward holds and back down to the relative safety of the loose scree and talus, which I took to the ridge just west of the summit. Yeah, I know it's easier to drive there.
I summitted Bierstadt from Guanella Pass first and then around 10 am traversed the Sawtooth ridge toward Evans. The class 3 ridge takes quite a bit out of you, but I have to believe that going this direction is a lot easier than the other way around since you are climbing up the steepest parts of the ridge. There were a couple of scary spots, but nothing to worry too much about. The long trek from just past the Sawtooth toward Evans is a killer though. Long and demoralizing. On top of that, the weather started to turn windy and cold.
Made summit of Evans by 13:20. By then, the wind is really howling, and I had to put on all my cold weather gear. It was disheartening to see all those energetic tourists driving around the peak in their shiny SUVs, and even more tempting to hitch a ride down with one of them! Had I not come from Bierstadt, I probably would have tried.
Hiking back, I decided not to tackle the Sawtooth again. Instead, I went straight after the saddle and took an alternate route down and across the Willows. Mistake! The Willows sucks all energy out of you. In places, the plants were taller than me and so thick, I had to raise my arms and force my way through using my body. Millions of aphids flying around, I probably inhaled at least 20. The marsh beneath my feet was soggy and soaked my shoes, not to mention made me weary of quicksand. I had to use the branches of the willows that I displaced as "stepping stones" to keep from sinking. Took me about 2 hours to get out of the Willows. Fortunately, I can see the top of Guanella Pass most of the time. Otherwise I would have gotten lost for sure.
So take my advice, if you decide to do what I did, go back on the Sawtooth. It may be steep, but it'll save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!
#4 of 6 fourteeners in 4 days of hiking.