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.
Climbed with my son Patrick. We left the Pass about sun up, and now that the trail through the willows is so improved we made good time to the trees. It was an easy climb but it was longer than I expected. Some minor scrambling along the west ridge.
Instead of traditional route, we went straight up and it was covered in snow. Ice axe came in handy. Could have used crampons.
Chickened out on the class 4 pitch at the top of the Snave route and went around on the ledge to the right and around to the summit. Still a nice class 3 route. Have climbed this several times, various routes from Summit Lake, by car (and then to Bierstadt and back to make it count), and by bike from Idaho Springs.
Chuck and I rode up with our road bikes from Idaho Springs. Saw a black bear on our first attempt, but had to quit because of bad weather. Were successful a week later.
Climbed road to the summit. A snowstorm came in while we were having lunch at the summit. Lots of sheep -grreat day! Descended very quickly down NE face.
Do I still get to sign the summit register if I parked at the summit and walked for 10 minutes? What if I then did the sawtooth ridge to Bierstadt, then back up to Evans summit? Does that count? What's more pathetic, to walk up a road, while others drive, when you could be spending your time and energy on a more remote and satifsfying peak? I don't know.
We went to do the "Snave" route but the snow had melted out significantly and we had to improvise. This was the only route left from Summit Lake that wasn't a scree scramble. The rock sections were great as well.
Awsome ridge climb, do both Bierstats south and the Sawtooth ridge in one day.
check Roach's book on 14ers for details
some great 3rd & 4th class climbing on a longer day, about 8-9 hours.
Started at Summit Lake and climbed the ridge to Mt. Spalding and then followed the ridge south to the Summit of Evans. Total distance one way was about 2 miles. I hitched a ride down with some people in order to spare my knees. For a 14,000 footer, I would have to rate this climb as easy.
This was my girlfriend's first fourteener, so I thought it would be a short (3.5 miles), easy one to start her out with. Not! We climbed over Mt. Spaulding from Summit Lake and joined up with the trail coming from over the Sawtooth. This took us around Evan's West side. Pretty interesting route for a first timer! We slid and stomped directly down the Northeast face back to the road. She was a real trooper through it all.
This was my second time up Evans, albeit it felt like a bit of a cop-out walking up the road! My partner and I were still green and didn't feel like doing a talus climb up the summit face from the lake, so we took the LONG stroll up the road. People driving up looked at us like we were from another planet. The summit was encased in clouds and we managed to get a ride back down to the lake from some folks before the rain started hard.
This was my first experience with a 14er. I don't really consider it my first bagged peak, as the route was so short and fairly easy, albeit there was still a good deal of snow around. Met a lady from Bosnia at the lake and we spontaneously decided to make the climb, with the NW face being the obvious way up from our viewpoint at that time. Found out later that the NE face is the preferred way up from the lake! We got a lift back down to the lake from the summit.
The sawtooth ridge was alot of fun. Did not see a single mountain goat.
I have climbed Evans from Bierstadt via the Sawtooth Ridge and have biked up the road twice!
Wonderful hike, although go back over Bierstadt on the way back to Guanella, as you can get lost easily if you try to make your own trail back to Guanella.