Fun winter slog.
I hiked this with the Colorado Mountain Club. The weather looked pretty bad from Denver, but it cleared up a little when we got to the trailhead. It was pretty windy and cold above Square Top Lakes, and there were some ominous clouds over Evans and Bierstadt. We were only on the summit for a few minutes when the leader ordered us back down: he had seen lightning around Bierstadt, so we boogied back down as fast as we could.
Me and asphazell dawned our cramp ons on the final stretch of the North East Ridge in route to the summit
What a great spring climb! We camped at roughly 11,800...melted snow for our dinners, shared a cigar and watched the sunrise. Awoke early to crampon up the north-eastern ridge and were met with perfect snow conditions.
A nice high altitude mountain that has safe routes and easy access year round.
The word of the day was "Lenticular", extremely high winds and cold temps did nothing to take away from an exceptional hike with my wife. The NE ridge provided uniterrupted views all around, the snow was almost non-existent except in the willows.
We encountered an upclose herd of mountain goats numbering over 35. All in all a great winter hike.
A beautiful, easy hike made much harder by sustained 30 mph winds and sub-zero windchill. Reasonably hard snow meant no snowshoing. The Divide was cloud-shrouded all day and tendrils of that cloud kept blowing in over and through. Square Top, however, was sufficiently east that everything except the summit itself was crystal clear. Great mountain with spectacular scenery, good access and a little bit of everything.
I got to the trailhead at 0730, to the lower lake at 0815 and the summit by 1000. Hung out on the summit and searched for the summit register until 1045. Arrived back at trailhead by 1230. The willows were not a problem. It was a beautiful day, perfect for hiking.
We started out at 8:30am and got close to the top of the cirque around noon and decided we should start hiking down before it got too late. The south trail is a very steep and difficult path. Next time we will take the seemingly easier north ridge way.
Even though it rained all the way to Guanella Pass, we decided to try and summit anyway. Because of this decision, we ran into rain, hail, snow, fog, clouds, lightning, sun and very high winds.
Visibility was about 50-100 feet on the way up. We reached the summit in 3 hours - longer than anticipated due to trying to see the route and mountain. We finally achieved the summit ridge amidst 40-50 mph winds and extreme cold.
We left the summit after a few pictures, but somehow dropped down too early to the south due to visibility still being bad. Lightning and snow greeted us in the south gulch area, but the weather suddenly cleared and we were able to determine that we were too far off route and traversed back to the SE ridge. Good thing I always bring a compass and map!
All in all it was an exciting day, but was relieved to get back to the car. Good views and pictures of Bierstadt and the Sawtooth all coverered in snow once the sun came out. A nice, beatiful area too - I want to climb this one again when visibility from the summit is better.
Pretty easy hike although for some reason I wasn't feeling well at all by the end of it. We didn't have any route finding difficulties and did some snow climbing instead of taking the easy way down. We intended to find a glissade route back to the lake but we couldn't find anything with a decent runout so we headed back to the ridge.
The trail through the willows leading to the Northeast Ridge is fairly obvious if you keep your eyes open.
This was the coldest, windiest day I've ever experienced! Instant frost nip if you took a glove off. I felt like my eyeballs were going to freeze. As you can tell, it was a great time!
Erin and I used almost the exact route Aaron details for us here on SP. We didn't know about SP at the time, however, and we had no idea that Squaretop's east ridge was a popular ascent route, so this day felt like an adventure to us. Miserable postholing through the willows on the return.
We started the day intending to hike Mt. Bierstadt. Blame it on our poor sense of direction (or our late night the day before) we ended up on the trail to Squaretop. We had a trusty trail description to rely on (who would have known the dreaded willows exist on both trails). Anyway we ran into a nice couple right above the lake that informed us the trail ended here and it was bushwacking to the top.
So we made our own path to the summit (what I would have done for some good ole switchbacks). Once we got close to the top we realized this wasn't Mt. Bierstadt much to our inexperienced chagrin.
While we looked for a place to each lunch we ran into a man who had just come from hiking 4 other peaks in 3 days. He was on his way to Mt. Bierstadt and then across to Mt. Evans. Wow, I was impressed! Anyway after stifling a laugh he informed us that we were on Squaretop mtn.
It was great day to climb a mountain, even if it was the wrong one ;)
Made it a few times from the Pass and failed from there as well. Watch out for the wind. The south ridge from the Shelf Lake TH on Geneva Creek goes too. Follow the goat poop to the top.
Surprisingly nice day for this summit hike. Not a lot of snow but it was pretty cold. Time for beefier gloves for me.
An enjoyable and safe winter outting.
Great day, if not a little cold. But hey, it IS winter. Snow was almost not present. The dreaded willows of the pass did not catch us as we crossed the snow. This was a very cool climb. The ridges are fun, but watch out for the false summits. I will not tell you how many there are!
Squaretop might be the most enjoyable mountain of the Guanella Pass group... for it allows you to stare at the Sawtooth Ridge to the north the whole climb up. It also sees a paltry fraction of the traffic headed towards Bierstadt. Both Raymond and Sopris accompanied me on both climbs.
We had the mountain all to ourselves. Saw a beautiful herd of 8 mountain goats who ran across snow fields and talus like it was flat ground. An inspiration. Have always wanted to climb this mountain as I have looked at it from Bierstadt over the years.