This route would be best done as a return trip to your vehicle from Spalding and or Sawtooth Ridge.
From just behind Sunrise Coulior, Go west across The Bierstadt\Spalding Ridgeline to the easily visible gully. And begin your descent.
From the beginning of the gully will be a loose steep scramble down to the valley floor on a well marked trail with cairns into an area of Mount Bierstadt that is rarely seen, you will pass by a small waterfall on your right and behind you in spring and summer months take time to notice the waterfall from runoff of Bierstadt behind you and to the left.
The whole return trip you will be able to see you vehicle which seems “just out of grasp”, but trust me… you still have a hike ahead of you.
Keep to the right hand side of the Marsh areas and at the base of the West Ridge, Hiking here can get sometimes mushy so be thankful to the Waterproof footwear gods.
About a Mile into your decent you will notice near the stream a rock outcropping of Red boulders and you will have a choice to make.
cross the stream (refer to photo)
and bushwhack beyond the patch of trees to your left and follow the west buttress of Bierstadt back to the original Class 1 trail (my recommendation)
, This will give you the “old school”
Bierstadt experience of what it used to be like through the willows but is also a much faster return trip IMO.
continue to follow the not very well marked trail via Roaches “book version” of 5v, be weary of Roaches trail route line markers in his guide as they are not 100% accurate, but this area is tough to get lost in except in harsh weather, there are differences from his guide to actual route S S.W approx 30 Degrees
Return trip should be give-take about an hour in good weather.
Always remember, when climbing in this area going back to your car is UPHILL
the last mile, so conserve energy and take your time
2.70 miles approx distance
Essential GearBasic Hiking Package
- Waterproof Boots
- Map & Compass
- Long Pants (willows will tear your legs apart!!!!)
Camping in the Spring time would be an excellent adventure in this area.
When following this route back to Guanella Pass you will notice a plethora of camp sites that would be epic to hang out for a few days in. Being that few travel this area you will more than likely only have a handfull of folks pass you by at any given time.
I give this area very high regards for solitude + ease of access