|Peak:||Mt. Evans (14er)|
|Route:||Bierstadt and the Sawtooth|
|Date of Information:||06/15/2013|
Several cousins and I hiked the Mt. Bierstadt-Sawtooth-Evans route on Saturday, returning back to Guanella Pass through Evans' West Ridge and Gomer's Gulley.
For our post-sunrise departure, we joined the usual summer Saturday morning crowds ascending Bierstadt. After summiting Bierstadt mid-morning, we descended down the northeast ridge toward the Bierstadt-Sawtooth saddle. The largest snowfield of the day began soon after, and was roughly a couple hundred yards across (Image #1). As long as we stepped carefully, there was not much of an issue with post-holing.
Ascending the Sawtooth, there were several patches of snow in some of the steeper sections, but was fairly firm and not much of a problem. There was one patch in particular on the west side, shortly before beginning the 'exit ramp' from the Sawtooth, that seemed like it might be tough to negotiate without an axe (which we did not bring), but really wasn't as bad as it looked once we got to it.
The trail along the south side of Evans' west ridge had a good dozen or so snow crossings, but even by mid-afternoon wasn't enough to be a post-holing hazard or necessitate microspikes. Image #4 is a rather low-quality cell phone picture, but shows a wider angle look back at the snow along Bierstadt and the east side of the Sawtooth, taken from Evans' west ridge. For the return trip, Gomer's Gulley was nearly snow-free, but of course this time of year the trail along the beaver ponds and willows near Scott Gomer Creek were rather muddy in numerous places.
We brought microspikes, but never needed them at any point. Post-holing was nearly non-existant (with a few notable exceptions). Carrying axes may have sped up the transition across a few of the larger snow fields (another party on this route used them), but probably not have been a huge benefit. If you descend through the Scott Gomer Creek basin, be prepared for mud and some boggy conditions that are at times difficult to avoid.
Photos (click for slideshow):