|Peak:||Mt. Evans (14er)|
|Route:||West Ridge from Guanella Pass|
|Posted By:||Chicago Transplant|
|Date of Information:||03/16/2014|
Closed my winter on Mt Evans today, but figured I would post for people who might have a weekday off and are looking to sneak one last peak in before the calendar switches to Spring.
-Typical winter trailhead, road has a couple of short icy patches, parking lot in good shape.
-Road hike well packed out from snowmobile traffic, can carry your snowshoes, was a little softer in the afternoon so I left them on for the descent. The shortcuts for the switchbacks were not trenched, so I stuck to the road.
-Trail to Bierstadt split needed to be rebroken, in the morning and again in the afternoon, despite traffic on Bierstadt. Wind wasn't bad but steady and enough to blow some powder into the trail, luckily it was only about angle deep.
-Willow traverse was better than expect, good consolidation and mostly only ankle deep as well, also needed to rebreak on the exit
-Gully in Bill's route description was dry, but I didn't take it, I left the willows early and worked through some rocks with some willow "trap" postholes, but generally good. Took this to the ridge that forms the left skyline when looking left of the gully from the route description. Stashed snowshoes before gaining the ridge (image 1, early morning so a little dark, sorry I had stashed camera on the way out)
-Ridge was a mix of light snow coverage, grass and talus initially, and very windy. Topping out and traversing below Spaulding was in a wind shelter, initially ankle deep snow then weaving through talus and grass to gain the west ridge proper (image 2, aim for point in center to gain west ridge)
-West ridge trail was initially snow covered and I stayed above it to avoid side hilling the snow patches. Beyond following the trail was the best option with occasionally avoiding a snow covered section on rock. Some wind, but mostly sheltered, all the way to the summit.
-Image 3 is a view of the initial part of the west ridge
-Image 4 is a view to the willow basin below from up high on the initial ridge.
Photos (click for slideshow):