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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-11-06||Route: West Slopes
Info: Guanella Pass is still open as of today (11/6) but snow packed and icy in spots (they are keeping it sanded). Light snow all morning with gentle winds - my car was reading in the mid 20s at the TH. Trail is now fully covered in snow (mostly powder) - anywhere from 3 to 12 inches depending on location. As a first timer, I wouldn‘t have been able to hike the trail had someone not beat me to it by about 30 minutes (I followed his prints). Microspikes are a must. I made it up to the Northwest Shoulder and made the decision to turn back because of erratic visibility (I‘m a noob - no risk taking, especially since I was flying solo). Hiking back down, all sets of prints were nearly covered and barely visible; by the time I got back to my car, Evans and Bierstadt were both engulfed with snow clouds. Gorgeous climb; looking forward to a summit next spring!
|2015-11-02||Route: West Slopes
Info: Camped overnight on Sunday to get an early start on Monday. The trail through the lower section in the willows was mostly hard ice while the upper sections were snow packed. The summit was quite cold and gusty. Got much warmer on the way down and the lower icy sections turned to mud. This was my first 14er and it was spectacular. Thanks to everyone on 14ers.com and all the resources here I was well prepared, knew exactly where to go and what to expect.
|2015-11-02||Route: West Slopes
Info: Hiked from 8am to 1pm on Monday with beautiful sunny weather but freakish wind gusts on the summit, with wind chills in the single digits to teens. The summit wind gusts were so bad that I could barely get my gloves off to take a picture before my fingers started to get numb. Also, I can‘t stress enough how important micro spikes are for Mt. Bierstadt‘s current condition. Maybe half of the people I saw today weren‘t wearing them and they were all miserable. The first third of the trail is slush/mud, the second third is ice, and the final third is rather deep powder on the steepest section, so I had my spikes on the whole hike and I didn‘t fall once, whereas people without them were slipping and sliding all over the place. The trail is very well-marked and easy to follow in most places and as long as you stick to the footprints, you won‘t fall into deep snow. However, this all could change with snow showers expected to dump 10" on Bierstadt 11/4-11/5.
|2015-10-31||Route: West Slopes
Info: I started my solo ascent around sunrise yesterday morning (10/31). The trail was snow-packed most of the way. There was some minor post-holing on the ascent to the ridge, but not enough to warrant snow shoes. Micro-spikes were sufficient for me, and there were only a couple instances of slippage. The weather was almost perfect, but it was a bit windy most of the day. I had the summit to myself at one point, which really was a special experience. It was a beautiful hike.
|2015-10-24||Route: West Slopes
Info: I went up this morning around 9:00 or so with a friend of mine. This was my first 14er, so I approached it pretty cautiously. It was decently cold initially, so we were bundled up and ready to go. About 30 minutes into the trip, we began unziping our jackets and taking off a layer because it was decently warm once you got going. We got past the halfway point (1.75m) without much trouble as most of the snow was packed down, so it was easy to walk on. But once we went past that it was a bit more difficult. The snow got deeper, and less packed down, so you had to be careful with your steps. There weren‘t a ton of rocks during this part, so it made it a lot tougher. Around 10:30 some of the wind started to blow pretty hard making it pretty cold, and a lot of snow began to blow into the path, making it harder to navigate. Once we made it to about the 13,300‘ mark, there were a lot more rocks, making it easier to keep good footing. Throughout the last stretch, the weather began to cooperate. There was nearly no wind, and the sun came out which made it warmer. Through the last 700‘ I didn‘t wear gloves because it was decently warm. At the summit, it was perfect out, no wind and there were a lot of hikers up there with us. The descent wasn‘t too hard, but making it back down that final pitch is fairly difficult. Once we got back down to the 13,300‘ mark, we took off our jackets because it was fairly warm while you were hiking. We had to watch our step on the way down, as it was easy to slide in some of the snow, I would advise some sort of spikes, but it wasn‘t necessary in our case. Once we made it back to the halfway point, the rest of the hike down is really easy. Overall it was a great day, with great weather for the most part. Would highly recommend this route to someone doing their first 14er. The path is easy to follow throughout the journey, but make sure to bring plenty of water, and take your time.
|2015-10-24||Route: West Slopes
Info: I left the lower parking lot at around 6:00AM it was roughly 20-30 degrees (F) with minimal wind less that 5MPH. Was a good hike and slowly warmed up as we went up the trail. at the last saddle, roughly 600 feet below the summit the wind picked up to a steady 20 MPH or so with gusts up to 40mph. The temp on the summit itself was about 15 degrees (F). It was so cold I didn‘t even take a picture from the summit, I was there about a minute and then started my descent, the plan was to do the saw tooth ridge as well, but it had a lot of snow on it and the wind was too high. There is about 6 inches of snow on the lower parts of the mountain with drifts up to 5feet as you ascend, we where potholing up to our thighs quite frequently higher up. Gaiters and crampons/ yak tracks / micro spikes would be useful. sky was clear untill around 10:00AM where some clouds started to form, nothing serious.
|2015-10-16||Route: West Slopes
Info: I camped in Colorado the entire week Oct 11-17th. The weather was dry and almost no clouds in sight. Temperatures were 60‘s and 70‘s at lower elevations. There was no snow on any portion of the trail till the very top of the peak. This was my brother‘s first 14er and he was up and down inside of 4 hrs which is pretty quick compared to my 5 hrs RT. On a clear day this is probably the easiest 14er I have ever done. The distance is one of the shortest and there is very minimal bouldering up top. The rest is just walking uphill.
|2015-10-11||Route: Northwest Gully
Info: This is a knucklehead report. I attempted to summit from the flats via the gully. Few cairns, so following the game tracks on the snow was the thing to do. It was painstaking. I got high enough to hear the voices in the summit but a couple slippery sections were beyond my gear and/or skill. I decided to turn back (open slope with no stop in sight) Probably in the afternoon the snow and ice would have melted enough.
|2015-09-26||Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Info: Awesome route. No snow. Didn‘t have to pay. Stayed in Idaho Springs but several car campers at the lake. Tons of people on the summits. No one did the East ridge route with us though. Colors are phenomenal.
|2015-08-22||Route: West Slopes
Info: Hope everyone is well. Arrived at trailhead by 6:00am and the lot was full, made it to the summit by 8:00am. Began descent around 8:30am to return back at the trailhead by 11:00am. A busy day on the trail mostly on the descent. Mountain haze was noticeable but did not effect hiking conditions but did effect views. Summit was very windy with low temperatures. Overall great hike.
|2015-08-21||Route: West Slopes
Info: Windy on the summit today. I had a 4 a.m. start. The air around Bierstadt and Evans held much smoke blown in from the fires out west. A tiny bit of ice on trail up high; easily passable.
|2015-08-18||Route: West Slopes
Info: Cooler temps have arrived, parts of the trail on the upper mountain had significant ice, especially the new parts that were just built. A bit of frost also covered elevated sections through the swamp. By noon, this ice was gone! So this applies to only the morning hours before direct sunlight.
|2015-08-15||Route: West Slopes
Info: The westslope is in good shape with no snow to report. There were crews out Saturday afternoon doing maintaince on the lower section of the trail. The crowds are starting to thin out. The creek crossing is still the same rock jumping as described by others, but if you are sure footed, its a breeze. There was some mud sections in the first mile that seems to be an issue for those in tennis shoes but it had rained a good amount Friday night so that was to be expected. Great day, with great weather.
|2015-08-15||Route: East Ridge
Info: I had yet to see a condition report for the Bierstadt East Ridge, so I decided to go for. The route description seemed pretty thorough with lots of pictures and I‘m confident hiking class 3 so why not. This route gets your attention right from the start. Parking at the recommended parking location there is a trail that leads you to the descent gulley but it quickly fades away as you descend. Do not try to descend under headlamp. You want to be able to see your line in advance and carefully pick your approaches. We encountered a couple short sections that required down climbing. Once you reach the bottom the hike across and climb back up the other side to ridge are pretty self explanatory. I recommend staying to the North side of the lake as the route description says. We saw a group cross on the South side and it looked like it added extra distance. Once you reach the top of the ridge the real fun starts and continues all the way to the summit. First two class 3 sections are pretty easy to pick lines through and there are multiple options to choose from. Just follow the pictures in the route description. The third section you reach requires some good route finding to keep it at class 3 scrambling. We added a few cairns to help identify the route, but again follow the route description. After that third section there is still more climbing and down climbing required as you traverse the ridge so don‘t think the worst is behind you. This route requires good route finding skills and being comfortable with exposure. Don‘t expect to walk a mindless trail here. You will have to pick your lines the entire time, which is a nice change. Since the day was so nice we decided to add the Sawtooth and Evans and do a clockwise loop. The descent off Bierstadt to the Sawtooth is not well trailed either so pick a line and just go for it. Try not to lose too much elevation though so you can contour around. There are several cairns marking the path after you descend and reach the class 3 sections. These were considerably easier than the class 3 we encountered on the East Ridge. Not much else I can about the Sawtooth or Evans. Both have good trails and are self explanatory from the route descriptions. From the summit of Evans we were able to easily descend back to the car without issue. Car to Bierstadt summit took around 3hrs, then other 1.5hrs to reach Sawtooth, and Mt Evans summit was reached at the 5hr 15min mark. Car to car took 6hrs. This is an awesome route if you want solitude and a challenge (at least until you pass the Sawtooth). Don‘t under estimate the East ridge. It does require good route finding skills and will challenge you. Highly recommended for anyone with experience and is comfortable with exposure.
|2015-08-05||Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Info: Trail is clear and good to go. Willows are muddy and wet, but what‘s new? Mt. Evans road is now open, so we saw lots of people atop of Mt. Evans. More info and pics can be found here: https://everythingoutdoorscolorado.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/mt-bierstadt-sawtooth-west-evans-mt-evans/
|2015-07-26||Route: West Slopes
Info: My first 14er, the recent condition reports are accurate, I just wanted to add that at the stream if you walk up a little further past where the trail cuts through, someone has laid down a plank to cross and connects you back to the trail on the other side. We had a member without waterproof boots, so we found this extremely helpful. Most difficult part for me was coming back down. A lot of loose gravel that made it difficult for me to go very fast. Took it nice and easy and was fine. It was a great first time 14er, took us about 6 hours (we moved pretty slow and took frequent breaks) and started at 5:25 am and the first parking lot was almost full. Definitely recommend starting early as possible!
|2015-07-26||Route: West Slopes
Info: Route was clear all the way to the top. The trail was dry, except for a couple small muddy sections which are easy to walk around and prevent further trail erosion. Crossing the creek wasn‘t a big deal but many of stepping stone rocks are/were under a little water so prepare to get your shoes a little wet if you‘re not wearing boots. CFI was performing trail work at the bottom of the first switchback section installing water bars. We knew there would be afternoon storms so we got an early start (5:20). The summit was clear at 9:30, with some wispy clouds forming up from a few different directions. By 10:30, the high clouds started forming up, with larger clouds over the summit and a small amount of rain at the trailhead by noon. Lots of people, enough to merit mention in a condition report. Many inexperienced folks were bottling up on the rocky sections near the top, causing a little delay or need to work around them, and at the stream crossing at the bottom. I‘ve never been on a summit with ~100 other people before (this is my 7th 14er), that was a bit weird. Lots of unleashed dogs (a no-no in a Wilderness Area), my party of 2 had no issues with them beyond occasionally almost stepping on one or two coming from behind on the steep section of the final push. Goats were hanging out just below the summit. Mostly mellow except for one (couldn‘t tell if it was a billy or a nanny) which was being very territorial while being photographed. The attached photo shows most of the route. The hikers in the picture made for great trail buddies at the end of the day and their pup was leashed, under control, and very well-behaved.
|2015-07-24||Route: West Slopes
Info: This is my first conditions report so bear with me. This is also my first 14er (many more to come....I‘m addicted). The western slopes trail is in pretty good condition for the most part. There is still a lot of water in the willows, but only really in the area with the boardwalks. There is a stream crossing among the willows that was flowing pretty good, but with careful foot placement your toes would only be in for a split second. Other than that, there are a few muddy spots on the trail, but all can be avoided. Above the willows area, there is runoff (springs?) that seem to be flowing along down the trail in spots...makes things a little slick, so you just have to pay attention. Other than that, not much to report on.
|2015-07-17||Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Info: There is a snow field between Bierstadt and the Sawtooth. Not too difficult to cross. I chose to drop down and cross at an area that was less steep than the the higher crossing. I didn‘t have Micro-Spikes with me. Other than that, any snow in other places can easily be avoided.
|2015-07-17||Route: West Slopes
Info: Hiked Bierstadt with friends who summited their first 14er today. Made more friends on the way up and down as I would estimate there were at least 200 people on the trail. Weather and trail conditions were excellent. Only hiccup for us was that we had to wait for about 30 minutes at US 285/FR 118 because of the ongoing construction. If you intend to head up Guanella from the south, be aware that the road is closed periodically during the day and you may have to wait.