The Start of Something Fun
This year’s hiking trip included the largest number of participants yet. We dubbed our adventure “14er Palooza” and by trips end we achieved a number of summits, made new friends and had an absolutely amazing experience. For several hikers this was their first taste of 14er summits and they are now addicted. Our group had members from Denver, Chicago, Dallas and Nashville. We had the opportunity to experience a little of everything during our hikes – bad weather, snow, high water and minor injury. But all the challenges only enhanced the experience. Here are the number of people from our group who summited:
Evans 6 (not counting those that drove to the top)
Our trip started with acclimatization on Evans. Later arrivals simply drove to the top to breathe some of the thin air while others opted for a mid-morning hike up the west ridge over Mt. Spalding and two of us got up at 0:dark30 to complete the Bierstadt-Sawtooth-Evans traverse. We started hiking from Guanella trailhead around 5:00 am and only used our headlamps for 15 minutes. Pictures tell the story better than words so here goes:
Trail was snow free and mostly dry.
Preview of traverse in the background. Ended up being far simpler than it appears from this vantage point.
From Bierstadt summit looking across to The Sawtooth and Mt. Spalding.
Decided we didn't like the snow up close to the ridge so we descended lower to cross.
Successfully across the snow.
Go around or high on the gendarme. We took the high line - there were a few tight spots, but mainly it was just fun scrambling.
Ledge traverse - plenty of room, but also enough air to invigorate you.
Looking back at our handiwork from Bierstadt to the Sawtooth.
Looking down at Summit Lake from Evans West Ridge. Hoped to meet up with other members from our group, but they were far behind - Slackers!
Typical terrain on West Ridge trail
Goofing around on the summit of Evans. Tourists were baffled.
Meanwhile, another portion of our group had departed Summit Lake for the West Ridge.
No confusion where to go.
Trail on the way to Spalding.
Follow trail segments on the ridge
Hiking is FUN!
These guys posed for a picture by the road - but they could have been on the trail!
First time summit
Hiking makes me tired.
Johnson, our mascot for the trip, makes his first appearance in the Summit Lake parking area. This guy got into all kinds of trouble during the trip.
Off to Leadville to carb load for the next day's attempt on Missouri
We took advantage of vehicles on top of Evans and did not make a return hike. These hikes were a great way to get acclimated. The Bierstadt/Sawtooth/Evans combo was a lot of fun and would be a good way for someone to get a little experience with route finding, scrambling and a bit of exposure.