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Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Post Date:  07/19/2011
Date Climbed:   07/17/2011
Posted By:  gegustafson

 Bierstadt - Sawtooth - Evans Combo   

My friend Laura and I wanted to try something a little more aggressive and I hadn't done Bierstadt or Evans in years (Pre-Boardwalk) so we thought we would try the Bierstadt/Evans combo via the Sawtooth. Laura is a VERY strong hiker with great endurance (did a duathalon the day before) and I have completed all 54 14ers.

We got a fairly early start at 7:15 but were surprised at the crowd! Thought there was a sale going on. We made good time and summited Bierstadt in 2:45. I have never seen such a large crowd on the summit, probably 30 or 40 people! It's a party!

We had a quick snack and decided to keep moving. We talked to a few others and decided to move along with 3 new friends down the sawtooth. We tried to stay as high as possible on the ridge to avoid the snowfields and it worked pretty well. The trail was pretty obvious until the final "Gendarme". We weren't quite sure which route to take but followed the suggestion of the middle and were pleasantly surprised at the ease of route accross the Gendarme.
It is awesome to look at the OTHER side of the sawtooth!
We crossed over before the last hump and comtemplated the ledges. They look worse than they really are. Fairly short and wide.
The wall next to the ledges is impressive.
We hit the top of the ledges and took a short break. Overachiever Laura went up to the Sawtooth summit. I took the more direct route towards Evans. I was surprised at the length of the trail up Evans from the Boulderfield. I didn't remember it being a mile long and circling all the way around Evans' back side. I was getting tired and glad to reach the Evans Summit. If I thought the Bierstadt summit was crowded, the Evans summit was even more so! And none of them were speaking English. Lot's of tourists up here and a few goats to boot (besides myself)!

Overachiever Laura took the high road so she could summit West Evans. I was perfectly content to head back on the main trail since weather was moving in. The trail goes fast on the way back but I was still glad to see the boulderfield again. It's a great field with many interesting rock formations. Must have been a glacier at some point.

The book says you can take a shortcut down between the sawtooth and Mt. Spaulding. Overachiever Laura literally ran over and summitted that 13er!. I took the direct path down to the gulch. Looking back, it is a gnarly gulch: steep descent, loose footing and tough on the quads.
But the flowers are beautiful. Lots of Columbines and Indian Paintbrush.

I was so happy to hit the bottom of that gulch and so looking forward to a nice easy flat walk back to the Bierstadt trail and boardwalk. NOT! The bottom was VERY marshy.

We started on on the suggested path through the willows but were quickly "bogged" down, pun intended. We keep trying to go higher with not much luck. After lots of re-routing we eventually gave up and just slogged through. Now I remember Bierstadt like the old days! What a muddy mess. Finally, we turned the corner and caught the Bierstadt trail. What a relief. Of course when we got to the river crossing we just stood in the river to "wash" our boots. But at least we were almost done. Almost 11 hours altogether. Long day for an old guy like me but I'm proud I made it!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Thanks for a fun day out     2011-07-19 21:59:15
That was a great hike; I absolutely loved it! Good trip report too. What's next?

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