Date climbed: 03/19/2014
Route: West ridge from Guanella pass
Stats: ~12 miles, ~3,800 elev. gain
Time: ~9 hours 45 min, 8.15 am to 6 pm
Mode of transportation: skis to 12.5k
With the last day of winter'14 boasting a good weather and wind forecast, I got motivated to take a day off for the mid-week hike of Mt. Evans. I left Denver around 6am and got to the TH sometime before 8am (Trailhead = Guanella pass winter closure from Georgetown side, 1.8 miles from the summer TH). I felt tired from lack of sleep. Finally I started skinning about a quarter after 8am.
The road was an easy skin and soon I was rolling into the basin. The willows still greeted me, only this time they were submerged under a thick blanket of snow.
They no longer posed a threat though, as skis provided just enough floatation to stay atop the fairly consolidated snow. With that in mind, I aimed for the most direct route towards Scott Gomer creek.
Skinning up parallel to the creek
Heading up Scott Gomer drainage
Time to "park" the skis ~12.5k and head up the mostly dry ridge
Hiking up with the view of Square Top
It's a long slog, so I am entertained by bumping into a herd of sheep. I got pretty close to them.
Finally the path was clear and the West ridge was in sight.
Frozen Summit lake
Remaining route towards the summit
Near the summit
Got to the summit around 2.30pm or so
Bierstadt & Sawtooth on the way back
Ran into the same herd of sheep on the hike out. They were very curious. Got to the ski stash around 5pm.
Looking back at the route
Sawtooth on the ski out
The morning skin track was mostly covered up already by the wind, which picked up somewhat in the afternoon. Still, it wasn't too bad. Had to throw skins on for about a mile to cross the flats. Back at the car just before 6pm.
Evans in the Fall
Date climbed: 10/14/2011
Route: West ridge from Guanella pass, also "West" Evans
Partners: LynnKH, Nick
Stats: ~10 miles, ~3,100 elev. gain.
We read that the standard route goes through the soggy willows and we were really keen on avoiding that, especially since the previous weekend Lynn had to turn around after her partner's boot got soaked. By accident, I stumbled upon the TR (from 2008!) describing a variation of the standard route, but I don’t think this route is a common knowledge even on 14ers.com. Trip Report 1 Trip Report 2 Trip Report 3
The route goes through the Grey Wolf-Spalding drainage and crosses the Scott Gomer creek. Starting from Bierstadt TH, we had no trouble locating the trail through the willows just from this description:
It worked out even better for us, since we were able to find a decent trail on the first hill we stumbled across. Once there, the trail took us all the way to the hill near the Scott Gomer creek. I believe the creek crossing is the only potentially tricky part on this route – the key is to find large stable rocks that would take you to the other side. Some of the route descriptions we’ve seen parallel Scott Gomer creek for some time before turning and going up Mt. Spalding. We crossed the creek very low and stayed on the ridge from the beginning and it eventually merged with the standard route at about 13,400 feet. We took the exact route that is described here with blue arrows and the comment: “We did not do this upper route but it may be better”. We are pleased to report that indeed it is
On the way back, we followed the same route through the willows, since it worked so well for us on the way up. Except we elected to stay on trail until the bitter end, but alas, we lost the trail about 0.5 mile from the parking lot. Hence, we had to bushwhack through the willows a bit at the end, but it was not a major ordeal.
Among other highlights - we did not see another soul on Evans the entire day, but noticed a few people on top of Bierstadt though. Total # of cars in the Guanella pass parking lot - up to 8, including casual hikers and photographers. I am convinced that the best time to do busy 14ers is off-season.
crossing the Scott Gomer creek
Taking the ridge. Notice how it parallels the route up Bierstadt.
Views of Sawtooth from the ridge.
Sawtooth from the east side.
A little bit of snow on the Evans summit ridge route
Not a soul to be seen on the Evans summit
Except for those guys
Back on trail and looking at Sawtooth
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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