| Mt. Bierstadt Bday hike
For years I've wanted to see the sunrise on top of Mt. Beirdstadt for my Bday and I figured this year should be it. I won't bother you with all the inspirational stories of why and what great emotional rejuvenation it was, I'll just give you the low down on conditions and such, with my personal experience added for good measure.
I drove up the Georgetown side to the winter closure, the road was dry and there was ample parking to be found at the closure. I had left Boulder at about 7:45 and got there at about 9:45 pm. Theres a huge pile of snow blocking the road so don't think about trying to drive up to the pass.
There is no need for snowshoes on the road or for any part of the hike to the top. I would leave those at home unless you really feel like you need them. According to my Garmin 405CX GPS watch it is exactly 2.02 miles from the road closure to the toilet at the pass. As a poster said on his 3/31 trip report, don't take any side trails, just stick to the road (thanks again)
I got to the trailhead at about midnight, setting up my tent and unloading my pack. I took about a 1:15 min rest before heading out on the trail at about 1:30 am. The trail is easy to follow in the willows and was no problem with the very bright full moon; I used my headlamp for about 10 secs during the entire trip. The snow is light in some places to where you can easily use the walk ways through the willows.
Once your past the willows the ascent begins and the trail does get a little harder to follow. It had been about 8 yrs since i've hiked the trail so my memory was sketchy. Once you get up towards the first ridge, the view opens up. Heres a look at the trail.
Trail after first ridge
I lost the trail shortly after that and ended up traversing the ridge up towards the top, trying to pick my way up. The snow was deep in some spots up to your knees, but, mostly up to the ankle. It was icy also because of the snowing/melting effect.
Here's a shot of the trail looking down from almost the top:
looking down the ridge
I didn't make it to the top for the sunrise but it was gorgeous to be up there nonetheless
I spent about 30 mins sitting on a rock on Mt. Bierstadt all to myself, seeing the sunrise come over the mountains to the west. It was absolutely beautiful! I will admit that I ran out of gas at about 13,400 ft and turned back. I had been up for about 25 hrs at that point, having gotten up at 6:30 am on the 4th, it being now 7:30 am on the 5th.
The walk down was alright but, a little sketchy and icy. It was funny seeing my bright orange EV3 in the distance and never seeming to make any distance on it. The more the sun came out the softer the snow got and I would highly advise not hiking his midday because you would have a much worse experience then I.
I made it back to my tent around 10 am. I ate some jerky, drank some water and passed out. Spent the next 10 hrs sleeping, then eating and reading and going back to bed.
I had a great Bday and loved my hike up Bierstadt even though I didn't make it. It was about the journey and not the summit for me this time. Thanks for reading!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):