| Evans from Guanella
There is another trip report from JPowers, from just 2 days before my climb, and his description is pretty accurate. I do have some pictures to share, but I will try not to be too redundant to what he reported.
I met up with another 14ers.com member, Seth, and we headed up to the Bierstadt trailhead to get started.
The trail through the willows is reasonable, generally dry, but very soft in many areas. Waterproof boots are essential, and gaiters highly recommended. There were a few spots where sinking up to the ankles is unavoidable.
Passing Mt. Bierstadt
The sun was very intense as it rose above the gully I was anxious to start gaining some elevation, since it was starting to get very warm down in the bog.
Once out of the willows, and into the gully, the climbing begins in earnest. I actually prefer a nice, long, flat hike before a fast elevation gain, because I think it helps get me ready for the quick climb.
Looking back at Grays / Torreys from the gully
The trail in the gully is spotty, but there are markers around. There are some loose areas, but with care, it's possible to stay close to larger, more stable rocks - something to grab onto if you're not entirely comfortable with what's under your feet. Due to recent surgery, I can't do much with my left shoulder, but even with only one strong arm, I felt that the gully was very manageable.
I like how the route flattens out, once out of the gully, because it allows for another "break" before the final climb up and around the hump, before the summit.
I started moving very quickly once up on that hump, and I seem to have a knack for drifting off trail when I do that. At one point, the only cairn I could see was 30 feet above me, to my left, so I just ran directly up a 45 degree flat slab of rock. At least I know I can do that once in a while. Once this comes into view you know the summit is right there.
I’ve been to the top of Evans so many times with family, I found myself expecting to hop into a car and start driving. But, with weather seeming to build, we hustled down, wishing very much to get back below the rocky gully before any serious rain or lightning. It looked nasty for a little while, but there really was no development.
With no trekking poles, going down was much more difficult for me than going up. Part of that is due to the fact that I can really only use one of my arms for support, but I still strongly recommend poles for this route. As Bill points out in the description, this “straight up” appearance (from the parking lot) is an optical illusion, but it’s still reasonably steep.
The willows are nobody’s best friend, but I was happy to be back on flat ground. Despite the willows, I thought this was a very interesting way to ascend Mt. Evans. Again, I’m partial to routes that are flat, with quick elevation gains (as opposed to a steady gain). And, I give it the slight nod over LaPlata’s SW Ridge route as my 2nd most challenging 14er summit route (behind Mt. Lindsey). It was nice to experience Evans in a different way (ie, not in a car). I felt strong two days later, and am looking forward to heading up another 14er before the end of June.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):