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 Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Sawtooth, The  -  13,780 feet
 Post Date:  07/14/2012
 Date Climbed:   07/14/2012
 Posted By:  jpmassey

 Bierstadt, Evans and the Sawtooth ridge   

I've been gleaning information from this site for several years, so I figured it was time for my first trip report.

We started up Bierstadt fairly late due to a last minute change of plans, at about 9am. This worked out well, because we got a parking spot right by the trailhead, even though there were easily 200 cars up and down the road. We kept a military pace up to the start of the class 2 section, where our mountain goat of a pacesetter left us. We made it up in 1:40 to the Bierstadt summit, only 4 minutes of stopped time.

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Traffic


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Summit Crowds


After looking around for a spot on the incredibly crowed top, we ate a quick lunch and peered over the edge to the infamous Sawtooth ridge.

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Sawtooth from Bierstadt


We started down the easy class 2 backside, and headed towards the ridge.

Near the bottom where you join the ridge, there were no less than 2 groups eyeing the acsent in front of them and trying to decide whether this was something they wanted to do. From that angle, it looks insurmountable. The ledge leading to the top looks like a 45* sand covered deathtrap that necks down to a point at the top with a 1000ft vertical below it.

I'm glad I read the trips reports and I tried to assure everyone it really wasn't that bad.

We went up and then around one of the teeth on easy class 3 terrain, and met another group of 2 resting there. They had done the route several years ago, which helped our confidence. (None of the others followed us there though).

We started around the opposite side on a very narrow ledge, while trying not to remeber the ledge to our left.

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Ledge1


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Ledge2


Surprisingly, when we actually got on the uphill ledge, it seems easy. This is definitely a no-fall zone, but the local terrain is only class 2. I might have been holding my breath some.

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Uphill ledge


The point at the top of the ledge was actually about 6 feet across, with only mild exposure. The view from below is much much worse than it actually is. (Just don't look left).

From there we trudged over to Evans. I fought off some mild altitude sickness from a lack of oxygen from holding my breath.

It took longer than we expected, so we quickly ate a snack, eyed the weather, and started back in practically a jog with our rain jackets on. It drizzled on us the rest of the way.

The return was uneventfull until we missed the descending gully by traversing too far to the right. We decided to drop down to the path, which put us in some wet, slippery mild class 3 terrain.

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Where NOT to go.


The paths through the willows were basically flooded. Nobody escaped with dry feet.

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A little mud.


In the end we were tired, wet, but happy!

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Group shot


Total time 7:40 (2:00 stopped time total, probably 20 minutes of staring at the ridge!)
Total distance 10.6 miles.



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