I climbed my second 14er at the end of June. Wow, Bierstadt was a beautiful ascent with a great group of hikers from Northern Colorado Adventurers. We started hiking at 6:43 am and I reset a step counter, just for kicks.
Mt. Evans, The Sawtooth, Mt. Bierstadt
There were a mother and baby moose sighted at the parking lot (which I missed) and then five more shortly after we got going.
Boardwalk through the "willows"
I've seen "the willows" referred to in many route descriptions, but isn't it manzanita? (Go ahead and set me straight in the comments.)
Moose at Lake 11510
Topo maps label this pretty pool merely "11510." I shall henceforth call it Moose Lake. Can you see all five moose in the photo?
Still far away
View across the willows
Final pitch to the summit
I reached the summit in 2 hours and 21 minutes, the last 20 of which were spent climbing the final pitch above.
I made it! Bierstadt summit with Mt. Evans behind
View from Mt. Bierstadt summit
View from Mt. Bierstadt summit
Not too cloudy but very crowdy on top
This time I remembered to sign the summit register. However, I couldn't locate the geo marker despite being told I had stepped right over it.
Mt. Evans & Abyss Lake from Bierstadt
Another flattering Bierstadt summit shot
Dave, who hiked with me most of the way
In our group of eight attempting Bierstadt, Dave & I ended up pacing ahead of the rest on the way up. We were on the summit nearly half an hour and ready to start down when the rest of the group arrived (minus one who had turned back early).
Northern Colorado Adventurers on Mt. Bierstadt
So our summit stay clocked in at 37 minutes. I felt great and didn't want to leave. I checked my step counter before heading down at 9:41 and it said 12,025 steps.
Sawtooth between Bierstadt & Evans
Six more Northern Colorado Adventurers had hit the trail earlier than we to climb Bierstadt, cross the Sawtooth, and claim Evans as well.
View toward Guanella Pass & parking area
I'll be honest, my knees weren't happy by this point. Thank God for trekking poles and ibuprofen, but still. I'm a very slow descender. If this tested Dave's patience, he was extremely good natured about it. Several from the later summit group passed us on the way down, and somewhere I traded hiking partners.
Looking back at the Sawtooth as clouds gathered
Dog crossing Scott Gomer Creek
Scott Gomer Creek was easy to cross on stepping stones. This dog was happy to frolic a little in the cool water.
Final view of Mt. Evans, the Sawtooth, Mt. Bierstadt, and "Moose Lake"
I returned at 12:17 for a total time of 5 hours, 34 minutes, step counter boasting a whopping 23,498 clicks. The round trip was 7 miles on trail plus summit exploration. Math trivia: coming down took me 15 minutes longer than going up, courtesy of slow knees. I may be the only one to ever say this, but I appreciated the gentle uphill grade concluding the hike as it gave my knees some relief.
The flashing lights of two emergency vehicles greeted us and we guessed that a search had been initiated. It began to sprinkle as we all waited in line at the outhouse, and just as we were leaving the parking lot, a brief hailstorm ensued. Winding down Guanella Pass, we passed two more emergency vehicles going up with sirens howling, and then an Alpine Rescue van.
From a news release and the Alpine Rescue web site I later pieced together the story that a teenage boy had taken a fall from the Sawtooth but was not found, leading rescue teams to believe he was able to hike out by himself.
Kristina Lim (Rainbow-K)