For simplicity, I'll just do the text and have all of the pictures at the end... We started at about 0630 after leaving the Springs at 0410 with seven hikers in two vehicles. The road to the trailhead was excellent and the parking lot not too full when we arrived. We were pleasantly surprised to see a cow and juvenile moose along the way, about halfway up from Georgetown (sorry, not quick enough with the camera). The hike started well, though it was warm enough to be already muddy on the trail. Winds were breezy, but not too strong and the temps were already well into the 40s. We jumped across the creek without incident and continued on the trail, but our trail leader took a Frostian wrong turn and we headed farther south on a secondary trail that expected. Given that it's Bierstadt, I realized something was wrong when we didn't see any other people and needed to do some minor bushwacking. We solved that problem easily, though, by just pointing ourselves uphill until we crested a small rise and saw hundreds of our friends heading up the northwest facing snowfields.
From there, we put on our microspikes (those that had them) and followed the many footstep/post hole paths directly up the face. The snow as packed well enough that we didn't post hole very often and not very deeply. Microspikes REALLY helped, though, and the climb was quite easy and straighforward even though we had four complete 14er virgins with us and two others who had never done Bierstadt. The winds actually diminished as we climbed and were reasonably mild as we gained the major ridge just west of the summit. Once on top, we took probably an hour to enjoy our summit sodas, take many photos, and just relax. One of our hikers had never been over 11kft, so he was quite elated by the hike.
The trip down went quickly and we did some short glissades down the northwest face. The marshes were, of course, even muddier and the numbers of people coming up the mountain were amazing. I was down to the parking lot by 1100 and the others were all there by 1130. Nice to get some lunch and be back in the Springs by 1400!! All-in-all, though, a great day on a nice warm-up mountain, looking forward to a productive summer! All of my photos from the trip are available for viewing HERE.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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