| Fine, Change it to "Easy Class 3" - Sawtooth
August 24, 2013
RT Distance: 10.25
Time: 7 hours
After quite a few class 2 hikes, Kaiti and I thought we should start attempting a few Class 3’s, and decided on Kit Carson as well as the East Ridge on Father Dyer. We then noticed the other day that our only Class 3 hikes to date had been changed to “Easy Class 3”… someone is messing with us!
With no real 3’s under our belt, we did some research & decided that the next route that might get the bump down to easy 3 would be the Beirstadt-Sawtooth-Evans traverse, so naturally we picked this for our next adventure.
I’m mainly writing this TR to encourage those like me who are looking to take the next step up from the walk-up 14ers that this is a solid choice for a first class 3 hike. Photos almost always make routes look more extreme than they really are, and this is definitely true for Sawtooth.
We summited Bierstadt in 1hr 45minutes and the Sawtooth route looked really intimidating from the summit of Bierstadt. However, as you get closer to each section, it really is pretty mellow.
View of the route from Bierstadt
We started off high on the ridge but realized it was taking us a little too long so dropped lower to pick up on time. Before we knew it, we were at the section that looks so scary in the pictures.
You immediately see that the ledge is quite wide, and while the drop-off is there, you can stay safely away from it. I’m not fond of too much exposure and I was never hesitant during the entire route.
Really wide avenue
We took the low section based on some good advice from some nice fellow 14ers Members and it worked out fine. The section was slightly damp which actually helped with traction.
Nice and short
At the top of the Tooth
At the top of Sawtooth is a good place to check the weather again if you are planning on heading to Evans and then taking the gully/swamp back to Bierstadt parking lot. The hike to Mt. Evans took us ~45min and the hike back from Evans took ~2 1/2 hrs. There are not many places along the way to take shelter if a storm came.
On our way back down, we met some friends, quite of few of them actually, about 20 in total.
You looking at me?
Heading back quickly - Trying to beat the storm
Not beating the storm..
The gully is fine on the way back, but the trail, or swamp I should say, is miserable. Multiple times we were sinking past our knees in mud, grabbing ahold of branches to pull ourselves out. It felt like quick sand (or at least how I assume quick sand would feel). I believe if you do the east ridge of Bierstadt you can catch a ride off Evans back down close to your car possibly? If you can, that would be a much better option than this descent.
Not fun, not fun at all
The thunderstorm picked up but luckily we were within ¼ mile from the car.
Nasty stuff rolling in
All-in-all, Sawtooth is really fun and I’ll reiterate, not nearly as scary as we thought it would be.
We look forward to meeting everyone at the HH this Thursday.
We also look forward to seeing this route classified as “Easy Class 3.”
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):