| Mt.Evans via Mt. Spalding
I had some meetings in Denver on Monday, so I flew in on Saturday. Sunday, Sept.11 was a one day window I had to get in my only 14er hike this year. The road is now closed at Summit Lake for the season, so I left the Summit Lake TH at 8:00 am and pretty much had the trail up Spalding to myself. There was a small party of goat watchers along the lake shore, but other than that the parking lot was empty. Temp was about 40F, clear skies and no wind.
The trail up the Spalding ridge is very easy to follow. After reading Roachs and Bills description I thought it might be a little harder to follow.
I spent 10 minutes on the summit shedding some layers and looking across that incredible cirque with the morning sun reflecting off Summit Lake. The view down Chicago Basin was pretty fantastic also.
As I made my way down the west side of Spalding it was pretty easy to pick up the cairns leading up the West Ridge, another party of four caught up with me just above the saddle and we chatted about the route,view, surroundings etc. Turned out they were 14ers.com users (not registered) and they had climbed there first 14er (Bierstadt) last week. Speaking of Bierstadt it looked like there were a dozen people on the summit by 9:00.
The five us were following the cairns up to about 13,800 and then I angled up to the ridge line and followed that as closely as possible. The going is slow as Bill has noted but its a fun scramble with some class 3 and great exposure off your left side. Summitted West Evans about 10:00 and just hung out for a while.
When I arrived at Mt. Evans I had the summit to myself for 20+ minutes. Having the road closed obviously reduces the number of people around and the private solitude was great along with clear skies and unlimited visability.You could see all the way to the San Juans, Collegiates etc. I could see a number of people walking up the road and decided to leave before I had to share the summit. The descent down the NE Face is a nasty piece of steep, loose rock and dirt, Im really glad I didnt come up that way. It has no socially redeeming value.
By the time I got back to the TH it was full of cars, people, rangers, hunters and horses. It was a beautiful day and everyone had headed for the mountains. Not wanting my one Colorado day to end any sooner than necessary I took the stroll up Mt. Warren to finish. I could not have mail ordered a better day.
This was my second 14er, finally, and I hope all of you locals realize how lucky you are to have this magnificent playground at you constant disposal. Thank-you for sharing it with me through 14ers.com with all of your replies, posts, comments and tips. Good climbing to all.