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 Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
 Post Date:  08/09/2006
 Date Climbed:   08/09/2006
 Posted By:  p_tolley

 Mt. Bierstadt - Mt. Bierstadt Trail   

After traveling up the battered and scarred Guanella Pass Road we made it to the Mt. Bierstadt TH in time to be rewarded with the following view.
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What a great way to start a hike. We left the parking lot on the west side of Guanella Pass Road (the parking on the left hand side of the road was closed with the construction) at 6:11 am. It didn‘t take us long to cross the "willow infested swamplands" that precede Scott Gomer Creek and about thirty-five minutes into the hike we reached the bottom of the shoulder before the upper section of the hike. The following photo shows the part of the trail from about midway up (there are a few moderate inclines here, but also many places to catch your breath).
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After 20 minutes and a short break we reached the crest of the shoulder. From here we could see the remaining route and were treated to some great views of the Sawtooth. The trail in this section, until the climb up the summit ridge, is very good and the going is fast. This photo shows the trail and also Mt. Bierstadt.
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Once we reached the bottom of the summit ridge the trail steepened slightly. It also has more rocks and bigger rocks in this area. Part of the trail had water running down it, but this didn‘t slow us much and we continued to the ridge crest. This portion of the trail is easy to follow and if you did get lost there are large cairns marking the upper portion. Also, during this portion of the climb we were treated with views of a bull elk and mountain goat billy. The following photo shows the final climb to the summit.
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There are a number of ways to the top from here. We took the route of least resistance and looked for cairns marking the path. We reached the summit at 8:36 am. It was overcast and windy so we didn‘t stay long before we started our descent. On the way down we used the same trail and passed 71 other people on their way to the summit. Remember we hiked on a Wednesday, I wouldn‘t even want to think how busy a weekend would be. We reached our car at 10:32 am and prepared ourselves for the inevitable battle with construction. All in all this was a very pleasant and easy hike.

Here is another amateur panorama.
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