| Tour d\‘Abyss - Roach 3.19, Class 3 *Classic*
BRING GLOVES FOR BOULDERING!
On Mt. Evans road, the parking spot is pretty obvious becuase it is the first very sharp turn after coming from around the east side of Mt. Evans. 11.4 miles from Echo Lake is accurate. The lot holds 3 cars comfortably and there are pullouts about 1/4 mile up and down from it.
The first thing you have to do is pick which gully to go down. The low point in the saddle is recommended, but without really spending time to figure out where that was, we took the one with a post in front of it (see the circle).
Not sure if the post is meant to encourage or discourage, but this gully worked out OK. Just don't kick rocks on your partner. You will loose about 1000 vertical here.
You will pick up a trail (route 14V) in the valley. Although it will take you to the right side of Abyss Lake, don't go all the way to the waters edge because you will need to backtrack in order to go around it on the left side. Do go up the hill to where the lake is though. There were a few ptarmigans running around near the lake shore.
There is not any hint of a route at this point. It is basically a 1500 ft scramble straight up over rough terrain to get to a saddle near the top of Mt. Bierstadt. This will probably be more effort than you are expecting it to be. As my dad put it, "This is bull@#*$". Aim for for a saddle that has red dirt/rocks below it. It is pretty visible from far below so you should not miss it. Once you reach the saddle, you are very close to the summit.
Here is a look at the Sawtooth from the summit.
The light blue route is probably the "safest" way around the gendarme. We saw someone take the red route, but I am not sure how the heck he made it to the Mt. Evans ridge. Maybe someone else can comment on that.
Here is another look at the gendarme and the route we took.
This was my first class 3 experience and I can honestly say that I was not mentally prepared for it. Towards the end, I felt like I was surviving and not climbing.
Many others have this same following picture, but in mine, circled is a person so that you can get some perspective about how large the intimidating trail is once you cross over the ridge.
Even when you are there it looks like it is 2 feet wide the whole way. The following picture is from the very top right before you go over to the Mt. Evans ridge side.
The main point of this shot is to show that, even though a misstep is certain death, the trail is quite level until the last pitch and then there are plently of good rocks and footing.
This part was a huge mental game, but climbing the gendarme was much, much worse for me.
Once you get over to the Mt. Evans ridge, don't stray to far to the left (east since you are now heading south) towards Mt. Spalding because the cairned trail takes you to the west side of Mt. Evans. After Evans, you just cut across the road a few times and you are back to the car while most everyone else who did these two peaks is battling the willows.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):