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 Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
 Post Date:  09/09/2008 Modified: 11/06/2009
 Date Climbed:   08/24/2008
 Posted By:  CarpeDM

 A willows bypass route from Sawtooth / Mt. Evans   

Not so much a trip report - more of a route description back from the Sawtooth/Evans. I don't remember seeing a description of this route back, but I remember hearing that it existed.

Also, see this trip report by mt_turtle, which inspired me to post this one:
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5221&cpgm=tripmain

There is a trail along the north side of Scott Gomer creek that leads back to Guanella Pass and bypasses most of the willows. Generally, you find it by an easy bushwhack off the shoulder of Spalding down to the creek, crossing the creek and finding it among some rocks between a pond and a small cliff. Here is a topo representation:

Modified 14ers.com topo
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Once across the creek, parallel it downstream until it starts to drop off in a cascade
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Come above this pond with a rock outcropping to hiker's right - The trail actually goes through the clearing on the far side of this pond, but is very hard to spot in this photo
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The rock outcropping just above and right of the pond - Get to the top of these rocks and you will see the trail coming down from the north and heading southwest to the forest and Guanella Pass
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Push back the bushes here (the ground is dry) and an easy scramble over these rocks leads to the trail (blue arrow in the upper left)
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Just got on the trail - you can see the trail angle up and left across the clearing
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Looking back at the route from just on the trail
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Another view looking back at the rock outcropping
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This trail takes you pretty much back to the parking lot. But the tough part may be the last couple hundred yards. Once you get so close to the car that you can taste it, the trail seems to peter out in the willows not far from the boardwalks, and it becomes a "pick your own" route for a short but potentially sloppy finish. When I did this in June, the willows section was pretty dry. But in August, it was VERY soggy (and it was raining at the time, too). At the very least, this route bypasses about 90+% of the willows (I've also slogged right through the middle of them - and this is WAY better.)

Hope this helps. I'd appreciate any comments, updates, or improvements to this route. I think I saw someone mention another route that bypasses the willows on the southern side - i.e., closer to being under the Sawtooth. I'd be interested in more info about that.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (7)
KentonB



Good Report!     2011-01-05 10:15:06
We took this route last year. There are some scattered trip reports on 14ers.com about it, but your description and pictures are much better than what we had to go off of. I still remember looking over towards the willows and saying repeatedly, "I'm glad I'm not over there."


mt_turtle


Great alternative to the willows and gully!     2008-09-09 16:29:58
My wife and I enjoyed this route very much. Thanks for linking our reports together. Hopefully it will help others that are looking to avoid the willows. For me the added distance was well worth it!


yosemite98


Definitely the way to go     2008-09-10 21:22:48
I was with 53_Peaks last year and this is definitely the way to go. I‘d say we only had to bushwack through about 100 yards of the willows where we met up with the boardwalk just below the parking lot. I didn‘t sink in the mud at all going this way, and it was a great way to come down. We didn‘t even notice the added distance.


robwivchar

Why isn‘t this in the standard route descrip     2009-09-20 15:44:11
Great alternative - now if we can alter Bill Middlebrook to include it...


Doctor No


Well done!     2010-09-02 18:06:52
I had the same experience at the end of the trip back to Guanella Pass - the route just seems to die out.

I did a trip report for it (http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=8781), and based on this, I think it's largely because I did it in August the week after a series of heavy rain days.


djkest


This is great     2014-07-11 10:38:14
Thank you for posting this and for your efforts. +1000 Karma points.


Slowturtle


Thanks for the report!     2014-08-18 10:14:59
Just did Bierstadt Sawtooth and Evens on Saturday. descent through the bypass route. Only last couple hundreds yard of willowwack and soggy steps before reaching the boardwalk! Your post had saved us!



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