| Mount Evans via Echo Lake
This past weekend I decided to revisit Mount Evans, a mountain I had been unable to reach the summit of on three seperate occasions. My first attempt was a winter ascent from Echo Lake which after hours of postholing to my hips and route navigating ended in my retreat. Number two was again attempted from Echo Lake only to be turned down by thunderstorms at the base of the northeast face (admitingly my fault, dragging my feet out of the door in the morning). Lucky number three was to be attempted via the Sawtooth but were forced to turn back after summiting Bierstadt due to party injury.
So finally I decided I would knock this one out of the way by devoting two days and testing out the new tent. After a half day at the office, I headed to the Echo Lake trailhead where my goal was to set up shop at the Lower Chicago Lake. Apparently Mount Evans was not pleased to see me take a serious attempt on her, so she decided to rain and snow for most of the hike in.
I always enjoy the hike into the lakes for the time below treeline and the enjoyable trail heading into the valley.
Roughly 4.5 miles and 1,000 ft of elevation gain left me plenty of time to scout for a decent campsite near a brook feeding into the lake. Below is the view from my campsite, with Mount Evans barely visible between the saddle.
Luckily for me the rain halted for an extended period of time, just enough to throw down the tent and cook dinner. My brief rest in the tent at 6PM turned into an extended stay until 6AM the next morning as the rain (and later on, snow) kept me with my sleeping bag.
It was 7AM by the time I hit the trail as I quickly passed the upper lake and started working my way up to the saddle and Summit Lake.
After an hour of hiking, I came to the base of the west ridge which winds its way around Summit Lake. After a quick jaunt up to Mount Spallding, a short descent led to the saddle between Spallding and Evans. From here, you can follow the ridge to the summit.
As had been the case since about 12,000 ft, snow covered the trail. Nearing the summit, spots of 3-4‘ deep snow would swallow a foot every so often but normally wouldn‘t sink more than a half foot if there were no rocks for footing.
I was naively hoping to have a peaceful summit seeing that the summit road was now closed for the season. But it is Mount Evans, and I was greeted by a group of 20+ frat brothers who were hooting and hollering. And what would it be on a front range 14er without the obligitory camera taking for random folk on the summit in various poses. Eventually I got to sit back and take in the surroundings. Mount Bierstadt and part of the knife edge can be seen below.
After 15 minutes on the summit, I was ready to get out. I descended the northeast face in a half jog and was back to Summit Lake in under a half hour and to the campsite in another 40 minutes. The lighting was spectacular looking back on the route which I had just descended.
After stopping to admire the surroundings, I packed up the campsite and threw the pack together. Three hours after being at the summit of Mount Evans, I would be in my car and headed for home.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):