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Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Post Date:  10/08/2008
Modified:  02/20/2014
Date Climbed:   09/04/2008
Posted By:  Brian C


 Tour d‘Abyss   

Having been up Bierstadt and across the Sawtooth several times via Guanella Pass, I wasn't too excited when my friend asked to do it again. Then I remembered the Tour d'Abyss route in Roach's book and found some new excitement for the peak. We drove up the Mt. Evans road to Summit Lake, parked, bundled up against the freezing wind and hit the road just in time to see the sun rising over the plains.

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There was a big heard of elk running down the road at the normal parking spot and it made us glad the road was closed high up. Finding the spot to descend was really simple. Remember, there are other ways to go down that look good, but we simply followed Roach's description (finding the lowest point in the saddle) and it was very easy (a little loose though). The view of Bierstadt's East Ridge is very cool.

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Here is a look back up the gully we went down. It reminded me a lot of the descent off the west side of Pawnee Pass in the Indian Peaks.

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It is refreshing to feel solitude and to be able to route find on your own when going for such a popular summit.

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Gaining the ridge was very straightforward. We simply went straight up, aiming just to the left of the first rocky crest of the ridge. Once up, we were in sight of the first of the two tricky bits on the ridge.

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Passing the first obstacle was very simple. You just stay on the ridge crest and aim for the top of the first bump. There was only one move that was a little tricky but was over really fast.

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Once on top of this, the crux of the route comes into full view. It's the large rock outcropping on the ridge.

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We stuck to the grassy ledges on the right and stayed on them until they started to climb left and up to the ridge crest.

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I had a good laugh as my friend did a weird move (that is totally easier slightly to his left) trying to gain the top of the ridge.

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Once on top of the ridge, getting to the high point of the crux had one more interesting move where we had to scramble in a sloping crack in the rock. There was some exposure but it never felt very threatening to us for some reason.

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Abyss Lake was really beautiful as we slowly circled around it.

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Getting down off the rocky crest involved some easy scrambling. Just a few places hopping down boulders. The trudge from there to Bierstadt took considerably longer than we had thought. I think it was because we had focused on the crux too much and forgot that we were only a bit more than halfway up the ridge. Once on the summit, we surprised a few folks that had come up from Guanella Pass who had no idea you could come from the other side. Looking back down the ridge gave us a definite sense of accomplishment.

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After a short breather it was time to hit Sawtooth Ridge.

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Having crossed Sawtooth several times before it was smooth sailing. Crossing around onto the third side of Abyss Lake made it feel like we were getting close.

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My friend had never been this way and thought the trail was really neat where it crosses out onto the front of the Sawtooth.

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Once on the other side we stopped to take some more photos before heading up to Evans.

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The final trudge up to Evans is very obvious. We just stayed on the ridge crest the whole way. We ran into a few mountains goats very close up.

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Once on the highest point on the ridge we finally had Evans summit in sight.

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After some tedious scrambling trying to stay on the crest we finally made it over to the summit of Evans.

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This is truly a fantastic route. Peace, quiet and lot's of scrambling makes for a great time. Other than the summits we only saw one other person (on the Sawtooth). This route is a little deceptive as it is harder than the stats would make it seem. I think it's because so much of it at high elevation and lot's of scrambling make it tiring. But it is very doable. Anyone who wants a new look at Bierstadt should definitely do this route!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
unclegar


great pics!     10/08/2008 15:46
Really nice job of documenting a different route. Great pics too.


Alpine


Nice TR Sax     10/09/2008 02:36
I met you on Maroon Pk, along with my son The Android.

We were going to do this route last spring but my schedule couldn‘t support it. Looks like it might make an interesting spring/winter climb.


emcee smith


Good TR     10/09/2008 19:06
Thanks for posting. Looks like I was about a week ahead of you on this route. I agree that it is harder than the stats suggest, but a great route on a close, popular mountain. I would do it again in an instant.


digitalpin

14ers by 50ers (Germans)     12/05/2008 21:06
Hi, could it be that we met on top of Mt. Bierstadt? (Our pictures of the tour see at http://www.digitalpin.de/2008_touren/080904_bierstadt/index.htm) 09/04/2008 was a real good day for hiking. Mt. Bierstadt was our 2. 14er. We also made Pikes Peak, Grays Peak, Torreys Peak and Mt. Elbert. Pictures of these (moderate) tours see at http://www.digitalpin.de/2008_touren/....


AmongMany

Very helpful!     08/03/2010 12:05
I'm coming in from NYC and this route is on my list. Very helpful report!



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