Rolled into Denver on Thurs evening and needed to get acclimated. Original plan was Bierstadt, but Guanella Pass was closed due to avalanche. So I decided on Mt. Evans from Summit Lake as a warm up to the following day's plan for the Grays & Torreys combo. There are a lot options for ascending Mt. Evans, but I was seeking a relatively short, but good elevation gain, route, that didn't have cars zipping by (since this 14er is accessible via road).
The West Ridge via Mt. Spaulding delivered on all counts. A 4.5 mile, 2,000 ft. elevation gain, with good hiking trails, some intermittent scrambling, a few snowy spots at this point in the season to add interest, very remote (only saw 3 other hikers) great views (could see Grays/Torrey's quite well from this vantage point), and no cars. Views all the way up the ridge to Mt. Spaulding are pretty nice.
View from Mt. Spaulding ridge
Looking down on the Summit Lake parking lot and the progress and elevation gain from the ridge between Mt. Spaulding and Mt. Evans.
The ridge leading up to the summit of Mt. Evans has some spotty snow and some intermittent rock hopping and scrambling (depending on the line you take).
Completed the 2.5 miles from Summit Lake parking lot around the West Ridge to the Mt. Evans summit in around 2.5 hours, stayed up top to enjoy the views and snap a few photos for ~ 30 minutes, and descended the Northeast Face (to the Mt. Evans Road). The descent took all of 40 minutes, which was a good plus to quickly return (if needed). Total RT time under 4 hrs. Obligatory summit shot, with Bierstadt off the left and Mt. Evans to the far right for tomorrow.
The route down was a straight shot of scree and larger rock to the Mt. Evans Road.
This was a great route for a warm up 14er to a longer (and steeper) hike for the following day. Given that I'd drove up to Mt. Evans last year for some acclimation, I'd somewhat underestimated Mt. Evans from a hiking perspective. Would recommend this route, and if there wasn't the threat of persistent snow, or if I'd been looking for a longer hike, you could easily do a out and back across the Sawtooth to tag Bierstadt and still make it reasonably back to Summit Lake. I did see a few hikers on Bierstadt on my traverse across the West Ridge, and a few appeared to be making their way towards the Sawtooth (may have been KingOfArthursRock - nice TR there for anyone headed across the Sawtooth in early July).