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Mt. Evans - Good 1st 14er?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Mt. Evans - Good 1st 14er?

Postby Tim A » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:31 pm

I got my low clearance 2wd Honda Accord about a mile and a half up the road to Steven's Gulch back in May for a climb of Gray's. I managed to hitchhike my way back down thus avoiding the hassle of a road walk after the long walk back through the gulch. It shouldn't be too much of a problem, and the views from Gray's are far superior to what I saw from Mt. Evans. Well defined trail too.

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Re: Mt. Evans - Good 1st 14er?

Postby slowhead » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:15 pm

I agree with Ed. If you're doing Guanella Pass anyway, do Bierstadt, get 'er done, and then go back sometime to do Evans via the willows, muck, and that long steep gully. While the Evans route is low crowds for most of the hike, the horror of the crowds on top is surreal and not pleasant. Bierstadt, yes, there'll be a party on the top, but at least all of them had to get up the mountain on their own steam. I recommend Bierstadt, though I like that back Evans route.

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Re: Mt. Evans - Good 1st 14er?

Postby zdero1 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:37 pm

With respect to the 3,000' rule on Bierstadt, I walked approximately 1.25 miles down the road from the TH to 11,000' and back to my car after completing the standard route. By far the 2nd most pointless thing I have done with my life (First was trying to argue with RangerGuy2010), but the only way to abide by the 3,000' rule.

As far as a first 14er, I agree with Kansas that Huron is amazing. It is right in the center of all the Sawatch Range action and one of the best summit views that I've seen in the 2 years I've been climbing. Mt. Elbert may be another great 1st 14er, as the trail is easily accessible, you get to summit the highest peak in the Rockies, and the summit view is incredible. Would be a packed summit but otherwise a really enjoyable hike and beautiful as well. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Quandary, another easy accessible mountain that has a short and sweet route with a great view.

With respect to Evans, that climb from Guanella pass was pretty miserable, and I think Evans was my 10th-ish 14er. Only reason it wasn't the worst climb for me was that it didn't have 70mph winds that blew me off the trail like my Pikes hike did. To beat a dead horse here, the willows can be hard to navigate and would strongly recommend a GPS to stay fairly on route. Willows are pretty muddy and maybe you want to wait a month or so until it becomes more dry. The gully will require great care, and although it's not too steep, it would probably be outside my comfort zone for a first 14er. I got kinda grumpy descending the gully as it took such a long time to get down and at that point I was ready for the hike to be over. After you reach the top of the gully you still have a large portion of the route to traverse, although it was a fun class 2 scramble. The summit was crowded and touristy and I don't have a huge problem with that, but I would take solitude over that any day. Do Bierstadt to get a taste of the willows before doing Evans IMO if you're going from Guanella pass.

Whichever 14er you choose, I think you are in for an unforgettable adventure with memories to last a lifetime. Exploring the 14ers is the greatest obsession I've ever had! Safe travels!

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Re: Mt. Evans - Good 1st 14er?

Postby ctomford1 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:09 pm

I did Mt. Evans two weeks ago starting from Guenella Pass. The willow area was very muddy due to a lot of springs and there isn't a very good trail that goes through them. Its more frustrating rather than hard. The gully was easy going up but hard going down definitely the hardest part of the hike. The other thing was to work so hard to get up to the top and stand on it with people who had traveled up 150ft. to get to the top. It's a great 14er and I have beautiful pictures but I definitely would not want it to be my first.

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