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Bierstadt Conditions

Colorado 14er peak questions, condition requests and other info. 14er Trip Reports, Condition Reports
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Bierstadt Conditions

Postby jdoty82 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:33 pm

Has anyone summit Bierstadt recently (from Guanella Pass)???? Last trip report on Bierstadt was last December. Looking for any information on the trail conditions, amount of snow, snowshoes required or not required, access to winter TH, etc.

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Re: Bierstadt Conditions

Postby Tim A » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:55 pm

I was out there last Wednesday and Friday (13 and 15) and have been planning on putting up some pics and a trip report but haven't made time yet. You will definitely need snowshoes and microspikes unless there's been a ton of melting. On Wednesday my friend and I got a late start and took 3 hours putting a trench up Guanella pass from the winter closure. The snow was abysmally poor and alternated between ankle-deep to hip-deep sinking. Not sure if there's been any new snow or if the road has settled since then, but we exhausted our Texan bodies doing that, so rested up Thursday and returned Friday in spite of the high wind forecast. With the trench in place and the snow pretty solid at 5am, we cleared the road in less than an hour. The snow in the willows, however, was even worse than the road, with us postholing up to the knee or stomach even with flotation on. In other places, the snow had been blown clean off the boardwalk or trail, but the vast majority of the route was snowed over, and we had considerable difficulty with route-finding due to blowing snow obscuring the sign-posts which stake out the route. We ended up stashing our snowshoes high on the western shoulder (where the route turns south) and continuing in microspikes, but we only made it to within about 400 vertical feet of the summit before being turned back by the blowing snow and cold toes and fingers. Unless you know the route solidly, definitely take a GPS. My Garmin was the only thing that got us as far as we did.

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Re: Bierstadt Conditions

Postby B[3] » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:04 pm

Drove up to the winter closure on the Georgetown side of Guanella Pass today--with the warm temps today, the road was mostly dry by the time I drove back down. Above the winter closure, the snow on the road is pretty packed down: I bare booted the hiking trench in the morning; at some point today, snowmobiles went through and packed the road pretty thoroughly. I agree with Tim A regarding the GPS--the route was not obvious with all of the drifts and willows obscuring it. I hiked Gray Wolf, so I can't comment on the Bierstadt trail above where I left it, but I found that snowshoes were necessary given the snow depth. Some pictures from today:

Bierstadt as seen on my way up Gray Wolf.
Bierstadt.jpg (134.58 KiB) Viewed 704 times

Looking back at the start of the trail; I'd suggest following footprints if you can find any (the wind was erasing them quickly). If you follow a track, it's easier to stay on top of the snow.
trail.jpg (87.38 KiB) Viewed 704 times

And a parting shot of the Sawtooth:

Sawtooth.jpg (96.49 KiB) Viewed 704 times
Learn from the mistakes of others--you can never live long enough to make them all yourself.--Unknown
Don't chase your dreams, catch them.--Unknown

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Re: Bierstadt Conditions

Postby jdoty82 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:28 pm

Thank you for the information!

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Re: Bierstadt Conditions

Postby catsh16 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:36 am

Any recent update on Bierstadt? Specifically how much snow is on the west face (trail)? A photo would be great if anyone has one.

Thx - K

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Re: Bierstadt Conditions

Postby XC Snowboarder » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:00 pm

If anyone summits can we please get a pic NE down towards the Sawtooth and Abyss Lake. I hoping that line is eventually skiable this year....

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Re: Bierstadt Conditions

Postby krs1 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:45 pm

I skinned up the western slopes of Bierstadt on Friday the 29th from the winter closure to about 13,700’, had to hike the remaining portion to the summit. It was a bit nuclear up top so no photos into the Abyss Lake arena. The skiing on the western slopes was pretty crappy with some interesting singletrack skiing through the willows. The trail is 98% snowpacked.

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