Peak:  Mt. Bierstadt (14er)
 Route:  West Slopes
 Range:  Front
 Posted By:  SurfNTurf
 Date of Info:  01/29/2012
 Date Posted:  01/29/2012

Road was plowed from the Georgetown side to the winter closure, with a few slick sections. I have a low-clearance 2WD and made it without breaking a sweat.

There's a "shortcut" that leaves the road at a switchback around 11,450' to make a beeline through some willows to intersect the trail. I'd strongly advise against taking it. The 20 minutes we spent postholing to our knees/waists in snowshoes was probably the most difficult part of the day. The road may meander a bit, but it's less of a hassle and likely just as quick.

If you skip the willows shortcut, snowshoes are NOT currently necessary. We pointlessly wore ours up the road and stashed them once we reached the boardwalks. The trail is bootpacked and easy to follow. Higher on the route the path becomes a bit more elusive, but huge cairns are everywhere. A few others on the route didn't have microspikes, but I found them indispensable, especially on the descent.

My GPS clocked the route from the Georgetown winter closure at 10.5 miles and 3,700'. We made it from car-to-car, goofing off and with lots of unnecessary breaks, in 8 hours.

Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2Image #3Image #4

 Comments or Questions

01/30/2012 17:19
Jeff, would you say that the shortcut would be better for those who are aiming for Evans? Seems like it may save a mile or so each way.

If we are talking about the same switchback, it looks like a line could take you close to a gully NW of Spalding or even to Gomer's Gully closer to the Sawtooth. Did you get a look at either of these, seem to be holding much snow?


01/30/2012 17:42
The shortcut didn't seem to save much mileage. It cut the switchback at 11,450' and basically side-hilled to intersect the boardwalk at 11,500' or 11,550'. The mileage it saved seemed minimal, but it did negate the need to follow the road to 11,700' and then back down to the boardwalk. The willow postholing was not worth it to save a mere 150 feet, in my opinion.

I'm not familiar with the Evans route from Guanella Pass. If that was the shortcut's intention, it still would be easier to just follow the road. It definitely didn't save anywhere near a mile.


01/30/2012 17:47
Thanks Jeff, appreciate your insight.

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