Mt. Bierstadt  
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2016-06-05  Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2016-06-06, By: asnellstrom
Info: The Sawtooth was interesting in the soft spring snow. Summited Bierstadt around 7am then went for Evans. There were old footprints to follow on the traverse, and kudos to who ever placed these! Snow was soft off the east side of the sawtooth (obviously in the sun) but could become unstable later in the day. Crampons are handy to traverse the ridge on the west side where the snow is more solid, but if you are feeling risky you can rock hop on the loose talus near the cliffs edge, your call really. The trek over to Evans was fine, snow in the gully on the way back to Guanella Pass was terrible with major postholing up to your waist at the base of the gully... The venture through the willows was nightmarish to say the least with swamp, mud, rivers, and large melting snow drifts making this quite unpleasant. 
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2016-06-04  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-06-06, By: HikerBox
Info: Road is great shape, very few cars when I got there at 5:30 AM. The overnight lows for the trailhead were predicted in the 40's but we got a nice hard freeze due to a clear night. Bootpack is in good shape but the snow bridge over Scott Gomer creek doesn't look likely to last more than a week. Still 1-2 feet of snow in the willows. Very little snow on the actual west slope which lured tractionless hikers up to the continuous snowfields above ~12,500. Took a look at the Sawtooth - no boot tracks visible and still a decent amount of snow. I think the path back down from Evans postholing through the willows would be the worst part. Might want to wait for that to melt out! 
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2016-06-04  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-06-04, By: Owen Puffenberger
Info: Left the trailhead just before 6 AM. Snow was firm through the willows and across the creek, may have postholed once or twice. After the willows trail is mostly clear and easy to follow up the shoulder. Tried to stay as close to the summer trail as possible though many others went straight for the summit. Was able to mostly avoid snow patches on the steeper upper portion of the shoulder but what snow I did cross was easy enough to kick footholds into. On the final push up to the summit spikes would have been nice (snow was very hard) but I made do with poles and caution. Summitted at 9:15 and it was pretty crowded. My descent was uneventful until I got back to the willows... By 11 AM sun and lots of hikers turned the snow into mush. It was so soft I doubt snowshoes would have done any good. Lots of 3+ foot postholing but the snow bridge across the creek (off to the right as you descend) was still soild least. Back to the trailhead at noon. 
2016-06-04  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-06-04, By: das3596
Info: Got to the TH at 4:45. Very sloppy snowmud mix through the willows. No traction or flotation needed at that time of the morning. Snow was just firm enough on the way up to only need microspikes. Reached summit at 7:00. On the way down, it warmed up very quickly and I occasionally broke through the snow. Not enough to make me put on my snowshoes. Willows even sloppier on the way down. Start earlyfinish early = No problems. 
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2016-06-03  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-06-04, By: juliamay
Info: Started at 7:00, reached the summit at 10:30. Wore microspikes...I think they were necessary, but most people were without them. Really warmed up on the way down and snow got super soft. Postholed several times but snow shoes wouldn't have really helped.  
2016-05-30  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-30, By: sarahmax
Info: We figured with Memorial Day it would be crazy busy so we decided to car camp at the trailhead. We set out at 5:30AM this morning as recent trip reports mentioned lots of post-holing later in the day. We didn't have microspikes/snowshoes/or trekking poles but figured we'd turn back if we felt unprepared. This was our second 14er (1st was Huron Peak in early June of 2013) but we now live in Aurora so we were able to actually catch our breath while hiking and it was easier than coming from sea level. Snow was nice and firm-packed and the trail was easy to identify. There were a few places where ice on trail had frozen and it was super slick. I actually slid and fell down just in the parking lot and we saw a few people slip on the trail. We reached the summit at 8:50AM but took our time getting there and took frequent breaks. It was quite windy at times, especially on the summit. Going down the snow started to soften and it was slippery at times. Conditions were good for some brief glissades. We both post-holed a couple times (maybe five or less) and made it back to the car at 11:15AM. The wind had picked up considerably and clouds were quickly blowing in. There were a few stray raindrops. Snow was softening and hard to find a good path at times. Definitely recommend starting early with all the snow still there. 
2016-05-29  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-30, By: morefitt303
Info: This was kind of a last minute decision hike. Got to the parking lot around 930 am, got our stuff together and the dogs ready (4 yo. jack russell/terrier mix & 6 mo. German wire-haired pointer), used the rest rooms and started for the trail. Stopped and signed the register and took a pic of the trail map (as I always do). There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground which not only made it difficult to walk, but also difficult to keep on the trail. Since this was our first 14'er and first time at Bierstadt, also not many people to follow, and not many signs showing where the path was, we had no idea where we were going. So I did the only thing I could think of, follow the most traveled road, on the way back down I realized we missed most of the trail going up and were basically climbing the side of the mountain, in the snow. There was a bit of slipping and falling through the snow all the way up and down the mountain. When we were able to find the trail, it was really muddy do to the melting snow. We made it to the peak by 2-230pm (so a good 5 hours up). At the peak there is a tube tied to a rock that contains a list where you put your name, where you live, and a short message, which kind of gives you that sense of accomplishment. The weather was pretty good, mostly sunny with random gusts of wind which blew in clouds that would periodically block out the sun, weather app said it was 30 degrees but due to work it felt much warmer. Storm clouds could be seen coming in from the peak, and we made it back to the car right before a nasty rain came through ( descent was only 2 hours). Both of my pups were troopers on this hike, had to carry my older pup at one point heading back down due to her legs being tired but she soon regained strength and finished the hike. I will definitely have to try this hike again in July when the snow is melted and we can see the trail. Overall it was a great experience, except for the sun burn i got (I forget im not at sea level anymore and I actually can get burnt lol). 
2016-05-25  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-25, By: lrosenmayer6
Info: Goal was to see the sunrise from the top of Mt. Bierstadt today, May 25. Left from closure at the campground at 1:45am. I didn't wear snowshoes or microspikes going up, had no problems with post holing the whole hike. The ascent was pretty straightforward - I had plenty of moon light, plus my lamp and plenty of tracks to lead the way, but there were plenty of "pick your own line" moments, particularly in the willows. The firm snow made it pretty easy to go wherever I wanted in terms of my route. Wind picked up significantly around 12,500', and then it really picked up when I reached the summit at 5:30, just in time to see the sun peeking over Evans. I was pretty cold and unable to find any reprieve from the wind at the summit so I didn't hang out long. I wore microspikes for the first 500' of the descent then didn't need them or snowshoes the rest of the way down. Crust was supportive of my weight (165 + 20lb pack) coming back through the willows/Scott Gomer/the trailhead at 7:30am. The route from the trailhead is still about 90% snow covered, but it's getting pretty thin in most places. I was back at my car by 8AM - hike stats were 9.8 miles in 6 hours 15 minutes, net elevation gain 3600'. 
2016-05-22  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-22, By: emassof
Info: Headed up today and had a great time - bluebird to start and scattered clouds on the finish, snowpack was firm enough to forego snowshoes on the ascent. The decent was fine, only because I had snowshoes. Lots of groups were getting stuck post-holing their way out. So bring snowshoes or other floatation and have a blast. 
2016-05-21  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-21, By: Ionizedsoul
Info: Conditions are not to bad if you get an early start, i left lot below closed gate @ 6am and hit summit by 8:47am, the face was windy and on decent the tundra was beginning to soften and ended up post holing about 10ish times not enough to warrant me putting on my snow shoes i was at the parking lot by 11am below gate. i would foresee that as long as an early start is made it should be a decent endeavor the next few days (do not try and forge your own path across the meadow) saw a few trying and they were posthole masters by the end. as far as layers all i "needed and used" was rain/wind breaker, gators, trekking poles, hydro, long underwear, zip off leg pants, shades, hat, and a decent pair of boots...only thing i used out of my 27 lb. pack was the dang sign and thank you to whoever took the picture for me @ summit with my sign. 
2016-05-20  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-20, By: Jay521
Info: Road is dry to the TH but blocked at the winter closure. I believe Clear Creek County will open it next week. Good trench to the top. An early start is recommended as later in the day, the snow gets pretty soft and snowshoes are beneficial. I will post pics later. 
2016-05-14  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-14, By: LilSpookies
Info: *Falcor's owner - your picture is attached! Guanella Pass road is paved but the gate it still shut, so you'll need to park at the Guanella Pass Campground and walk 1.75 miles up to the Guanella Pass TH. You'll know you've reached the TH when you see bathrooms (inaccessible due to snow) on your right. The ascent is relatively easy but I recommend wearing snowshoes. I did not wear snowshoes on my ascent but was very happy to have them on my way down (snow can be slick and hard in some steep areas). Snow is packed but I was still post holing up to my shins in some areas. It was a pretty windy day but we were expecting storms by the afternoon. I recommend starting EARLY, giving yourself about 4 hours to summit if you're a slower hiker. If you're inexperienced with 14ers, be sure to prepare correctly! Even "easy" 14ers can be dangerous. Dress appropriately (waterproof gloves, hiking boots, lots of layers as the wind at the peak will freeze you), research if you need snowshoes or microspikes, invest in some trekking poles, etc. Better to be overprepared with a little extra gear than halfway up a mountain and miserable. Also, pack a snack!  
2016-05-13  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-16, By: beb003
Info: I wanted to write to add to savedbygrace's condition report because I am the guy with the dog they were referring to. I began my hike from the winter parking lot around 10:00 AM. I got a much later start than anticipated, and this will be the last time I ignore the rules about being off the mountain before afternoon. I always thought it was because the weather conditions can get bad, but failed to realize it is also so you can avoid post holing your way back out due to the snow/ice pack melt. From the trail head across the willows/marsh area I followed the footsteps through and everything went fine. I waited to put my snowshoes on until probably the last 1/4 of the hike to the summit. I got to the summit around 215-230, stayed for a short 15-20 minutes, and began my descent. The descent was a bit slick but nothing too bad, up until the valley/willows. This is where the trip became quite horrifying, and I am writing so no one makes the same mistake. It was around 4-430 when I began to try and make my way through the willows. I had gone about 1/4-1/2 a mile when I looked back and realized the last girl on the mountain was stuck behind me. I post holed back to her, and we tried to decide the best route to get out as I could see the beginning of the trail head. At this point it was 530, and I knew there was no time to play around. We followed the footsteps/trail out and postholed, crawled, etc. to the trail head/guanella pass road and got to it at around 8 pm. I had no water left from about 6 pm onward (I began the day with over 4 liters of water) and frostbite had set in on my feet and left hand/fingertips. I write this part because I want anyone attempting it in the current condition to be sure to bring enough water, and be sure to start EARLY so this doesn't happen to you. I could go into greater detail, but I just want the main point to be : start this hike early as possible, and keep in mind on your way out you may have to post hole quite a ways to get back to trail head (my estimate would be 1.5 miles). Snowshoes did not help in the willow tree area, in fact, it made it worse because getting stuck with snow shoes made it more difficult to get my feet back out of snow. Other Info : A man who was working on the roads told me as I was walking up the guanella pass road that the road should be opened up to the trail head very soon. This will aid in the hike only being 7 miles RT instead of 10.5-11. I don't want this report to deter anyone, as I made a big mistake in starting so late. Had I left at the correct time I think this would've all been avoided and the descent would have been just as pleasant as the ascent. So I I just wanted to leave a word of warning because, it could've proved to be a deadly mistake. 
2016-05-13  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-05-14, By: savedbygrace0311
Info: Went out to hike my first 14er with my wife yesterday on my 36th birthday. We were ill prepared to say the least. We had no snowshoes, no waterproof gloves, only running and hiking shoes. We started from the Naylor Lake Road parking lot as the gate was closed up to the trailhead for snow removal. The gate should be opened soon as they had cleared the road up while we were on our hike; road was without snow on our way down. We started out about 9:10 am; the trip across the valley was solid and safe; we had snow the whole way up, but not too difficult. There were some patches of dry ground and rock gardens to climb on as we got higher. We made the summit about 1:50 pm. Didn't stay long, had to get back down to get our kids from school. The trip down was fast; snow was getting slushier the closer we got to the bottom. We made it down to the valley in about an hour; it was about 3 pm, I think. This is where the trip turned into a nightmare. As we begin to start back down across the valley we start to sink 3-4 ft with every step we took. I decided to try to make some snowshoes by cutting a bunch of the willow branches off, and I luckily had some old boot laces in my pack; we tied them on the bottom of our shoes, but it was futile. The branches either just broke or sunk; either way, that was not going to work. This is the point my wife and I began to feel some panic. We did not panic though and stayed focused to make it back to the road. I could see the parking lot and bathrooms the entire time about 1.5 miles across the valley. We finally started crawling and rolling down into the valley to spots where the trees were not poking out as this seemed the only way to get footing. We got to walk a bit here and there, but mostly crawled and rolled for the 1.5 miles. It was brutal; it took 2 hrs to get across the valley back to the parking lot. We were sopping wet from above our waist to our shoes. My wife and I both had sunscreen on, but suffered some pretty severe burns. My wife also was getting the beginning of frost bite on her fingers. As of today she still has no feeling in her right hand fingertips. I'm all good, it turns out not wearing gloves at all was the best idea. There was one point where my wife had to dig her shoe out of the hole 3 ft down; it was crazy. We are just glad to be alive at this point. There were two other hikers behind us, a guy who did have snowshoes (granted, I'm not sure snowshoes were going to help in that mess or not) and his dog; there was also a girl who probably didn't summit until about 2:45 or so. We were not sure if she had snowshoes or not. We never saw her again, but we did see the guy with the dog starting across the valley as were were about 3/4 of the way across it. We are still worried about them. We called 911 to let them know about the girl up there, but haven't heard anything. 
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2016-04-19  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-04-19, By: polar
Info: Hiked all the way to the summit in snowshoes. Brought microspikes but didn't need them. There were enough snow for me to stay in snowshoes the whole way. Breakable crust below treeline, between 7-8 am I was sinking to shin to knee deep even with snowshoes on. The willows had a weight supporting crust around 9-10 am, it was actually much easier to cross the willows than hiking up Guanella Pass Road. I did not follow the summer trail because at the steepest part between 12,000 and 12,200 feet it looks like the trail crossed some small wind loaded slope around some rock outcroppings. I chose to go far (climber's) right of the rock band to an open slope with minimal wind loading. Snow condition between the willow and the summit is variable, some thin sections, some powder, some crust. But overall there were surprising amount of powder. A motivated skier that doesn't mind dealing with some thin sections can definitely find enough snow to go top-to-bottom in skis. 
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2016-04-19  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-04-19, By: AndyJB444
Info: Skiied from the winter trailhead this morning. Broke trail through some heinous breakable crust up to the willows around 11,500ft. Continued to find a crust on most, if not all, aspects. Bierstadt still looked to be a little bony for skiing from the summit. A few snowshoers were going up as I was coming down, so there should be an even better trail/trench by now on the road. Take flotation of some sort, or be hating your life. 
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2016-04-15  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-04-15, By: JasonCrane
Info: Solo climber -- First attempts. Two devastating days on Mt. Bierstadt resulted in 2 failed summit attempts. Guanella Pass is closed at the junction of Silver Dollar Road. It's about 1.7 miles to the trailhead along the abandoned road. Day 1 -- Generally favorable weather, partly cloudy & light winds, at times. Unfortunately, the post-holing along the willows portion of the foothills hike was so severe it permanently torn out one of the buckle fasteners from the snow shoe. Still with energy & drive, attempted to continue on without the snow shoes just shy of the shoulder, which become futile. During the retreat, the post-holing became so severe, had to crawl on hands & knees at times for nearly a mile back to the trailhead. Brutal. Day 2 -- Overnight was spent in the back of the SUV in freezing temps to get an earlier start around 6:30am. Breezed up Guanella Pass & through the initial willows portion. Breezed across Scott Gomer Creek to the shoulder. Confident of a summit bid! And maybe a two-fer of Mt. Evans?! Although the trail is nearly indiscernible, other climbers' tracks, skis & snow shoes are relatively vivid. It becomes a little tricky at the shoulder, so you may have to pick your route. Overcast skies & light snow fall had been threatening during the early morning, but a major front moved in just as I cleared 12,700. Trouble! At 12,779 ft, white-out conditions, the valley in a mist, pelted with snowfall & knocked back by strong wind gusts. Had to seek shelter behind a rock. Temps dropped enough to have to switch into heavy duty jacket & gloves. Suddenly, it became dangerous. Swift retreat down the shoulder when BOOM! from a thunderstorm. The skies nearly turned black. It was a harrowing 4 miles retreat across the creek and back to Guanella Pass. Nearly 3-4 inches of snow accumulated within 30-45 min. Harrowing. 
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2016-04-09  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-04-09, By: Corey17
Info: Summited Bierstadt today - all around great hike. But make certain to bring those snowshoes, especially if the day is sunny. The road was just fine without snowshoes both ways - but the top layer was slushy in the afternoon. Trail was easy enough to follow above the road, through the willows, and so on. Through willows was definitely a major annoyance, especially on the return. Deep postholes with snowshoes even. Above the willows, scattered snow fields mean snowshoes are optional. Have a great time out there!! Did I mention - those willows REALLY suck? In other news....water is wet and snow is cold. 
2016-04-06  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-04-06, By: josee menard
Info: Wintery solo ascent; 3.5 hour up, 7 return. Road to Guanella Pass in good shape to closure, some icy sections. Easy travel through the infamous willows on variable wind-driven snow for the ascent and return; trail discernable most of the way. Snowshoes from parking lot to summit, even talus slope, and return. 
2016-03-01  Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2016-03-01, By: nicboerio
Info: Guanella Pass was clear all the way to the winter trail head. I left the lot at 7:50 and put on my snowshoes as soon as I got to the snow packed road. There was a nice 2-4 inches of fresh powder, but I could still make out previous tracks. I am sure that spikes would have been fine, but I didn't want to have to carry my snowshoes - and it was just easier to have them on. The 1.25 miles up the road was beautiful and quiet, with occasional gusts of wind and snow. As soon as I reached the Bierstadt Trail parking lot, the wind was about as brutal as I have seen here. As usual, it was blowing directly from the east - bringing some extra power this morning. The trail was easy to find for the short trek to the large sign, but was nearly impossible to find after that due to the constantly moving snow drifts. I occasionally found some previous snowshoe tracks (I was the only car and only person out here today) and did my best to follow them. Since the wind was mostly at my back, I was able to see a decent distance in front of me. From mile 1.3 to about 2.5, I struggled often to find the trail, but only had a few post holes here and there. From mile 2.5 the trail was easily visible, and around mile 4, the snowshoe trail deviated left of the actual trail. I realized that I was off the official trail, but I was on firm snow and cutting off some distance by following the previous tracks. I did this for about half a mile where I ended up tacking off the snowshoes since I was traversing almost completely on the rocks (I probably could have taken them off earlier, but I wanted to see what the snow was like near the top). With the snowshoes off and the wind blasting harder than ever, the peak was in sight and I joyfully hiked the final pitch. Although I did have spikes with me, the wind was too brutal for me to stop and put them on. (It was so cold, my GoPro and iPhone both were not able to turn on.) I hung out at the top for just enough time for a few pictures, and then headed back down. Usually this is the easiest part of the hike, but I now had to endure four miles of 50+ mph head winds blasting snow and ice in my face making it near impossible to see more than a few feet in front of me. I maintained my original trail for only a short time where I soon found myself far off path and post holing far more than I wanted to. At around mile 5.6, I deviated SW of the trail and ended up finding the trail again around mile 6.4 - to where the original trail was nearly impossible to spot due to the ever blowing snow. Overal, it was an easy hike with difficult elements. Snowshoes were a must and goggles would have helped greatly. Link to my Garmin Report: 

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