Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  08/29/2011
Date Climbed:   08/28/2011
Author:  jpfeif001

 Mt Bierstadt with 2 novices and an 8 year old with skills  

We started the day by getting up at 2 am, 2 of my daughters had never done a 14er before and my youngest had already gone up Longs Peak. My good friend accompanied us up, arriving at the trailhead at 4 am. Starting out throught the willows in the dark with just a headlamp to light your way proved to be slightly unnerving, a little leery of spooking a Moose. A couple of groups ahead of us were already far up the mountain as we started off. The sign in box is in horrible condition, there is not a single space to sign in on and most of the sheets have been wadded up by other hikers (not very nice). By the time we reached the base of Mt bierstadt (still in the willows) the sky was just starting to light up, barely.Image
Sunrise reflecting off the clouds

The youngest of the group and the most naturally talented one for climbing patiently waited on the others. Image
My 8 year old daughter Jeanette
Only averaging about 1/2 mile an hour due to the inexperienced climbers it took us 6 hours to reach the summit, which all things considered, I was very impressed and proud of their progress. By this time next year, they will have it down. Image
The two novices, Brittany & Callie
The sky's were beautiful, the weather warm and the people friendly. To avoid causing any altitude sickness, frequent breaks were a must with the older two. Image
Me with 3 of my daughters
My friend Zack and myself
Once the trail went from mild to steeper grade, I stayed right with my 15 year old to keep her steady. Image
Helping to steady my 15 year old who had never climbed a mountain before
My friend Zack and my daughter reached the ridge before we did, Jeanette patiently waiting to summit the mountain. Image
Jeanette axiously awaiting to summit
finally reaching the top of the ridge we snapped a few shots towards the east, looking at Evans to the left. Image
Evans off to the left
My friend and I ventured down over the other side of the ridge to take a look at the lake below, then taking a photo of the 3 kids sitting back up on the ridge. Image
The 3 kids sitting on the ridge line just below the summit
The two novice climbers, although so close to the summit, decided to wait on the ridge, supplied with plenty of food and water, while myself, my 8 year old and my friend Zack reached the summit. Image
Brittany & Callie waiting below
My daughter proved to be very adept at manuevering through the boulders, making it hard for us to keep up with her. Once up top though, the view was spectacular even though there were about 50 people on top with another 20 or so dogs. Image
A crowded summit but friendly environment
One of the many dogs up top
The saw tooth looked so tempting but not this time, not without some more practice with the little ones, and myself for that matter. Image
The ever tempting Sawtooth.
After some time spent visiting with some of the other climbers and taking some summit photos, Image
Myself, Jeanette and Zack on the summit
we made our way back down to the rest of our party. Together we made good time going down, although looking back accross the expanse of the willows and the parking lot way in the disctance, it can be a bit discouraging. Image
Looking back the way we came up
On the way back down, the anxiousness to get back went away when we noticed on the north end of the pond of the trail, a Cow Moose was taking a bath. We made sure not to approach such a large, dangerous and beautiful animal. Thats what the zoom lens is for. Image
A Moose taking a bath
Made the parking lot in 2 hours, 3 times faster than it took to summit. But for a first time for a 14er, the two novices did very well, with minimal altitude issues. As their father, I was very proud of their progress. All three kids crashed out once we were on the road. Guenella pass is now in great shape, all new pavement, new retaining walls, lots of pullouts, all around impressive with the amount of work CDOT has done. I believe they are still closing down the pass during the work week, but the weekends it is fully open. A great easy climb for the day and the bonus of seeing some wildlife while we were at it.

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