Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  08/30/2011
Date Climbed:   08/26/2011
Author:  77Pat
 First 14er - Mt Bierstadt  

In planning my vacation to Colorado, I knew I wanted to go on a big hike. Last time I was out here 8 years ago, I "hiked" Lily Ridge Trail and Ouzel Falls. In my research I found Mt. Bierstadt and Grays/Torreys to be the most recommended to beginners around Denver.

I arrived on Tuesday and went on a walk around Golden to get acclimated a little bit, but did not get up to higher altitude.

On Friday I left the house at 5am and reached the trailhead just before 7 am. I had steak and greek yogurt for breakfast and was feeling good.

It was around 40 degrees when the hike started.


Started off going around the lake and then across the creek



We tried to get across the lower portions quickly while there was shade, to keep from getting too hot.


On the way up, we came across some hikers heading down, who told us that there were moose up ahead. By the time we arrived, they had already headed further in as the trail was getting busier.


We took a short break on the way up, before the summit, to wait for some of our party to catch up.


We reached the summit around 10:30 am, down by 11:00 am. The other part of our party went up at 11:00 am and were down by 11:45 am. There were probably around 30 people on the summit. Clouds were already starting to roll in, so we had a quick bite to eat, took some pictures, and then headed back down.



The final approach (the most fun part to me)


There were piles of rocks along the way to act as a guide if you did not want to just cross the boulders.


I would say that the most difficult part of the climb is around 1/3rd to 3/4ths of the way up (mostly mental). As I was going up the mountain, I thought the ridge would be a little more direct. But after reaching one of the points, there was more rocky, steeper terrain. I could see someone losing their footing here if not careful.

At the top, it started to hail a little around 11:30 am and people were still going up.

not started at our location, yet

hole above the summit

Around 12:15 pm it started to rain. We ended up getting down the mountain in around 1.5 hours. Although getting to the car at 1:30 pm was a good time, they closed the road due to road construction during weekdays from 1pm-3pm (even though it was raining). So we ended up taking 285, rather than wait for the construction to stop (although we only saved 15 minutes). If we were to get stuck again, we would probably just wait the hour instead of driving over the dirt road leading to 285 (not very fun in a minivan).

Overall a successful trip. The only thing I would do differently is bring a thin pair of gloves and a rain shell instead of a poncho (did not have the money for a quality rain shell now). Next time I want to do a few different warm up hikes (like Glacier Gorge, Hagerman Pass, Hanging Lake trail, Chasm Lake Trail).

Seems like most of the other popular 14ers I read about are Handies, Elbert, Huron, and Longs. Which I also want to do in time.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/31/2011 03:37
Nice pictures. Congratulations on your first 14er. I started out with Mt. Democrat and Quandary Peak last year; those are also great for beginners.

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