Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  06/14/2012
Date Climbed:   06/12/2012
Author:  emohr
 Bierstadt Sunrise  

ROUTE: Standard Guanella Pass
HIKE TIME: 3.5 hours (2 on the ascent, 1.5 on the descent)
TRAIL: Just about all dry with the exception of 1 snow field near the summit. I did the snow field in standard boots and Brandon did it with tennis shoes. Not an issue
WEATHER: Clear, 40 degrees, with a 20MPH wind at the summit

The Colorado School of Mines has graciously given the Mining Engineers 2 weeks off from Summer classes, so 14ers are what I plan on filling my time with until I have to go back.

One of my buddies from Mines was saying we should do a summit at night one of these days, and I told him I would be down as long as we could catch the sunrise.

So me and my 3 fellow mountaineers decided to head out for Bierstadt at 1 AM to catch a sunrise. We left at 1 and reached the trailhead by 2:15

Brandon, Ben, and Nick at 2:22

It was gorgeous outside when we got there. No cars in the parking lot, a half-moon was lighting out way, and it was a brisk 40 degrees out. Great conditions for hiking!

My friend Brandon and I have done 3 14ers in the last 3 weeks, which isn't bad for 2 nerds that have to study all the time. So we are in OK shape, and wanted to see how well we could perform on the hike.

We put our headphones in, turned out headlamps off, and followed the trail by the light of the moon. It was a great experience. Much different than the standard Saturday afternoon hikes.

Brandon walking through the snow field

Brandon and I made it to the summit in 1 hour and 54 minutes, which we didn't think was too shabby. I've never done a 2MPH pace for an ascent, and I think this was the closest I've come.

The problem with doing the hike so fast was that we had to wait for the sun to come over Evans! On Bierstadt it was cold, windy, but GORGEOUSSSS. We could see all the colors of the sun just behind Evans. We had to do some jumping jacks and bust out my sleeping bag to keep us warm while we were doing our best Doors impression and "Waiting For the Sun."

It was amazing to see the colors around Evans, but we wanted to see that warm sun on us!



They all made it!

Looking out to the north towards Grays and Torreys

Finally it came! It was so worth it. I have never seen a sunrise from a summit, so this was just amazing for me. After watching it rise over Evans at about 5, we decided to call it a day and head back. One of our hikers still had a class at 9

Guanella Pass area is greeeeen! I love it

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Exiled Michigander

NIce photos
06/14/2012 23:21
Sounds like a much-needed break from differential equations and whatever else you engineers have to learn these days.


Getting Away
06/14/2012 23:30
Nothing can rid my brain of useless equations quite like the simplistic beauty of a 14er!

Craig Cook

06/15/2012 05:23
Awesome trip - looks beautiful! That third picture of the pre-sunrise light is especially nice.

I'll be hiking Bierstadt in a few weeks, and you've tempted me into trying to get a sunrise summit as well!


Sunrise Summit
06/15/2012 05:56
I would extremely recommend it!

The best part about it is that everything just gets better the more you wait: The sun comes up, the temp goes up, and you get to see everything you hiked

Craig Cook

Trail at night
06/16/2012 05:44
I've decided to give this a shot. Looks like just a bit more than a half-moon on July 8 (early morning July 9), similar to what you had.

I've never hiked Bierstadt before. The trail looks pretty obvious from the daytime pictures, but is there any areas I should be especially careful of at night so as not to lose the trail?

Also, I see you started at about 2:15 and reached the summit at about 4:10? I'm trying to determine what my pace will be and when I should start...

Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated! Or you can PM me so I don't clutter your trip report any more.


Night Hike Info
06/16/2012 22:24
Yes! Glad to hear you're going for it

It's pretty popular and is laid out pretty well for the most part. The only real trouble I had was distinguishing the real trail from the trails that have been blocked to prevent erosion. Not much of a problem though

And the pace that we were doing was pretty fast compared to my other hikes. My buddy and I just put in our headphones and pushed ourselves as hard as we could. The first time I did Bierstadt it was during the day, and we had just a little bit over a 1MPH pace going up, so it was 3 hours then

The temp at the beginning might be a little chilly, but it keeps you from sweating and having to take a lot of breaks


Great Trip Report
06/22/2012 15:01
Thanks for the great report and excellent photos. We'll be doing a sunrise on Bierstadt in mid July. After reading your report, I'm even more anxious to get up there.

Take care.

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