Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Sawtooth - 13,600 feet
Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Date Posted:  08/24/2012
Modified:  08/25/2012
Date Climbed:   08/19/2012
Author:  imcja
 Standard/Main Route  

Saturday noon departed Colorado Springs with my son for Guanella Pass...decided to take 24-77-285. We weren't sure where we would park for the night (planned to sleep in the back of the truck); hoping for something just below the pass (had not traveled CO Rd 62 before). The first few miles on 62 are wash board dirt & pothole pavement...but then it turns to a nice paved road just before the pass.

We pulled into the upper lot to stretch our legs and look around...decided it was early yet and the clouds were not too threatening so we headed out on TR600 to Square Top Lakes. This proved to be a nice hike, great views and good to get the legs stretched out for tomorrow's hike. During the hike we decided to just park in the TH lot for the night; as any available real-estate up the south side was jammed packed and assumed the same on the north side.

Square Top

Back to the truck and in need of food we headed to Georgetown for chile rellenos at Lucha Cantina. Probably not the best choice for a pre-hike meal...but damn it was good. What is the proper term for wait person these days; is it wait person? Anyways...she was awesome...I always enjoy dining out when the staff makes you feel at home.

Back up the pass before the sunset...note that people are camping above the road on the switch backs...hopefully not drinking too heavily as they may get taken out by rock badgers and wind up in the road. Arrived at the lower lot...a few hikers were just returning and heading home. Tossed the flying disc a bit, drank a Dale's, chatted with Dean from upstate NY out getting his hike on, heard the coyotes talking, watched some moose grazing around the lake/pond (name?), and chatted with a party of 4(PO4) that stopped by to survey their climb for the next morning.

Sunset from TH lot.

We went to bed (truck bed) not long after sunset...set the alarm for 0400...I awoke what seemed to be every hour on the hour. Note to self: get the better mattress from the camper next time. Approximately 0350 the PO4 rolled into the lot...I rolled over and waited for the alarm. They were leaving the lot about the time the alarm went off. We had a cup of instant (VinaCafe...not bad for camping/packing/etc) and a sandwich for breakfast. Double checked our packs (and still forgot the PB). Topped of water bladder and bottles, gathered gloves and hat, made a trip to the vault and we were off...

Cars are funneling in now...apparently it will be a busy day...glad we started early.

Finally out of the lot around 0445...clear as a bell...temp around 40. We made quick time across the flatland/tundra to start our ascent. Feeling good up the shoulder (pronghorn gives a fly by...had not seen one up this high before), feeling okay into the boulders, feeling kinda crappy on top of the ridge was the report I rcv'd from the boy. He drank some water and decided he needed to at least summit this one. We met up with the PO4 on top...approx 0700...took a break to see if he might feel better. He decides he does and wants to push over the arte. About 5 more hikers arrived; getting busy, time to move.


On Bierstadt.

A group of 3 and the PO4 headed down just before us. I advised the PO4 to stay low on the first gendarme (cause that's what Bill wrote). The group of 3 decided to take the high road over the first gendarme. We opted to pass the PO4 on the low road...and lost sight of all of them behind us. We stepped/hopped/scramble from boulder to boulder enjoying the lack of ascent, and attempted to stay as high as we could manage to avoid any unnecessary descent. At the large gendarme (just after the low point) we were feeling good and took the high road. This whole route over the arte offers great views...must do it again with a side trip to the Abyss.

Time to go.

On the arte.

High road.

Lake Abyss

We made it up the Sawtooth to enjoy the views and sit for a spell...spied some hikers on the east ridge of Bierstadt (that will have to be another hike another day). The boy is feeling decent (not great) and decided there is no turning back now. We headed off for Mt. Evans and merged onto the Summit Lake trail...after a couple hundred feet on the trail we opted for the high road. This was a good choice for the views and avoiding some traffic. Did I mention there was not a cloud in the sky? Some haze, but no clouds. Winds were a bit high on the ridge, but bearable. After some hopping and scrambling we made our way to the summit. Chatted with some folks for a bit...and then headed down. Unsure what the time was...really had neither place to be nor any pressure from the elements.

Look back

On Sawtooth


On Evans summit

We took the standard trail back down to the open land and headed NW to the gully for the Scott Gomer Creek return. This is a good trail; a bit loose in places but offers some great views and a waterfall! Once down we quickly encountered the first of many wet spots...why fight it (TWSS)...we just pushed on thru knowing we could wash our sneakers in the creek back on Bierstadt Trail (BT) (see I was awake when crossing the creek). After being assaulted physically (and I think verbally) by the willows we finally emerged back on the BT. Stopped to wash the sneaks in the creek...and back to the truck at 1230. Grabbed some snacks, fresh water and headed back to the Springs via the parking lot (I70 that is)...I should have gone back the way I came.

Heading down

Getting the stink-eye

It was great to spend some quality time with my son; as he is off to Lackland AFB for some basic training in 2 weeks. (Yes I'm proud.)

Oh and this is my first post on sometime back but had not yet contributed. I want to thank Mr. Bill and the whole community for making this one of the best online resources I've had the time to waste time on!

p.s. we had 2 dog events that I withheld from this report out of respect to the dogs. Peace!

All done.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

you got some beautiful shots
04/02/2015 19:45
#14 is my favorite

Very nice route indeed.


Way to go!
08/25/2012 04:39
Father and son time in the mountains is something I am looking very forward too with my kids. Great pics too! Welcome to the forum!


Awesome hike!
09/04/2012 22:57
Doing this on Thursday. A tad nervous about the Sawtooth ascent, but excited overall!

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