Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  06/29/2013
Date Climbed:   06/29/2013
Author:  cmcbill
 Bierstadt Tip: Park in Upper/West lot at G. Pass!  

This TR is about the parking at G. Pass, the crowds and the weather today.

We did Bierstadt today with some friends who wanted to do their 1st 14er.
We were up at G. Pass by ~7:15 and the lower lot on the East side of the road was full of course
and there were already 50+ cars parked on the shoulders of the road all around the pass.
We were tempted do that too but decided to check the upper lot on the West side of the road.
Sure enough it was less than half full!
And it's only a tiny bit further, a couple hundred yards tops, to park there than on the side of the road.
Between the actual parking spaces still available in the upper lot and
the room on the shoulder of the driveway into that lot,
the vast majority of the cars on the shoulders of the main G. Pass Rd could have fit in the upper lot and
made driving and crossing the road much safer and having a much nicer place to park!

Also there was a line of ~20 people to use the outhouse in the lower lot while
there was no line at the outhouse at the upper lot.
When we returned after the hike, 2 new port-a-potties had been added in the upper lot too.
It addition to the existing permanent outhouse.

The 14ers Initiative volunteer at the TH said
there were already over 250 people on the mountain well before 8AM.
So it was a very busy day on Bierstadt today!

There were probably close to 100 people on the summit when we got there before 10:30AM and
a constant stream of people still on the trail.
Weather moved in early and fast with lots of lightning and hail by 10:30AM.
There was a mad dash of all those people, our party included, trying to get off the summit fast.
Fortunately the lighting over the summit was cloud-to-cloud.
There were a number of lightning flashes with the thunder only 1-2 seconds later.
Lots of other cloud-to-ground strikes off the the WNW direction.
Fortunately none hit Bierstadt's summit that I was aware off.
Of course there were people still heading up even in the worst of the hail and lightning all around!

The hail was up to marble size and lasted about 15 mins and
dumped enough to make the decent slippery and wet in many areas.
Then it stopped and eventually cleared up somewhat,
then clouded up and rained again for a short while.
It was still mostly cloudy back at the TH.

It was yet another reminder to always keep an eye on the weather.
It was clear and sunny when we left and since the trail is mostly going East,
we were not keeping a close watch on the weather building behind us to the West!!
A ground lightning strike on the summit anytime from
~10-11AM today would have been disasterous!

Fortunately all turned out ok and we had a good day, all things considered!

 Comments or Questions
No Malarkey

All Mountain Tip
06/30/2013 16:58
Glad that you and hopefully all 250-300 people on Bierstadt yesterday, particularly the 100 on the summit at 10:30AM made it home safely. Thanks for the post. Saw a similar situation on Grays yesterday. Looming dark clouds, cloud to cloud lightning, dramatic cloud to mountain top/ground lightning, hail, a 25 degree temperature drop, and folks were still leaving the TH @ 1000 and heading for the summit in the thick of it. (We had an alpine start, sunrise on the summit, and were back at the TH around 0900.)

This is a tip that goes beyond Bierstadt!

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