Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  10/14/2013
Date Climbed:   10/14/2013
Author:  flynnba
 White out - lost wallet  

After checking the weather Sunday evening and seeing that it looked clear until early afternoon, I thoughts Id try to knock out one last 14'er for the season (As I don't have the appropriate gear for winter summits). I left my house in evergreen around 430am and was at the trail head by 530am. There were two other cars in the parking lot. Other then there being a thin layer of ice on the concrete and it being roughly 25 degrees outside, it was looking to be a good hike.

After checking my pack I stepped off around 550am. All was well for the first few miles except my camel back had frozen closed. (Note to self: bring exterior water bottle on cold hikes). As the sun started to rise, I turned off my head lamp and enjoyed the ambient light guiding my path. When I got to the willows, the river seemed slightly high for the crossing. So, instead of taking a chance at getting my feet wet while attempting to cross, I followed the river north to a spot that had a few branches formed into a bridge. After crossing I made my way back to the trail and continued up.

Everything was going well until about 2.5 miles into the summit. At that point clouds moved in and the snow began to fall. By 2.75 miles It became white out conditions. I ran into another hiker at this point and we discussed the weather and if we should continue. He ended up turning back and I decided to push on. At 2.85 miles I decided to sit down and get some water. As my camel back was frozen, I had not drank to this point. After pulling out the bladder and sipping from the opening, I packed up and decided to push forward.

At this point the wind really began to pick up and the snow covered the trail. I began to post hole as I moved passed 3 miles and 13,000 ft. I kept wanting to push on but became worried that I might lose the return trail if I continue.

At about 3.10 miles I finally made the call to turn back. I couldnt see forward enough and was not sure that I was even on the trail any longer. To my dismay, in that short time, my return tracks had been washed away by fresh snow. After a few minutes of fumbling around and a near twisted ankle, I managed to find my way back to the trail. 15 minutes had went by when I reached into my back pocket....

My wallet was gone!

With the weather still beating me up I decided it was best to just keep on my decent. I past 4 other hikers and a dog along the way and shared my story. By this time the weather was starting to clear. When I reached my car I did a thorough check to ensure I didnt leave it in the car...I didnt.

On my way home I called to cancel my cards and hoped my wife would understand! (Thankfully she did). I am sure someone will find it, hopefully they will also be a member of 14'ers and be able to get in touch with me. If you did find it, feel free to have the $3 I had and even my home depot gift card. I had my old military id and my VA id inside, and would really like to be able to get those back. The address on my Colorado license is incorrect. If you did find it, please message me here and I will come to wherever you are! I do believe it is between the 2.5 and 3 mile mark. There was a flat rock on the right side of a switchback that I took a few minute break at. If the weather improves, I will make a return trip to try and find it.

 Comments or Questions

Frozen Camelbak
10/14/2013 19:28
I've had good luck simply putting the free end of the hose back into my backpack next to the bladder; it will usually defrost after less than 10 minutes and allow you to drink again.


Good call!
10/14/2013 20:34
I'll be there Friday night and Saturday morning, so I'll be looking for your wallet.


Good idea
10/15/2013 23:59
Thanks for the idea on the camelbak hose Matt! Weather permitting I will try to be up there Saturday as well Javy...It has been snowing all day here in Evergreen so I can only imagine what it might be like Saturday up there. If I can make it without post-holing the entire time I will try to search the area. Here is a link to my trip:


10/16/2013 00:44
Weather can make the simple hikes dangerous. Bummer about the wallet; really hope you find it Saturday.


10/16/2013 00:53
I agree. This is the first time I have ever turned back on a hike. I tried to convince myself that it would pass or that I could push on but as they say...the goal isn't to make it to the is to make it back to the trailhead. Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and come back another day! (No matter how easy the hike normally is!)


Post to ”Lost and Found”
10/21/2013 13:25
As another backup try posting to the ”Lost and Found” forum about your wallet. Glad you made it back safely!

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.