Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   07/14/2005
Author:  seannunn
 Bierstadt via Bierstadt trail  

After being turned back by weather and agoraphobia on the Sawtooth on Thursday, July 14 (we had summitted Evans and had planned to take the Sawtooth over to Bierstadt), I returned to summit Bierstadt on Friday, July 15, from the Guanella Pass trailhead (11669). In order to abide by the 3000 foot rule, I was going to park a few hundred feet below the trailhead and walk up to it, but on reaching the pass near the trailhead, no place looked really safe to park, so I parked at the trailhead and descended a few hundred feet on the road, then reascended to the trailhead. I am certain that to anyone but a true 14er fan, this scene would have looked incredibly comical: a lone 37 year old man, running down a mountain road at 4am with a flashlight for 10 minutes, then turning around and running/walking back up. The thought of how ridiculous this whole thing was struck me the entire time I was on the road.
After the ridiculous 30 minutes excursion on the Guanella Pass road, the rest of the climb was excellent: leaving the actual trailhead at 4:40am, I reached the summit at 6:20am (there was actually one young man who got there a few minutes before I did). I have never summitted so early in the day before, and I have to say that I heartily recommend this on mountains with well marked trails. Instead of having to rush down from the summit with lightning chasing me (as has happened on other 14ers a couple of times), I was able to descend leisurely, stopping to take pictures of wildflowers, etc. It was the most pleasureable 14er I have had so far. I probably saw 100 people heading up as I was heading down, all spread out along the entire length of the Bierstadt trail. A great day for climbing. The Bierstadt trail is great, a few places near the top where you can get off-track, but it is usually easy to look around for rock cairns and get yourself back on trail.

Sean Nunn

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