Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   07/23/2005
Author:  thatguy
 Bierstadt from Guanella Pass, 7/23/05  

July 23, 2005
Bierstadt, Sawtooth, and Mt Spalding from Guanella Pass TH

Hit the Bierstadt trail at 4:20am. With a near full moon and a great trail, the pre-dawn hiking was awesome. The early morning light provided some stunning views of Grays and Torreys. Made it to the summit at 6:40am and had the place to myself. Finding a comfortable spot, I sat and snacked while enjoying some great early morning views.

At 7:10am, I started my way towards the Sawtooth. Not having done a class 3 since Longs a few years ago, I was excited and a little nervous about the traverse. Not seeing any "right way" of descending Bierstadt, I decided to stick close to the ridge. The rock was very stable and the down-climb was actually fun. Once I made it to the low point of the saddle I stuck close to the ridge a continued along the east side. Cairns are far and few between during this section but the route description on this site is very helpful. Once you get to the last gendarme before crossing to the west side of the ridge, the route becomes well marked by cairns. The ledges on the west side are very stable and easy to follow. Made it to the top of the Sawtooth at 9:00am with a big smile on my face.

After a short break, I decided to head over to Mt. Spalding. Sat for a while and enjoyed the views of Summit Lake and Evans. After debating my options for descent and speaking with a guy who just came up from the gully described in the Sawtooth route, I chose to go down the west ridge described in Roach's material. He went back down the gully, which was probably a wise decision. The west ridge is beautiful, but I couldn't help but feel bad about treading through the fields. And the willow bashing got old quick. I finally got back to the TH at 11:30am. All and all, an awesome day and I wouldn't hesitate to do the Sawtooth again if given a chance.

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