Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  09/05/2006
Date Climbed:   09/04/2006
Author:  Former Michigander

 Bierstadt on Labor Day  

Ah, Labor Day - when everyone is supposed to be drinking beer and grilling from noon until dusk, or when everyone is returning from their vacation - either way, they‘re definitely not climbing a mountain. My wife and I had hoped that not many other people would climb a 14er yesterday, but it turns out we were mistaken. We left Denver at 0530 and hit the trailhead at about 0715 (construction on Guanella Pass Rd. is the rate limiting step to getting to the trail).
It was an unbelievably beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky, and only about 20 cars were in the parking lot. So far, so good.
We summited in about 2:45 and spent around a half hour on the peak. At first there were only a few other people, but then they started arriving in droves. By the time we decided to climb down about 20 people were at the peak, practically tripping over one another to find a place to rest their legs. The good news, of course, is that the weather was spectacular and we could have easily hopped over to Evans. Problem is, it sounds like this is a not fun descent given the trail back through the willows (we‘ll have to hit Evans this weekend or some other time). In addition, some more experienced climbers suggested that Sawtooth is bit tricky for someone who just started climbing 14ers last weekend (i.e. us).
We decided to quit while we were ahead and descended pretty quickly - we reached the parking lot at around noon.
This was a great 3rd 14er, and fortunately for us it was on a perfect day (Grays and Torreys last weekend were a different story altogether).
Just a side note - we hiked Grays and Torreys sans CamelBak because hadn‘t yet purchased them. Bierstadt was done with CamelBaks, and these things are amazing! I‘m sure anyone reading this realizes the awesomeness of these things already, but they are indispensible.


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