Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Date Posted:  09/20/2006
Date Climbed:   09/13/2006
Author:  native_mntguy

 Solitude on Bierstadt and Evans  

After the weather squashed my plans of doing Bierstadt, Sawtooth, and Evans this past weekend, I decided to take a day off of work since the weekend weather has actually been poor for the last month. Because of the usual construction I didn't get on the trail until 6:50am. I was the only one in the parking lot so I figured it could be a lonely day hiking. It was a brisk morning as I headed up to Bierstadt in the shadow of the Sawtooth.
The trail was great with the exception of a few icy patches. I wasn't tryings to break any records but finally summitted Bierstadt at 9:35 am. Looking back at the trail from the summit.
It was sunny, warm and not a cloud in the sky as I enjoyed the solitude of the summit for 30 minutes took some pics and had a bite. I decided to continue on through the Sawtooth for my first class 3 experience. It was a pain getting down Bierstadt since I had to be careful of the pockets of snow left from the weekend's storm. Finally got down to the Sawtooth and decided to go across the gendarme instead of descending to the right. I continued to go slow, probably too slow but I still hadn't run across anyone and did want to make the wrong move. By now it was really getting hot with the sun beating down as I head around to the backside of the Sawtooth. From that vantage point, it looked a bit intimidating but I persevered. Once I got on the ledge it really wasn't that bad. At this time a couple hikers were heading the other direction above me. I continued on to the top and the traversed the talus over to the west ridge. At this point, it was 12:30 and figured I was defiantly making poor time. As I started heading around to the south side of the west ridge, I ran into the next couple of hikers and checked to see how much longer to Evans. At this point I was starting to get tired as this was my longest hike I've taken. But with only another half hour and the beautiful weather (just a couple wisps of clouds), I pushed on. I made it over to the tourist trail of Evans above the parking lot and it felt like a freeway. The parking lot was empty as was the summit.
Again I spent another half hour basking in the uncommon solitude on Evans. I ate lunch, took a couple pics of the fall colors
then I got ready to head back. As I got off the "freeway" and got back on the actual trail towards the west ridge, I met my last pair of hikers. I headed back past the Sawtooth and Bierstadt as the clouds finally started to build.
It was a little after 2 pm when I reached the gulley to descend into "the" willows. This was a bit of a pain and it took a lot longer than I had hoped. I didn't get down to the willows until 3:30. I started my bushwacking through the willows. It didn't seem that bad, probably since they had started to lose some leaves and they were not as thick. Well I guess I spoke too soon because ¾ of the way through it got really muddy and finding a dry trail was the pain that everyone talks about. Got back to the main Bierstadt trail and returned back to the truck at 4:40. It took about an hour longer than I had thought, but great weather, tackled my first class 3 and enjoyed a total of an hour of solitude on two of the popular 14ners.

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