Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Sawtooth, The  -  13,780 feet
Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Date Posted:  07/16/2007
Date Climbed:   07/15/2007
Author:  cfoye130
 Sawtooth, by another noob.  

I'm not a normal trip report kinda guy.... I love to read them but I never really post them. I thought that I would on this one because it was an amazing hike. Long, but incredible. After doing the hike, I also feel that many trip reports miss a few things on this one, so I wanted to add my 2 cents. My partner backed out the night before so I was all alone, however I figured that I would be able to find a crew to tag along with on the way. (and I did.)

Lets start with the basic stuff. Left, Centennial at 4:30 am. Was trying to hit the trail head by 5:15 but this became an unreasonable expectation. I made it there and got my camelback and boots on at 5:45. Trail head temp was 45 degrees.

I cruised up Bierstadt. There was one "trail runner" who passed me on the way up and he was already headed down by the time I made it to the summit. I made it up in 2 hours. And since I saw no one on the way up I figured that I may be climber number 1 for the day (Less super trail runner dude.) I was wrong. Apparently there was a crew of 5 or 6 that had been up there since 3 am. And lets just say they were having a good time. If they want to carry up their own beer in my opinion, more power to them. As long as they don't do anything stupid and endanger themselves or others. Also real quick, there was a stray dog up there; I think his name was Yampa. He had been up there since 3 am with the partiers. Some of them were going to take him down with them when they went. I hope he got home.

That little snow field was still there but very manageable near the top as well.
So I sat on the top for 30 minutes and starred down the sawtooth. It was very intimidating looking. As you can see.... But thanks to Bill, I knew the exact path to take!

Well, it was tough. Let me say because most TR's don't talk about the decent here. It's a pain. Granted I'm a class 3 noob. But It was tough on the knees, and on the hands. It didn't help that the rock was cold as heck to the touch. The trip down to the ridge saddle is by far the hardest part of this route. To get to the vain that you follow up to the notch to cross over to the west side of the sawtooth, took me 2 hours.

I got to the notch to cross over and let me tell you it looks crazy scary.

I met John and Mike here (I think that's what their names were, sorry guys. I'm tired and it was a long ride home.)
We crossed over the notch and headed up.

At the notch it became a real mind game. Any slip could mean certain death. HOWEVER!!!!! For everyone thinking of doing this route: It really is not as bad as it looks. Sure, it is very dangerous. But as long as you make smart, cautious, and mature decisions about your routes, anyone should be able to traverse this. More than anything it is a mind game. Just take your time and you'll be fine. After doing this, I would also not recommend taking this back to Bierstadt. There is too much loose sand and stone. It would be bad news.

After we got to the top of this it was clear sailing. The boulder field on the other side is petty and you can just cross over to Evans. This is another point I would like to make. Evans is a lot farther than it looks from here. You can't really see the summit, just a false summit ridge and you have to basically walk around the entire mountain to get to the parking lot.

John and I summited this together in about 4 hours from when I left the top of Bierstadt. Yeah, 4 slow hard hours, for 2 whole miles. That may just have been the longest 2 miles of my life.

The parking lot was full and the tourists were in full swing.
After 45 minutes here I started to head down at 1. John had left quite a while before I had. But halfway down the boulder field towards the gully I ran into him again and he had Mike with him, who was having knee and new boot issues. Here is an image of the gully as we headed back down...

At this point, I had run out of water and refusing to finish the hike w/o, I decided to fill up my pack at a fast flowing creek. I hope I don't regret it.
The waterfall at the bottom here was amazing. And I got to see my first Columbine.

About 60 seconds after that waterfall picture had been taken, it started to rain and hail. As we were booking it towards the willows (there really is no defined trail, there is a hint of one but it keeps fading in and out) I turned around and snapped this picture of the sawtooth

I guess that's what I get for taking forever to get to this point.
The willows at the bottom aren't bad. Just annoying. We eventually found a trail, but my recommendation is just to make a beeline for where you think the original Bierstadt trail is. You'll run into it eventually. The mud was pretty bad. Lots of ankle deep muck. Gators would be good.

The rain eventually cleared up, after only about 10 minutes, and I made it back to the car at around 4:30. Yes, 4:30. Which makes the hike 10 hours 45 minutes.

Oh but that's not all......

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice hike
07/16/2007 15:34
We felt the same way..

Congrats on getting this one done!


Nice Job!
07/17/2007 02:54
The willows are really annoying! I hope to hear from someone this season who manages to stay above them...

Nice job on the sawtooth! How does it compare to Longs?


Good stuff!
07/18/2007 00:38
Great job on the trip report and nice photos of Sawtooth. I like the last shot, too. I was somewhere in that traffic from hell.

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