Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Date Posted:  08/07/2008
Date Climbed:   08/05/2008
Author:  Limey
 Mt Bierstadt~snaggletooth~Mt Evans  

ok here's another installment to my hiking repertoire

Mt Bierstadt and Mt Evans are both 14ers that are relatively easy to do individually so some folks decided to do them both together in one hike by climbing over the class 3 Sawtooth that connects that particular mountain range. For some reason I thought that would be fun so here was my day....
Alarm clock goes off at 5:15am and I get up. Don't have anything ready so I make a couple of buttys while my new coffee pot is brewing. I am in my car by 6:30 and on my way along I-70 west. I get off the interstate at Georgetown and the sign says its 11 miles up the road. What a sweet little town, I am gonna have to remember to go back there and check it out one day
I arrived at the trailhead, the parking lot is full but I find a bonus space next to the handicapped and I start walking at 7:50 at the same time a dude who lives in FL now but is originally from New Zealand. We soon catch up to two girls from Boulder and have a great time chit chatting about this and that! They have a cool Border Collie with them.
Closer to the top quite a few people are coming down as we are going up so it gets exciting hearing all about the wonderful views etc. I get a boost of energy from this and make the summit on my own. Theres two guys up there and the birthday girl drinking her Double Chocolate Stout
A few pics are taken and I eat one of my sandwiches then we all notice that a storm is coming in quick and within a matter of minutes I am alone as everyone starts their descent.
I had told them I was going down the Sawtooth no matter what. I was hoping that the storm would miss me and to be honest it nearly did. I certainly wasn't in the eye of the storm!! Anyways I start the descent and its very tough going. Most of it was spent on my bum! About ten minutes in the thunder is getting real loud and at one point I looked back up thinking if I should go back but quickly realized that it would take me much longer to get back up and I would be going into the storm so I kept on going down.
This is where I learnt that I need proper hiking boots as trying to navigate loose scree and big boulders in doc martens with no lateral support is not good. I start feeling the rain come down and so that urges me to go faster. I don't want to be stuck in the open if theres any lightning around. I am losing sight of the cairns in some of my rushing and at one point I am climbing up this big old rock and see a darn cairn about 25 ft below me so I have to back track realizing the way I am going is not good one. The rain turns into hail and so I take cover under this huge rock just past the middle of the tooth for a few mins but then decide it best to keep moving.
I find and get over the hump and follow the ledge. At one point I feel my Oakleys fall off my head and land on the ground. Luckily they didn't get scratched or worse fall off the ledge. Note to self, get a cord for hiking or some cheap sunglasses! The rocks are wet and slippy and even though theres a huge drop off to my left, I focus on getting up to the top and it felt like it didn't take that long. I looked down for a couple of shots and felt kinda queasy, did I tell you I am afraid of heights? When I finally made it up to the top of the tooth the hail/rain was ahead of me and apparently heading towards Evans. Now I guess storms are not renowned for doing a 180 so instead of wimping out here seeing as I had come so far, I decided to go all the way!
I had read that Mt Evans was still a good hike after the tooth but when ya actually hiking it and with the false summit ahead, damn that was far! I was ecstatic when I finally seen the road in the distance as then I could relax a bit. Oh and somebody had left a white grocery bag with poop in it on a big boulder. I didn't look close enough to see if it was doggy or human! but decided my good deed for the day was to put it in the trash. If somebody goes to the effort of putting it in a plastic bag that aint gonna degrade anytime soon then you would think they would be smart enough to put it in the trash?
Anyways, I get around to Evans and the first thing I see is a couple with a Border Collie that looks just like Shep I get to the top and wow its busy. I always look for the survey markers first and then I sign the summit tube.
This one guy asked what I was doing so I explained that most 14ers have these log tubes that you can sign but I also added that it was only for people who hiked up and not who came by car so he never touched it haha!
It was funny to be on a 14er with so many people wearing flip flops or girls wearing mini skirts and tube tops etc. Not the usual attire you see 14,000ft up in the air. I actually felt overdressed wearing gloves, hiking boots and my camelbak. I took more pics and chatted to different people whilst I ate the rest of my snacks. I got chatting to one couple and realized that we had been chatting in the same thread on the 14er forum. Small world! I then took a quick look around the tourist area and it was 3pm when I started to make my descent. The one 14er forum guy actually offered me a ride back down Evans road to I-70 but then I would of had to hitch hike up to Georgetown and then another 11 miles up to the trailhead up Guanella pass so I thanked him but graciously declined. The skies were blue in the direction that I was heading so off I went. Considering I had just walked it, it seemed like it took longer to get back to the Sawtooth area but I felt like I had fresh feet for a little while so it wasn't too bad. On the maps I printed out I couldn't figure exactly where I should start my descent but I am thinking I made my cut out too early as I was following cairns that were heading to another mountain? I got a great shot of the lake below Evans with some snow in the foreground
I realized that I was going the wrong way and so I started heading down, passing a herd of goats and then I found the trail leading to the hidden gully. This part was very tough on sore feet, as the ground was very loose and I spent quite a bit of time on my arse again. Finally when I get down to the willow bogs, I was rewarded with the sight of the waterfall that I had read about.
The willows were very wet and I could see footprints so I just tried to follow them as much as I could. Its an eerie feeling when ya foot sinks down to your knee and when ya pull it out you hear the suction. I am lucky both feet didn't sink that deep or I might have been in trouble! I remember the swamp bogs in the old Tarzan movies and that shits for real!! Once I get to dry land I look back at the waterfall and think wow that wasn't so bad! Hmm, if only I knew what lay ahead? That would be head high willows in a slushy surrounding! I must of fell over countless times as its hard to keep branches out of your face and also see where you are standing! Another issue I had was there were these little flies everywhere, kinda like midgies and I kept sucking them in. Wasnt a real problem until I took that dreaded last suck on my camelbak so then I was trying to hack up loogies the rest of the way. At least it would of scared off any wildlife that I didnt want to meet. The map said the willow stretch was only a mile but I beg to differ. The worst part is I can see the parking lot area the whole time but you cant see where the trail is so when I finally reached the trail it was quite a relief!
As I was walking the last ten mins up the boardwalk's it started to rain but I wasn't bothered as I was happy with my accomplishment
It was 6:20pm when I got back to the parking lot and my scooby was the only car remaining. My feet were soaking wet and I was thristy so another note to self about fresh clothes and a cooler is in order me thinks!
On the way down to 70 my phone rings which makes me jump as I previously didn't have a signal. Its Scamper checking up on me. I had emailed him and Grant letting them know where I was off to that morning and I think the last text he got from me was during the storm on the Sawtooth. The ones from Mt Evans I guess didn't go through. I stopped in Georgetown to get some gatorade and made it home by 8pm. Luckily I had the maintenance guy at my place painting so he had let Shep out for me
This was Tuesday and I have been trying to write this since I got back. My general thoughts are yes I kinda bit off more than I could chew on this one doing it alone and trying to beat the weather. I was lucky this time but dont plan on pushing it again!! So the disney hikes I can still do with Shep but anything technical then I am looking for a hiking buddy
Thanks for listening and enjoy the pics

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice pics
08/24/2008 15:31
I am extremely interested in doing the hike you describe, and I love the pictures. The marshes are the only thing that I find daunting. They must be easier than going back the way you came though.

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