Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  07/13/2009
Date Climbed:   07/12/2009
Author:  JayMiller
 The East Ridge of Bierstadt  

This report will be short and sweet. No pictures since I just had so much fun on the ridge I forgot to take any and the end of the climb was so brutal I never want to see it again.

What we thought would be a semi-easy 6 hour jaunt, turned into a 9 hour ordeal.

The hike is really five parts. The down climb form the Evans road to the drainage (easy), the climb up to the ridge (would have been a slog if not for the dawn and the wild flowers), the ridge it self (one heck of a lot of fun), the down climb back to Abyss Lake (miserable), and the 1,000 feet climb back up to the road (the climb from hell).

Really, we had a great time from the road to the summit, but if I ever do this route again, I WILL have a car parked in the Guanella Pass parking lot.

Bill's route description is spot on with a couple of small exceptions. He really doesn't say anything about all of the little points you have to go over after point 13,641. One of the most exposed moves is on one of the little points. You'll know when you come to it. You will climb to the top of the point and find a 6' drop on the back side. It will look like you are stopped, but you can by-pass on the right. It probably had the most feel of exposure, but it's less than 15' and maybe less than 10. The other exception I will take is when Bill says the "easiest" route back is down to Abyss Lake and back up the gulley. While technically speaking, this route at class 2, is the easiest, I am convinced that from just pure effort wise, it is harder than crossing over the Sawtooth. The climb down from Bierstadt in the scree is pure murder and you still have a long way to go when you get to the level of the Sawtooth, then you have scree and boulders all the way around the lake. Finally, you face a 1,000 climb up a steep scree gully to get back to the car. If you get up the side of point 13641, there's nothing on the Sawtooth that's going to give you pause.

Exposure wise, I felt there was more exposure than Kelso Ridge. While nothing approached the shear exposure of the knife edge on Kelso, there was a lot longer exposure climbing up the side of point 13641 and more exposure on top of the ridge than Kelso.

All in all this is a climb I will do again, BUT only with a second car or cross back across the Sawtooth. Never again will I climb back up that gully.

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