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

JayMiller and I headed out toward Idaho Springs on Sunday morning. We hit the the turn off just past mile marker 11 on the toll road up Mt Evans at about 5am. The hike towards the saddle between Evans and Epaulet began in earnest about 5:20. We debated which gully to enter at the saddle and opted (incorrectly as it turns out) to take the second or entrance closest to Epaulet. The correct side is the one on the left in the photo.

No big deal downclimbing the gully although there are a good many loose rocks. Helmets were a good idea since we were climbing above each other. We hit the bottom of the gully and began the easy walk across the Abyss Lake drainage to the base of the East Ridge. We hit the base of the East Ridge around 6:10. The photo shows the East Ridge with Bierstadt on the far right. We hit the top of the ridge at the area highlighted in red.

We switch backed up the shoulder to the top of the ridge. There was no trail that we saw, but the way up was fairly easy and required no real scrambling. The photo shows the view of the first obstacle we encountered once we hit the top.

The trip over the first section of the ridge was pretty uncomplicated. Then we made it to the base of Point 13,641. It took a moment to figure out the right line to take up the point. Bill's photos and description helped a bunch. We ended up taking a route very similar to what he described. There's some good exposure on that part of the route. Nothing too nasty, but obviously there are some places where you wouldn't want to stumble or lose a hand hold.

Finally we made it up and over Point 13,641. The next photo shows an interesting pair of cracks that we negotiated by ascending the crack on the right to the top and then straddling over to the crack on the left for the exit.

The next pics shows the remaining route. From this point Bierstadt is clearly visible at the end of the ridge. There were a couple of interesting little points to negotiate along the rest of the ridge but none of them were too trying.

Looking back from the same spot along the East Ridge. Bierstadt is directly behind us in this shot.

We hit the summit around 10 without seeing another sole on the East Ridge. Of course the summit was a zoo but what would you expect on a Sunday in July? We hung around for a few minutes and then began our descent to Abyss Lake. We headed almost directly for the lake. This was not smart. There is no trail to follow through the maze of large, and sometimes loose, rocks. It sucked. We finally made it down to the lake and traversed around the far side of it through the grass and scree.

Finally we made it back to the meadow and followed a nice trail all the way back to the base of the gully. The climb back up the gully was tuff after our enery consuming descent to Abyss Lake. Lots of loose rock was present in the gully and helmets came in handy again. Fromt he top of the gully the route back to the truck was totally easy and we finally made it back at about 2pm. It was a long day for me since I am so out of shape. With a 2 year old and a 2 month old at home I'm not really sleeping much right now. Still, it was a great day to be in the mountains!

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