Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Date Posted:  08/29/2010
Date Climbed:   08/28/2010
Author:  Fleischco

 Guanella TH-Willows bushwack-Gully-Summit  

Start: 8:25am
Summit: 12:20pm
Summit Departure: 1:00pm
Return to Guanella TH: 4:00pm
Length: 10 miles RT
Hiking Partners: Myles and Joe (my border collie)

I normally like to start earlier (6-ish) but I think I really underestimated Evans even though I had done Bierstadt last year. Let's just say the difference between the two routes (Bierstadt v. Evans) is night and day. The Bierstadt trail is very straight forward-Evans has many paths through the willows. It is clear when you return but difficult to find on the way up. Since most do Bierstadt and the Sawtooth on the way to Evans, I thought I'd try to add some to Evans only route info.

My first recommendation is to follow the path left off the trail that is about 50-75 feet past the rock described in the route description after the creek crossing. Stay right/higher/towards the trees if possible to stay out of the mud (as much as possible but no way to avoid some mud.) Also, there are many trails-not just one, but they do all come to together eventually.

In the willows

Head towards the trees that are ahead and to your right. You can see Myles and Joe in the willows in this picture. Again stay high if possible. The creek will be on your left the whole way in the willows.
Unavoidable Mud!
Mud is unavoidable in the willows it seems.

Once you navigate through the willows you will walk a well defined trail across the creek as you approach the gully. The gully appears worse than it is when you are in the it and hiking up. Another note, when you are starting, there is a point where the trail makes a sharp right and upward turn-take the trail right and up. We made the mistake of staying in the gully here and learned this on way down. This will keep you right and out of the gully for the beginning.

Approaching the gully-take the path right

We even saw some bighorn sheep on the way up the gully. You can see them on the ridge in this picture.
Sheep on the ridge (at least 4 if you zoom in)

Looking down the gully

When you come out of the gully, it will be a nice upward, gentle gain to the ridge. You will eventually be going to your right so head in that general direction.
The saddle with the Sawtooth to your right and Spalding to your left
You will see what appears to be the summit, but you will head toward it and then on to the right around it.

Looking back towards The Sawtooth on trail around false summit

You will continue to the right even losing summit altitude (and I hate to do that). Continue up to join the switchbacks from the parking lot trail to the summit.
Myles, Joe and I on summit with G & T on the left in background

Heading down is where I learned most of our errors on the way up but I guess we made it successfully up and down so it was a learning experience as most hikes are after all. But again, stay high/left on your return through the willows.

And just a note about wildlife, we saw the sheep on the way up Evans this year and last year I saw a moose in the lake near the trailhead. Image
Moose in the water (Aug 2009)

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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