The Sawtooth is a dramatic peak in between 14ers Bierstadt and Evans. This route is a short Class 2 hike over from the Mt. Evans summit parking lot (rather than the high exposure Class 3 scramble from Mt. Bierstadt).
Start at the dirt parking area to the left of the very last turn on Mt. Evans road ( 1
), just before the Mt. Evans summit parking area. This little area is just a few hundred feet before the actual Mt. Evans summit parking lot and serves as overflow parking for that lot. You are already at 14,100 feet. Alternately, park at the actual paved parking lot 0.10 miles east and look for the very clear Class 1 trail heading west ( 17
). Keep heading west on it, ignoring the route to the actual Evans summit, and you will reach the rest of this route.
From the dirt parking area, walk west or northwest through the class 2 rocks ( 2
), looking for the trail that leads along the south side of the west ridge of Evans ( 3
). Within a couple of hundred feet, you will find a fairly clear trail and a series of cairns leading you along. Look up to your right and you will see the "West Evans" unranked 14er summit ( 4
Optionally, at about 0.25 miles in, you can depart from the cairned path and head north, ascending the ridge and attaining the "West Evans" summit via Class 3 rock ( 5
). Enjoy the high exposure on the top of that ridge. If you do this, you can either return to the trail to continue on to The Sawtooth, or continue along the Class 3 ridge above the trail until you rejoin it later. The trail remains visible from the ridge.
Assuming you stayed on the trail or returned to it, you'll reach the high point of the route at 0.30 miles, around 14,175 feet. From here, you can see The Sawtooth as you round a corner of the ridge ( 6
). Continue around the corner and get a view of the rest of the route ( 7
The route drops about 150 feet as it traverses this ridge, and then ascends again at the end of the "West Evans" ridge ( 8
). The top of this bump is right around 14,000 feet and has just a few feet of aggressive Class 2 (possibly Class 3) rock ( 9
). The bump is 0.65 miles from the dirt parking area.
From the top of the bump, you can see the remaining route again. Follow the clear Class 2 trail and cairns until the trail begin to turn away from the summit of the The Sawtooth at 0.80 miles ( 10
). Then continue on across open Class 2 terrain, heading for the lowest notch on the top of the Sawtooth ( 11
) so you can go around it and ascend to the summit.
From that notch at 13,700 feet, 1.0 miles in to the trail, you can see the rest of the route up ( 12
) and take in a great view to the south ( 13
Climb up Class 2 rock and dirt ( 14
) to the summit ( 15
) at 13,780 and 1.25 miles. Enjoy the view of aggressive Class 3 ridges that connect Bierstadt and The Sawtooth ( 16
This is a nice way to check out The Sawtooth from an easier route without having to take on the distance and difficulty of the Bierstadt to Sawtooth route.